Check out that DVD (and those colors!) from my early Bella Vita Creative days.
Back when I first became a photographer, I just copied what I saw other photographers doing and that meant handing over a bunch of digitals on a DVD. I thought that was what people wanted and I never questioned the process. After all, I was a newbie.
Guess what? That DVD I gave those early clients can’t even be opened on most computers now!
Back then, I photographed one beautiful family session and handed over the digitals (nothing else).
A couple months later, I saw my client post on Facebook, asking her friends for help in getting her files printed. She had no idea. Another one of her friends responded, saying, “I have a photographer friend—I’ll ask her how you can get the products you want.”
When I read that exchange, my heart fell! I felt that I had left my job undone, kind of like baking a cake without icing or decorating it, and then handing it over to my client.
Later, I ran into another client whose session I’d done a year before. She sheepishly informed me that she never printed any of her images…they were sitting on the DVD in a drawer somewhere.
Again, my heart fell.
Those two incidents were pivotal to me. I looked deep within and realized that I did not want to be that kind of photographer. I knew the importance of tangible prints in my own home and I wanted my clients to experience the same.
Have I mentioned that I love keeping family legacies?
I also knew about the studies that show children who grow up in homes where family photos are displayed have higher self-esteem. I think the reason is obvious. It demonstrates that they belong, they are loved, and that family is significant.
Slowly, I started to understand how our digital technological advances—although super cool and handy— were also leaving a big, gaping hole in family connectedness. Was anyone noticing or was I just a fuddy-duddy? (A term my mom used to say.)
Well, then I came upon this news from none other than Google’s boss. Someone was paying attention.
“We are nonchalantly throwing all of our data into what could become an information black hole without realizing it,” he said. “We digitize things because we think we will preserve them, but what we don’t understand is that unless we take other steps, those digital versions may not be any better, and may even be worse, than the artifacts that we digitized.”
“If there are photos you really care about, print them out.”Beautiful matted prints to preserve your family legacy.
A Google boss said that!
I realized then that I wanted my clients to receive the best of the best—heirloom quality portraits that would stand the test of time—as opposed to Walmart’s quick print version with a sickly greenish skin tone (apologies to Walmart, sort of).
If you are going to invest in capturing beautiful portraits of your family, please don’t stop with “just the digitals.” Your family deserves more than that.
And if technology changes in the future the way it’s changed since I first became a photographer, the media we use for digitals now may not even be available in just a few years. We’ve already seen cassette tapes and DVDs become artifacts, so there’s no reason to believe it won’t happen to the USBs we currently use.
(Which reminds me of the young mother who sadly told me that she had lost ALL of her kids’ photos from her phone when she transferred to a new phone. I know that’s not typical, but somehow, it happened. Imagine her dismay. My heart went out to her!)
Let’s be honest. Viewing your images on a mobile device is about as fulfilling as eating a gas station hot dog….a mini moment full of distraction.
You know what’s exciting? Enjoying a beautiful custom-framed wall portrait above the fireplace in your family room that you’ll walk by every day. It’s a tangible reminder of the love and appreciation you have for your family. It’s a reminder that even in the busiest of times, all the work is worth it, because you do it for your family.
Again and again, you will feel the warmth and love that only increases with time.
Every purchased print comes with an archival digital image on a crystal USB.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about digital! I love creating slideshows set to music and sharing my images on social media, just like everybody else.
That’s why I offer a digital back-up with every print you buy.
The best of both worlds.
Don’t just take it from me. Here’s what one of my clients had to say about it:
“The experience was amazing and I cherish those photos every day. It makes such a difference to have printed, professional photos on the wall. Highly recommend!”
Someday, your children will look for photos of you. What will they find?
If you would like to read more about promoting children’s self-esteem and family connection, you may be interested in reading this article, “The Family Stories That Bind Us.”