I always receive a lot of questions regarding digital images and physical products. In some cases, people are simply confused about what may be the right or wrong thing to go for.

If you’re looking to book a photoshoot in the near future, read on as this could help…

Why people want digital copies…

-Wanting to share them with family and friends.

This is a great idea and I¬†would always recommend sharing your images with family and friends but consider the emotional impact of sharing digital images. A professional photoshoot should be about the wow-factor; the moment your loved-ones open that perfectly presented photograph. This is something you can’t get with digital copies or a USB stick for that matter.

-Wanting to make multiple copies.

You may decide that you want to be able to print the images yourself and share them. The problem here is that when you take away digital copies, you’ve essentially ended a photographers professional workflow early. What do I mean by this? Well, when you book a professional photographer, you’re also booking them for their expertise in ensuring that your images are as accurate and true-to-life as possible. To achieve this we have to repeatedly calibrate our cameras, monitors and printers to ensure that what you see on screen during your viewing, is exactly what you’re going to get. If you take digital copies to your own supplier, it is impossible to achieve a result which is exactly like what you see when you purchased your images because the calibration has finished when you left with your USB stick.

-For backup reasons.

This is another common reason. You may feel like it’s important to keep your own digital copy of the images, in case the physical copy is lost or becomes damaged and you’re unable to access the original copy. This idea is great in principle but the issue is that most of the time, the images are not suitably backed up. Did you know that most CDs actually have a lifespan of around 10yrs? They actually degrade over time. We’ve moved on a bit since then and mostly offer USB sticks but these often become lost.

The fact is, most people are not backing up their images suitably and the types of backup available today are likely to change in a few years anyway. Who wants to keep worrying about how safe their images are all the time?

-Decorating or moving house (so don’t want to choose particular frames, etc.)

A lot of people are in the process or decorating or moving and aren’t entirely sure about what products would look best in their finished or new home. This is a perfectly valid point but you would be surprised how many of my products are specially sourced because of their suitability to a wide variety of different homes. There’s also the option of purchasing photographic prints and this means you could frame them yourself when ready.

The main objective is to produce timeless images that you and your family will be proud to display for decades to come. It’s entirely possible that you will move house several times in the future anyway or even pass on the photographs to other family members. It’s impossible to know what decor or style your home will be decades into the future so it’s not worth worrying too much about the current moving/decorating project. If you’re worried, try choosing a framed product, or photographic prints, that you can re-frame when required.

The reality

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m fortunate to have a lot of repeat clients, and I do find that where a lot of them do choose digital copies on their first visit, the second time they come, they’re more likely to go for physical products. Why is this? It’s because in most cases the digital copies were never used. They were just thrown in a drawer somewhere and forgotten about.

Why some photographers love digital copies

To be frank, it’s just easier! A lot of the cheaper photographers out there work with many clients each week and it’s much easier to just edit the images and put them on a USB stick than to continue designing wall products with their clients and spending ages worrying about order fulfilment and quality control.

The problem with this is that it’s created a lot of confusion in the marketplace and now many people feel like they should have digital copies because it’s just the done thing or because they don’t know what to expect or take away afterwards.

The good news is, there are still many photographers like myself who will work with you from start to finish, considering your intentions, your own style and decor to make sure what you end up with is absolutely perfect. The whole point is to make sure that your treasured memories invoke the emotions you expect and create a talking point for years to come.

Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong, I do sell digital copies myself, but I would always suggest that you at least choose something physical to go with them so you have something you can display straight away without worrying about having to get the properly printed. You will also have a reference point for any future images you have printed because you will know yourself exactly how they should look.

Another thing worth knowing is that a lot of industries are seeing a backwards shift, not just in photography but did you know that last year for the first time, more physical books were purchased than ebooks or kindles? Did you know that vinyl record sales hit a 25yr high? The reason most experts believe is that consumers are getting tired of looking at screens all the time. There’s also a resurging desire to own a physical product you can keep forever, rather than using a subscription service like Spotify, etc.

I will leave you will a little message from Vint Cerf, VP of Google- “If you have a picture you really care about, you’d better print it”