A word about prints versus files.
There are two schools of thought on what you should be purchasing from a photography studio these days. Neither are right or wrong, they just represent different choices for different clients. The first option is the print route, where your photographer provides you with finished, professional prints and products to enjoy and share. You make your selections in the studio and your photographer then works behind the scenes to fulfill and create your finished products. The second option is the file route, where your photographer professionally artworks specific images you select and then burns them to a DVD for you to have. You are then free to have them printed at the vendor of your choice. The first option means you walk out the door with professionally printed, finished prints, ready for hanging on your walls. The second option means that you are now responsible for having the images printed and sometimes even retouched prior to printing.
We started our studio back in 1994, when the internet was just stretching its legs and digital photography wasn't even around yet. In those days, everyone shot film and we partnered with professional photographic labs to produce the final prints for our customers. There were no file options for clients at all, nor were there places in which a client could easily have a professional negative printed. Today, we still fulfill our clients orders just about the same way. First, we professionally retouch and color correct each selected image to ensure it looks amazing. We then work with one, or all, of the three professional labs that we partner with to have your finished prints and products created. We don't head down to Wal-mart or the local drugstore to get them one hour printed. We only work with labs that utilize professional photographic paper and follow strict color guidelines to ensure that what they print matches our monitors perfectly.
The reason we share this with you is we put a lot of time and effort into creating the finished work for our clients and we choose our vendors carefully to ensure that your prints are not only beautiful today, but also 30 years from now. The risk that a consumer takes when opting for purchased files is you are now responsible for not only selecting the right vendor to print your work for you, but you're also in charge of quality control. Our studio monitors are calibrated to match the printers of the three professional vendors we use. Our file formats are set up to dovetail with their printing methods to ensure the best possible print is produced both in terms of density and color. We take these steps to guarantee that what we design on our monitors will look unbelievably amazing on your walls. Local and internet volume printers utilize consumer papers that are not designed with longevity in mind. Nor do the individual technicians consistently create the best color possible. In essence, what little you might be saving on the front end will be compromised in your finished work.
If we were to select only one delivery method, then it would be a finished print method. However, today's photography client lives in a digital world and loves the idea of having files to share with their friends and family. That is the primary reason that we also sell our files. Some of our clients like that as an option so we have offered the service to meet the demand. We do feel that it results in compromised quality on the back end, but we can only educate our client as to their options.
Today, however, we have created a method that combines both options and seems to serve our clientele well. All of our print clients end up receiving a retouched, logo'd file that is perfect for sharing on social media such as facebook or Instagram. This provides the parents with exceptional finished work to gift to relatives and display on their walls and provides the upcoming graduate with a means to show off all of their favorite images. It's a best of both worlds compromise that seems to make everyone happy.