A lot of discussion happens among the photography industry about the value of digital images v. prints. Some photographers still scoff at the idea of ever giving a client the digital images from their session, usually referencing the days of film. If you had your portraits taken by a professional in the days of film, chances are you weren't getting the negatives along with your prints. So I truly do understand where they are coming from. Professional prints also rival prints from a consumer level lab. So even if you are printing them, colors might be compromised and the quality is just not there. The best bet is to always have your photographer professionally print your images so that they are ready to display in your home.
However, I still give my clients digital images. With the onset of digital photography, clients have the ability to access their already developed images easily and share in an instant. I always remind my clients that technology is constantly changing. The floppy disc died in 1989 and the CD is on life support. Hopefully flash drives are here to stay, but we have no way of knowing that. My advice is to back up the images on a hard drive along with a cloud storage and, of course, print them. I know why you want your digital images, because I have always wanted mine too. They are my back up plan just in case anything happens to my prints. That's the reason I give both digital images and prints to my clients. Digital files are simply an archive. Prints are tangible and the real result of your session. The true value of photography still lies within the prints themselves. Here is why...
You wouldn't go out and buy a nice pair of shoes to keep in your closet and never wear them. When you invest your time and money into professional portraiture, you owe it to yourself to have the images printed. Digital images shared throughout cyber space and then shoved away in a desk drawer will never compare to tangible, hold them in your hands, see them up on the walls, printed images.
Truly though, I'm not even only talking about professional images, I'm talking about all of them. The images captured when you handed your camera over to the tour guide on your vacation and the ones you took yourself. Not just even just your vacation, the ordinary, everyday moments too. Print them... all of them!
I've been photographing my family since before I even had children. I've had a camera documenting them since the moment they breathed their first breath. I am truly passionate about telling our story through my lens. Why, because this is my Heaven on Earth and I want them to know that it's because of them. I see beauty in the posed, the monumental and the ordinary every day. Photography allows me to capture all of it and to show them how I see them through my eyes. True that some days, they get annoyed with me. "Mom, really, the camera?" I start to even question... do they get why I do this? Maybe I shouldn't. I try to find my balance and some days I just leave the camera behind.
Here comes the value part...
If they can't see the images, they just think of the camera and the moment is gone. They hear the click of the camera and they don't see the story, or the moment. So how would they get it? What value does it have to them?
A few days ago, I hung a display of my 100 Days of Summer project. I called my kids and husband down to see it and they spent a long time looking at the images and studying them. They began giggling and talking about what was happening in the images. The images brought them right back to the moments. Then they started counting and comparing how many images they appeared in. Of course, there was a little competition happening. Soon they all had their number. I said to them, "I'm only in one image, so I guess I lost." In the next moment the importance of photography itself and the value of prints was confirmed for me. It was when my middle child said, "No mom, you're wrong. You are in all of them. They are how you see us."
Do you want them to remember your photography session as that time you went out and ran around with a lady and a camera or do you want them to remember how you held each other close and giggled together? Do you want them to remember the love in your eyes when you looked at them? Do you want them to remember the smile on your face because you were enjoying just being with them?
So prints or digital? The answer truly is, both! Whether it be a professional portrait session or your own images... print them for your children! Printed images will let them know how important they are to you. Prints will show them that they are your greatest work of art. Up on the walls, they will see how overwhelmingly beautiful they are simply by just being who they are! They will know that because of them, this is your Heaven on Earth!