Why “Pricey” prints are less expensive than Cheap Digital Files
June 6, 2016
Why “Pricey” prints are actually less expensive than “cheap” digital files
I spend a lot of time on photography forums talking shop and got clobbered when I commented “Pricey prints are less expensive than a cheap $75 digital package”. Wow did that make some heads explode. My fellow photographers couldn’t understand why delivering a cheap CD of images was worth LESS than spending MORE for finished prints. “I mean we are GIVING away all the photos for $75” one photographer replied.
disc in a drawer = no fun!
Providing digital images is an incomplete service. Its like ordering and paying for a wedding cake for the big day. When you go to pick up your cake, that is what you have…..Cake. No frosting, no decoration, no presentation. The baker says, “there are a lot of places you can buy frosting, good luck”. The final and most critical step of the process is left to the consumer who is not an expert at decorating cakes. When you buy a cake, you expect a finished product ready to go, but some photographers expect their clients to finish their job for them ! Not finishing the job is by definition incomplete.
As a professional photographer running a full service print studio, we are constantly testing new labs for quality , value, and the best new products. We can shoot amazing images but if it is printed poorly at a cheap lab, the finished product will be shoddy and disappointing.
The second big reason why “Pricey” prints are less expensive is the amount of joy derived from them. Lets face it, that is really what we are producing. The joyous emotions of seeing those fantastic portraits. When have you ever looked that good !!
Artwork displayed is artwork enjoyed. Images on a CD in a drawer somewhere have an enjoyment factor of zero. In today’s fast paced digital world, a favorite image lasts on social media less than 3 hours. As a profile photo, an average of < 3 months. As a screen saver or computer wallpaper, an average of less than 2 years. That means your digital images “expire” and are replaced quickly.
Digitals are temporary Prints are Forever !
Contrast that with a beautiful Canvas wrapped portrait hanging in your home. A wall portrait typically hangs in a home for a lifetime and then is passed down as a family heirloom. One of my favorite photos of all time is a black and white photo of my mother when she graduated Nursing School.
Beautiful Wall prints on display
Over the course of a lifetime how much joy will a beautiful Canvas or Metal wall portrait bring? Every time you walk through that room and see that photograph you will say to your self “Dang! I look good ! “ You, your family, and friends will get to enjoy that photograph thousands of times or more over a lifetime. Contrast that with a CD in a drawer or an image on social media that lasts 3 months or less then is replaced with something else.
That is why “Pricey” printed artwork is worth so much more, and is so much less expensive than a digital image. It never wears out or disappears when your hard drive crashes. It just quietly hangs on the wall bringing you joy every time you see it for the rest of your life.