Professional photographers have many philosophies and sometimes strong feelings about providing clients with digital images. Personally, I love being able to get the digital copies of my own family portraits. I know that when I make prints myself can often afford more than I could buy from the photographer. I also like knowing I have a backup copy in case I decide to catch up on my scrapbooking or make prints for a special occasion years from now.
HOWEVER, I also understand why some photographers will not sell digital copies. Each portrait session requires preparation on the part of the models. When can we do it? What will we wear? What if Little Johnny falls down and gets a scrape on his head the day before? It requires preparation on my part. Where will we do it? What equipment do I need to take? Do I need to find special props? Then there is the time for the session itself and hours of sorting through pictures to provide you with the best options. We haven't even gotten to the retouching required before I'm willing to release the final product. We just can't have those unwanted blemishes now can we? So after all of that, when your masterpieces are ready, why would anyone go to a cheap printer? The thought makes me and many other photographers shutter. Not only that but what happens in 20 years when the technology used to play the CD is no longer current and people have no prints???? The memories are lost to the digital black hole.
All of this explanation is just to build up to how I can sell the CD of digital images and sleep at night. I make it EASY for my clients to print their photos at an awesome, professional quality lab. I am more than happy to make prints for my clients... it is my preference. But for those that, like me, want the CD, I make it easy to order your own professional quality prints. I automatically upload the final images into a gallery that is directly linked to MPIX. MPIX is the consumer branch of my professional print lab, Miller's. I can guarantee that images made at MPIX will be beautiful. My equipment is calibrated with MPIX so there should be no surprises in color or quality. MPIX uses the finest archival papers as well. It is very common for my clients to receive their prints from MPIX and e-mail me to let me know how pleased they are. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! Best of all MPIX offers great rates that are comparable to discount chains. (And for the record, I am getting no kickback from MPIX for this endorsement... although I wouldn't turn one down. :))
Now for canvases and specialty items, I ask clients to consult with me to get the best quality. There are lots of fly-by-night canvas companies that offer cheap solutions, but in many cases you get what you pay for. I have accounts with vendors that can provide great quality and prices and can make recommendations for you to make your own as well. For instance, Royal Canvas at Canvas Printing is a great choice.
So should you order the CD or the prints? The choice is yours as long as you get the best prints for your special memories... Moments pass and memories fade but great photos are forever!
Rocky Mount, NC Photographer