So you’ve had your baby photos done and now it’s time to choose the images you want to keep, and in what format you want to receive them. For the vast majority of my clients what they want is to buy the digital images. Of course I completely understand why this is the most popular option as it allows you to share the images with friends and family, and to make prints and gifts as you wish.
So if you’ve bought the digital images why bother buying the prints?
I feel that when you have invested in professional baby photography you ultimately want the best images of your baby/child, and you want those images to look their best on your wall/in a frame. Many people think that all I do is ‘click the button‘. Well if only it were that easy! I spend time before each session selecting beautiful items to use, or arranging a bespoke set-up especially for a client. I also spend time ensuring my lighting is right, and I calibrate my computer monitor regularly to ensure it is correct when I edit images. Once the photoshoot is over I then spend up to 20-30mins per image making sure that every detail is perfect – the colour, exposure, sharpness, blemishes have been removed etc. I take great pride in my work and it truly is a labour of love for me.
It was not long after I had delivered digital images to one of my clients that she contacted me to say that she was disappointed in how they had printed. After discussing it with her I discovered that she had used a local supermarket instant print machine to print her beautiful, professional images. Once I explained that these machines aren’t designed to handle professionally edited images she realised that the issue was not with the digital images I had produced, but the machine she was trying to print them on.
So after this I got to wondering about what my images would look like when printed at different ‘consumer’ photo labs. So I took one of my favourite images and sent it off to be printed at a variety of high street and popular online printing labs, and the results amazed me!
Here is gorgeous Anya as I took the photo.
So let’s see how Anya looks when printed at different photo labs. The below are photographs of the original prints as this is a little more accurate than scanning them.
You might be wondering why there is such a vast difference between them all. Well non-professional labs don’t use the same strict protocols as professional ones, and probably don’t calibrate their machines as often. When you also factor in that the calibration of the non-professional lab machines could change over time, you could find that the image might print differently again in say a months’ time at the same lab, or even completely differently at a different machine at the same lab.
After completing my little experiment it made me sad to think that my work might be printed poorly and hanging on someone’s wall – not truly representing the quality of my work.
So does this mean I’ll stop offering digital images?
No – I will continue to offer digital images for purchase. What I’m trying to do with this article is to help my clients make the best choice of how and where to print their images, if they want them to look their best. I guess really it all comes down to the old saying ‘you get what you pay for‘ and this would seem to be very true when it comes to printing professional images.
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