Photographer in Sonora | The Importance of Prints | Christine Dibble Photography
While visiting my parents the other day, I noticed a stack of old photos out on a table. They were fun to look through, and they covered every era from my grandparents’ engagement to the youngest grandchildren. Holding those prints, feeling the thickness of the paper, and the scalloped edges of the true vintage photos really made it clear to me again why I insist on prints and don’t just offer digital images.
This current generation will be the most photographed generation in history, but the irony in that is that a few generations from now, most of those photos will be lost. Just think of the reel-to-reel Super 8 home movies. When they became obsolete, there was a mad rush to transfer them to VCR tapes. Then everyone who wanted to preserve those tapes had to have them transferred to DVD. DVD is heading the same way as MP3 and thumb drives become the norm. I myself have old floppy discs with year-long projects from junior high school that I will never be able to access again because technology has changed so much. Everyone wants to store their photos in technology, and most of them never get printed. In a few years, how many children will have to admit that they have never seen their parents’ wedding album because that album doesn’t even exist? How many yearbooks will have to stop publishing baby photos of the graduates because no one has photos to turn in anymore? How many people will say they have never seen a photo of their grandparents who passed on before they were old enough to remember them?
Photos are meant to be printed and displayed or preserved. If I just handed a CD to every client, how many of those prints would ever escape cyberspace? I hear people say all the time that they have been meaning to make prints of their photos, but they just don’t have the time to go through so much backlog. How many of us have heard someone say their hard drive crashed and they lost entire years of family photos? How many people do you know who have lost cellphones to some unexpected accident, or the depths of a toilet, or a common thief? All those treasured life moments gone because no prints were ever made. I am so adamant about this that I even print my Instagram photos!
Aside from wanting everyone to have some form of printed product, I also insist on including prints because, as a professional photographer, I have access to professional print labs that the average consumer doesn’t. (And no, Snapfish and Shutterfly are not professional labs!) A professional lab will deliver prints that match my calibrated screen. So when I spend all the time I do editing photos from a session, I know when I order them that what I see on my screen is exactly how the print will look. I have really been wanting to do a comparison test of print quality from consumer labs, but that hasn’t happened yet. But here are two great blog posts about that topic… Jenna Michelle Photography wrote one here, and Annie Manning from Paint the Moon wrote one here. As a bonus, by providing prints, I have to do the work to have them printed and delivered, and that takes the weight off anyone who might be years behind on printing their stockpiles of digital images.
If you go out to dinner at a fine restaurant and order a steak, do you expect it to be handed to you raw, so you can cook it? Sure, you are capable of cooking a nice steak. But if you are going out to a restaurant, you are using the services of the chef and paying for a finished meal to be placed in front of you, not just the raw ingredients. Handing over a simple CD of images is no different than handing over the raw ingredients at a restaurant. In the end, if someone is going to invest their time and money in a session with Christine Dibble Photography, I insist that they come away with the very best. For me, the best includes nothing less than beautiful, archival quality prints and products that will be treasured for generations.