Throwing your money away on digital negatives.

March 09, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Wasting your Money on the Digital Negatives?

So you just had your Images taken.  You have the CD,DVD or thumb drive with all the images. You've now placed them on your computer. Annnnnd there they month goes by.  Then two.....  Then six.....

Many will remember them a year later, and then think "Hey, I need to go get those printed".  Then rush down to the corner fast print place and print them out SUPER cheap but zero quality to the image.

I can tell you that in the digital age, everyone wants the digital negatives, but then doing something with them is the next problem they run into.  They take them to the local super store that has 1 hr prints or any other pharmacy that still does printing and are they really satisfied? Not really! I can tell you that I hear this all the time that either they sit on the computer or they are printed cheaply and they aren't satisfied with what they have. 


For some reason, the stigma of having the digital negatives equates to having some type of intellectual property or luxury item that no one else has and it so important that they couldn't live with out them.  I hear these questions all the time;  Do you give digital negatives?  How much do they cost?  I have to have the digital negatives?  Are they all inclusive in your packages?

After the shoot I hear, "where should I print them", "how do I print them", "how do I upload them", " How much does it cost".   A month later I hear: "Can you help me with my prints?", " I'm not sure how this all works", "I'm really not computer savvy", "can you describe how to download them to the printers site?"  (yes they ask download)

I want to help and am more than willing, but the problem is that it takes away from whatever I am currently working on. It costs time and money to get them to the point where they can do it themselves. Unfortunately, I do not teach a class on that.  So are they throwing their money away? If they aren't getting what they truly want, which I argue is the amazing wall art images and prints for their home to show off to family and friends and to remember many years down the road, then the answer is YES. For sure they are throwing their money away.

When you are getting photos done, the whole point is that it be something that you remember and share with your friends and family.  Hanging the images in your home to make that home KNOWN as your home and when people walk in they can Feel the family environment, see the images of your wedding, your family and all your kids or pets.  In the digital age, people want that physical digital negative, but then have no idea what to do with them.   I can't tell you how many weddings I have done where the couple came back to me a year later and still had not printed anything out.  (I even have brides contacting me 2-5 years later still saying they need to get their album done)


Everyone has a camera on their phone, and its great to run around taking images of your kids, your pets, your food and posting those on social media.  That's awesome. Even I do it. However, when I get images done of my family, or when my wife makes me set up the camera for family photos rather, Those are the images I want to print in high quality as art to display in the house. I don't want them to sit hidden in the computer to never be able to see them and not sharing them with everyone. They are works of Art to share.

Technology changes each and every day.  Over the years, the phones, digital formats have changed and been replaced.  Yes, that means that technology eventually goes away and dies. CDs have died, flash has died and other formats have gone away.  So what happens now when you come back to those images 10 years from now and want to print them. Well, Maybe you can print them or open them, but storing your images on a hard drive and leaving them there, eventually puts them at risk.  Another huge risk is hard drive crashes.  I've known several clients and friends that have lost years of family images from technical malfunctions. 

Trust your professional...

With the rapid change in technology, the only way to preserve your photographs so that they can be enjoyed for many years is by producing something tangible out of them.  What’s even greater, I can guarantee that you will be even happier with your investment in professional photography if you do so!   No one ever calls to say how much they love their DVD/CD.  They call to say how much their friends raved about their Family Wall Art this year, or how their wall art makes them smile every time they walk by, or how their little daughter looks at her own album every day!

I have done many DIY projects over the years, but have learned the hard way that it ends up taking me longer and ends up costing me more money.  I could share the story of where I was painting my kitchen in a DIY project where I started a fire. (got put on hold when we called 911)  Or the time where redoing my bathroom a wall fell in on me.  Yes this is technology, its different, but there is a lot of knowledge/education in producing great art from the photos.  

I believe very strongly that you should let the person who does it everyday, do it for you. I print images and process my images for print all day long.  Learning the cropping, knowing how to crop, color and edit for print, as well as post processing is a whole education in itself.  So the difference is, you can change your own oil and spend the month to learn how to do it, then do it in 12 hrs or hire someone who does it 50 times a day to do it and have it done in 15 minutes.

So when getting your images done, think about the end result.  Where do you want to hang them, display them, who to share them with.  Go ahead and get the digital negatives to share online, but make sure you are focused on the prints and trusting the person who does them everyday to get those done for you.   Then find the professional you can bond with and trust I guarantee you will be so much more satisfied looking at the art work in your home or sending our the cards to your family.





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