Family Photography – Wall Art Vs Digital Files

    The Ultimate Battle In Photography

    Unless you have shot with me before, or shot with another professional, then I am sure I know where you sit on this issue. I want to have an agreement between us, right now. Stick with me! Don’t bail out, this is going to be worth it, and I promise, you will get so much more value out of your family photography if you do!

    So as the showdown has it, most people when they come to me for the first time, tell me the same thing. “Oh, I just want the digital files”. I would say, almost 100% of people give me this story. And I don’t blame them. We live in a digital world, we live in an instant gratification world, where the more likes you get the better. We also grew up in a world that taught us that minimising our costs was the ultimate goal, not maximising value.

    The amount of money you pay for your images may vary only slightly, but the value you will derive from that expense, will change exponentially, if you just stick with me for the next couple of minutes.

    Siblings hugging as sun sets behind them. candid shot captured by james white hunter valley wedding photographer

    First of all, what do I mean by digital files? Simple, the digital copies of your photographs. It’s that simple. Just a bunch of code, that sits on your hard drive, and displays your photos. And what do I mean by Wall Art? This encompasses a lot of things, obviously printed images, that are framed to hang on the wall. It also includes things like Canvases, Acrylic Prints, and (despite what the name suggests) albums. In it’s simplest form, those are the two options you have with regards to your photos.

    So why the great debate?

    Most people think they just want the digital files, for a variety of reasons, but your two most common are, “I will print them myself later”, and “I want to save some money”. Let me explain why neither of these really work out in the end.

    Firstly, printing them yourself later, almost always ends up as a car crash. of course, for most people, later never comes. The files end up sitting in a folder, gathering cyber space dust, never to be viewed again. And for those who do print them,  I invariably get an email saying that the prints look terrible, nothing like the digital file, and when I ask where they were printed, I get told KMART or BIGW. I can’t stress this enough…their printers are not professional grade! They are not calibrated. They will print a very inferior product, and the colours will change. Yes, for small prints like 6×4 or 5×7 they are fine, but once you start talking about enlarged prints, I could not recommend strongly enough to avoid them.

    So now what happens? This person, now has to fight for a refund from the printer, and then get me to print them professionally (I use a professional printing company that only deal with professional photographers). Any deals or discounts that would have been had at time of purchase are now gone, and this person is paying an a la carte price for this print. This is why, ultimately, you don’t save money, you end up spending more. And even if you do keep the original print, the inks will fade in a year or two, forcing you to replace them frequently. Professional prints should last a lifetime. For example, my canvas have a 75 year no questions asked guarantee!

    Ok, so we know that the common reasons for wanting digital files only actually don’t pan out. So what are the benefits of wall art over digital files? Why is it that photographers are so obsessed with selling physical products? Are we just money obsessed business owners? Well, not really. I mean we are business owners, but there is a far greater reason.

    I put a lot of effort into capturing your family, and then editing them to make them look stunning. I want to see tears in your eyes when you look at your images. So for me, the thought of you simply having a digital file, that sits on your computer, is never looked at, and is eventually forgotten about is heart breaking. I know that if you do this, you will derive next to no value from these photos, and you could be getting life long, every day kind of value! So for me, that is why I want people to hang prints on their walls. When they come home from work and see their amazing families, or when they have awesome prints in their office on the walls, it reminds them how lucky they are. That is what I want my work to do! And that is what you want it to do as well!

    When you come to me, you want those emotions. You want joy and happiness. You want excitement. You want to feel these emotions every single time you see these photos. And that should be every single day! That’s what you are paying for. Not the images, but rather the feelings and emotions that the images create when you view them.

    Ultimately, I can’t make the decision for you. And yes, there are reasons that digital files are important. Sometimes you may be sending them overseas to be printed by family. Sending a framed printed image overseas may not be financially feasible. In this instance, yes, digital files make sense. Also, you can’t back up wall art. If it gets damaged, for example, in a fire…it is gone. So digital files, which can be backed up, are perfect. You can always re-print this now.

    That is why, in all my print packages, digital files are included!

    Ultimately though, my job is to solve whatever problem you have. I want to give you, exactly what you need to be as happy as possible. If that is just digital files, than that’s cool with me. Remember, I am not here to up sell everyone to the most expensive package like some sleazy car salesman. All I care about is that you get what you want, it creates the emotions and feelings you wanted, and it is of the highest quality.

    If you think you are ready for some updated family photos, as always, feel free to send me an email, I would be absolutely stoked to chat with you!

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    james white
    August 1, 2017




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