Power of Print

Why You Should Still Be Printing Your Photos

October 7, 2015

By RF Staff

Ten years ago, Iomega Zip drives were still in use by photographers for backup purposes and were everywhere. Five years ago, burning a DVD was the standard backup technique. Today, we are seeing a switch back to the tactile, hold-in-your-hand or mount-on-your-wall print with many fine-art options for clients—including wood, metal and canvas. Why? For one thing, not only do most new computers not have optical drives, we are discovering that DVDs lose their ability to be read in just over five years. 

Portrait of my great, great uncle, Stephen Gurney. Courtesy of Andrew Funderburg

Recently I was given a print of my great, great uncle on my mother’s side (above). The caption on the back reads, “Stephen Gurney WWI, was killed shortly after photo was taken.” The print is about 100 years old and not only looks fantastic but also serves as a memory for generations of my family. If we lose someone today and all we have are digital memories, in 100 years who will be able to see those memories? No one. 

JONETSU Studios provides clients with engagement and wedding-day albums. Photo © JONETSU Photography | Album by Priscilla Foster 

Providing the Physical Product

Award-winning wedding photographers Ben and Erin Chrisman recall exactly when they made the switch from providing just digital files back to printed albums, proofs and wall art: “A few years ago we asked past brides what they ever did with their wedding photographs. Almost every single bride told us their photos were just sitting on the disc in a drawer because they were just too busy to make prints.”

Recently, the pair received sad news that the mother of one of their grooms had succumbed to cancer. Ben and Erin had already made parent albums for both sets of parents and while they knew albums were important in general, the news of the mother’s passing made them realize just how important that parent album really was. The bride wrote to Ben and Erin and let them know that her mother-in-law had her album with her and looked at it every single day up until her death. Our job as photographers isn’t to simply capture the day, but also to preserve it for our clients and their families.

After providing albums to all her clients, Camille Fortin Bensler of JONETSU Studios says, “Now that every client receives an album from both their engagement session and their wedding day, we feel like our purpose is fulfilled (in the storytelling department). There is no greater impact than to print a moment in time... to clearly say that it was an important moment.”

Renaissance Albums adds a matte coating to e-surface prints for a fine-art feel. Photo © Randy Kepple

Modern Products with Timeless Appeal

Albums are more popular than ever with professional photographers and clients alike, and we are seeing new takes on fine-art albums with lines such as Lush Albums (designed by Tamara Lackey) that have modern covers with a more feminine touch and fine-art paper. Renaissance Albums added a matte coating to traditional e-surface prints, giving them a fine- art feel without the expense of adding fine-art paper. Additionally, most album companies are starting to offer deep matte paper, which allows you to offer something your clients may have never seen before. 

For wall art, the canvas is here to stay. It harkens back to fine-art paintings. And while clients can buy canvas prints at Costco or other retailers, what they cannot buy is properly retouched files and the quality that companies like Miller’s Professional Imaging, Bay Photo and ProDPI can offer. Metal prints offer a similar look with a more modern feel, while wood prints, lend wall art an earthier feel. 

Print for Posterity

No matter what type of product you want to offer, or which lab you choose, committing to print can be beneficial to both your business and your client. It is our duty as photographers to create art that is passed down to future generations, not only to hold and to cherish, 
but to discover.

Photographer Kristi Odom, speaking at WPPI in 2016, reminds us that “a photograph is meant to be held and touched, not glanced at on a computer screen. Albums and prints become the tangibles that are passed down for generations.”

Are you a vendor with an industry perspective to share? Email Jacqueline.Tobin@emeraldexpo.com and we will consider it for a future issue. Check our PhotoForward blog (blog.wppionline.com) to read about Fundy Software founder Andrew Funderburg’s Print 365 Project, where he committed to making one personal print everyday for a year.

Related: Fundy Software Introduces Improved Album Builder Software

First Exposure: True Black-and-White Digital Prints