All through college and even a little afterward, I worked in a camera shop. Yep, a good old-fashioned camera shop called Peoria Camera Shop that you could buy cameras, lenses, and accessories, as well as print your photos and get other photo products. There are not a lot of print labs in general, but Peoria Camera is one of them and even allows the public to come in and print their photos. They aren’t limited to professional photographers either, which is rare (they had some special pricing and things, but the products themselves were the same).
Besides helping people with their camera equipment, the other major part of my job was helping people with their photo products, including prints, canvases, metal prints, photobooks, etc. I became very aware of what people tend to gravitate towards, what their frustrations are, and all sorts of trends in my time working there and it helped determine how I operate my own photography business.
While I do offer digital images and always will, I try not to focus everything on the digital files, because in my experience, people want them but don’t end up doing a whole lot with them. I have personally talked to so many people who would throw the disc or USB in a drawer and forget about it for years… then discover it and try to print photos only to find out that they are corrupted from sitting for so long or getting damaged. Technology does degrade over time.
Sure, posting your session on Facebook is fun, but it’ll just keep getting pushed down further and further on your timeline in the coming days, months, and years. To truly honor the memories captured in a photo session, I highly recommend printing photos sooner rather than later and displaying them in your home.
Digital files are intended to be a back-up, not the final product. I promise you that you will appreciate looking at a 16×20 canvas in the hallway vs having the digital files stored away on your laptop. Of course, set your desktop background or screensaver as your favorite photo from the session, but also get some physical products.
I am always happy to help pick out the best photo to display, so never hesitate to ask! That’s one of my favorite things to do, actually. The bottom line of this little post: print your photos and enjoy them!