I am asked alot from clients, and even those contemplating having me capture their portraits for digital files, for their photos on a CD. I spent a few hours this week on Pinterest, looking through print comparisons that other photographers had finished and found a really good example on Amanda Jackson’s Photography’s website. This photo shows so much in just one simple comparison of the same photo, printed at different labs. I am going to do this as well, and post it in the studio, for everyone to look through when they visit. But as you can see, different cheaper labs, such as Walgreen and Target do not even come close to what the portrait really is.
As a portrait artist, I spend so much time preparing for a session, planning poses, and coordinating colors and pieces used during the session. For the sake of this post, let’s focus on newborn portraits. A typical newborn portrait session can last anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours, where I meticulously work with the newborn baby, making sure that I use props, baskets, a beanbag and then finish with posing sets with siblings and parents. We incorporate items into the session such as uniforms and we make sure that each and every newborn session is exactly what the parents were looking for.
After the parents go home, I can spend anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, working on sneak peeks, which are posted the same day as the session, and working to finish the best of the best portraits taken during the session. Those photos are then put into an online gallery (which costs me a monthly fee to even be able to offer to the parents) and then they are sent to the parents. When I edit, I work to make sure that the newborn is as perfect as it possibly can be. I make sure that any jaundice or overly red markings are gone, and that any baby acne or flaky skin is not very noticeable. I work many hours to make sure that their final gallery is always my absolute best work.
So after around 8 to 10 hours of work, a complete product is given to you, the parent, and then you have the choice to either do something amazing with it or to just print a few small portraits. To me, it is like taking your brand new car that you’ve had for a few weeks to a car detailing company. This company is the best of the best in the city you live in. You trust them to make your car look brand new, to make it the best it can be. You spend a ridiculous amount of money, but you know that it’s worth it, because in the end your car will look SOOOO good. They call you to tell you that your car is ready and you rush over, ready to drive in it again. You grab your keys and you rush to sit inside, taking in the clean look and feel, but instead of keeping it that way, you shake up a 2 liter bottle of coke, and then open the bottle and spray the brown soda all over the interior of your car. You wasted your money, and you ruined the good work that they detailing company did for you.
I work as hard as I do to ensure that you are getting the best portraits you can, and to help you preserve those portraits for future generations. To do that, we need to work together and in 2016 I promise to help you do just that. I do not want you to take your “digitals” and print them in a way that does nothing but make them look cheap and unprofessional. I want to help you create an art piece that you would be proud to hang in your home. I want to help you have a piece that you can pass down to your children, and that they can pass to their children and so on. I want you to see me as an investment.
I also find that some clients, when I was offering a CD of photos or the digitals as a normal, would simply hold on to the photos. All of that time, effort, money and work … simply sitting in an office desk drawer, collecting dust. How can you share those photos with friends and family? What happens if in 10 or 15 years or more, CDs and Flash drives go extinct. It can happen, ask the VCR or cassette tape.
Can you imagine if Michelangelo had taken his portraits and painted them, in the midst of sweat and tears, just to roll them up and put them behind closed doors? What would have happened to one of his now, most famous works, “David”? We would have never known …. think about that for a few minutes.
This year, let’s create portrait pieces that you can display in your home. Let’s create conversation pieces, that you can share with not only friends and family, but with your children as they grow up. Show them that you are proud of them, so proud, that you invested in them as an individual, and in their future.