Denver newborn photographer seeks families who want to take photos AND display those photos in their homes.
“Hi! I’m due with my first baby in January and I’m wondering what your availability and newborn pricing is and also if that includes all of the digital files.”
I can’t tell you how many emails I get that sound a lot like the one above. These emails make me so happy for a number of reasons: 1.) Here is a sweet mom-to-be who knows how important it is to capture every little detail of her newborn baby in those first few weeks of life, and 2.) She loves my photographs and my vision and trusts ME to be the one to do this for her. I don’t take either of those things for granted, and I am so incredibly thankful for the fabulous families that hire me to photograph their little ones.
But these emails also make me a little sad. Because I have become so aware of our recent obsession with owning all the digital files, while realizing how few of those photos we actually print out and look at again through the passing years.
Don’t get me wrong – I get it. I paid several thousands of dollars for my wedding photographer and wouldn’t have invested that much if he tried to convince me I didn’t need the digital files. No way. I wanted them all. I wanted to see the whole story and I wanted to have those photos so I could use, share, and print them however and whenever I saw fit.
But here’s the thing. I have TWO of those photos printed and framed. TWO. Thousands of dollars for a CD of photos that I looked at a few times and for TWO printed pics that sit in frames in a corner of my house. Yes, I’ve used a few as my Facebook profile pic, and I uploaded a small gallery of images to share with friends. And that album got, like, 150 “thumbs ups” on Facebook. But I don’t have an actual, real life album. I don’t have a book. I don’t ever pull out my disc drive, attach it to my computer, dig through drawers to find the CD, and sit down with a glass of wine and my laptop and my family and friends around me to browse through the photos or relive the day. Not once in five years have I done that. Not once.
Hooray for having all the digitals, but what in the world are those digital images doing? Sitting in a drawer somewhere. And I don’t know if you know this about digitals, but they’re actually degrading and decaying. Losing information and detail. There is no real evidence to show that they’ll even be readable 25 or 50 years from now. What if the photographers from the 80’s gave us all of our images on cassette tapes. Where would those photos be now?
So my answer to the sweet email above isn’t all that simple. Yes, yes you can have the digital files. Yes, I will even give you the whole set if you love them all that much. But not without you purchasing prints or photo art or a small book for your coffee table. Yes, I’ll include the digital files and yes you can keep those and use them however you like. But first, you have to tell me which images are your favorites and you have to open up the package of prints I send you in the mail. I’ll make you hold those prints in your hands and figure out which ones to frame and which you’ll send to Grandma and which you’ll put away for safe keeping.
I refuse to let my clients walk away with just a USB of images because in 6 months they will have looked at it once or twice, in a year they will have forgotten where it is. It’s not why I do this job. It’s not why I photograph newborn babies and all their squishy cuteness, it’s not why I make Mom & Dad get in a few of the photos despite them feeling disheveled and sleep deprived. I take these photos so you will remember those tiny flaky toes, that soft skin, the sleepy smirk, the fuzzy head, the little fat roll on her wrist, the little dimples where his knuckles will be. I take these photos so that you can sit down, years from now, when your baby is sitting at a desk on his first day of school, and look through a beautiful book of printed images and remember how perfectly perfect he was.
I won’t let you just buy the digitals. Because these photos deserve to be printed. These memories deserve to be preserved. This moment must be remembered and relived every once in a while. You’ll thank me later for being so damn stubborn about it. 🙂