blog carousel – choose art

Once again it’s blog carousel time. This month our theme was to write something informational. I am writing about the current trend to choose digital files over high quality professionally printed albums and wall art.

Having started out in photography shooting film I have a hard time understanding this craze in the industry over files. It seems that so many people looking for portrait sessions these days are more concerned with obtaining files than quality photographic art. Back in the day (ha! now I sound old) of film no one asked the photographer to give over their negatives and photographers never offered to give them. It used to be, and still should be, that the main purpose of hiring a professional photographer was to create beautiful images that would become art for the walls or for albums. Heirlooms to be passed down for generations.

The reality of it is, most of us are far too busy to DO something with those files, they end up sitting on the computer and they wait. Wait until we have time to get to them…..and time slips away from us, it happens to me, and my own personal images all the time. I really believe that if you are investing in custom portraiture, (because a great photography experience is an investment) you should really consider what it is you want from that experience. What do you envision doing with those images. I am pretty sure most people don’t see themselves gathering around a computer to oooohh and ahhhh over the images a couple times each month.

This is one of the biggest reasons why in my business I do not sell files unaccompanied by prints. I feel that if someone is going to invest in my services they need to leave the experience with something to show for it. To me, that something should not be just a disk of files. I feel that if someone took time to choose me over the many other photographers out there they need to have something tangible and real in their hands to share and show off and especially to pass down. If they are investing in my art I want them to have ART when we are done. Art that I have quality control over, and can ensure is printed at the right place in the way I intended on the highest quality archival materials. I see no point in investing in professional photography and then having all the images printed at a sub par one hour lab. It would be kind of like paying an award winning chef for his gourmet recipes then having McDonald’s prepare them.

Professionally printed albums and prints are not going to become obsolete over time as eventually the Cd’s and DVDs we use now will, when new technology comes along (think floppy disks, cassette tapes, 8 tracks, vhs etc.). You are not likely to cuddle up on a couch with your children or grandchildren and flip through the family memories that are on a disk, you are not going to walk into a room and smile every time you see your family smiling down at you from a disk, like you would a framed print or collection of prints on the wall. I am not saying people should not ever have their images on disk, or saved to their computer, it is a very valid form of backing up…what I am saying, or asking you to consider is…

what would you rather pass down to your children?


or this?
(this mama chose a huge gallery wrapped canvas to hang above her bed)

or this….(excuse my shoddy product photography. I’ve never claimed to be good at that ;) )

(These images of my own family were taken by and are © Tara Morris.)

I can’t even tell you how much joy I get out of seeing these images above my fireplace. My kids love seeing them there too, especially my youngest who likes to point out who is who and talk about what we were doing.  I have written each of my children a letter to attach to the back of their canvas. My husband will do the same and then one day they will each receive 2 canvas’ with a letter attached to the back from each of us. Because these are professionally printed I know they will last and one day make a wonderful one of a kind gift to each of them. I will always choose art.

Up next in the carousel is Julie Tauro, Kitchener Waterloo child and family photographer, women’s portraits. She is writing about light – studio and natural and what clients might want to consider about both options

  • Danna, I love your take on this and respect it so much. The images out where we can see them, printed professionally as beautiful art pieces… that’s what it’s all about! Wonderful article, thank you!

  • […] Be sure to check out the next photographer on the blog carousel, the amazing Danna Bowes – Calgary baby, child and family photographer, she has an amazing way with newborns and little ones as well as capturing the beauty of moms with […]

  • […] | Lauri | Allie | Danna | Julie | Melody | Corey | Tara | […]

  • “It would be kind of like paying an award winning chef for his gourmet recipes then having McDonald’s prepare them.” A-MEN. There is something so sweet and comforting about sitting together and looking through a tangible photo album. When we visit my parents’ home, the first thing we do is head to the book shelves and look through the photographs. Having prints on display is such a joy and I think it contributes to a sense of self-esteem in children and a bond as a family.

  • Excellent post, Danna, and I agree with you 100% percent! Photographs should definitely be printed, displayed, and shared!

  • oh you are SO RIGHT, and being as i’m guilty of keeping gorgeous images of my kiddos on my hard drive, i think i’ll be doing some printing this afternoon :)

  • Danna, I agree with you 1000%. I also started my photographic journey in film long ago and I also don’t understand the point of JUST buying files from a professional photographer. While the world is becoming quite digitized, we still live in real homes (last time I checked anyway ha!) and having our family on the walls and shelves and albums is the BEST way to enjoy their growing faces through the years. I also view my canvas of my children every single time I enter the room its prominently hung in.

  • So well written Danna! You have to know how much I treasure the portraits that you did for us when Parker was a baby. I would be so sad if they were not printed (HUGE) and instead were still sitting on a disk in a drawer somewhere.

  • I feel the exact same way Danna! I think the art of the portrait is the reason for spending money on portraits. It doesn’t make sense to invest in a great photographer and then DIY the printing to save money. Great article!

  • Beautifully written. I have been known to tell clients asking about the digital images that I feel it’s like taking the car to the mechanic where he tells you what is wrong, sells you the parts and then you have to fix it yourself. Why hire a professional if you’re willing to finish the job? Sadly though I have lost so many jobs due to the lack of offering digital images that I’ve finally thrown in the towel and started offering digital collections, we’ll see what happens. I truly hope clients will still choose prints first and digital as a back-up but with the way this industry is going I don’t have my hopes to high.

  • […] I have buried myself in the office the last 2 days trying to get caught up on a few things. One of the things I’ve been working on is my new product and pricing guide (still not done, but it’s getting there). I can’t tell you how many times during any given week I receive the question “How much for the disk?” I’ve addressed this several times in the past and there is a great article that was just posted called “Choose Art” found at […]

  • awww I love the letter idea! They are beautiful!

  • Really great post Danna. You nailed it. I love the idea of the letter on the back of the canvas, what a beautiful idea that will be a treasure to your kids some day. Thanks again for the breakfast last week :) I can’t wait to meet up again someday!

  • Really love the spread over the fireplace, great balance of the photos! I totally agree with your sentiment here about passing on something with emotional meaning and visually satisfying!

  • This is some good thinking. It really gave me something to think about.

  • Hey, your family photographs above fireplace are really amazing. Keep it up.
    Lovely Article, Thank You!!

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