It's the digital age, right?! Wahoo! We completely embrace this and we do a LOT with giving clients the digital images and personal print releases for those images. Our clients want them and we get that. It does cut down on our time proofing sessions and ordering product, which works in our busy lives. But we know this method is not for everyone. We know there are wonderful photographers who do live sales sessions and rely solely on printed images. This is also amazing. This blog post is not to sway anyone to one side or the other of the digital image debate. Rather it is to help those who ONLY do digital images that they need to price their sessions to include at least ONE print, even with digital purchases.
(here you can see a few printed images and even a 10x10 canvas on the shelf)
In this digital age, everyone knows how to take a USB drive to get prints. Everyone knows how to upload images to a lab and get a canvas. But not everyone understands the value of using a good lab with consistent results, one dedicated to creating images only. Before we really developed this plan, we would get clients who wanted to save a few bucks (and honestly, it really was only a few bucks) by sending their images to Walmart or Costco to be printed. Now I am not saying EVERY time you use one of these labs that your images will come back looking like a hot mess. But...the chances are pretty high that these labs won't be using profiled printers and they won't be maintained by people who make a career out of making sure that their customer's prints look perfect.
We have a few labs that we use all the time. We love Millers, Artsy Couture, MPIX (to recommend to clients), and Color Inc. The colors there match our calibrated monitors spot ON. (Calibration? Do you have confusion there? We will be blogging on that shortly. Stay tuned!) The color, clarity, contrast, and quality of their product is well beyond drugstore labs. Most are VERY fast to deliver. Millers is always there in mind-bogglingly short times. (Like I cannot figure how they do it.) The prices are not that far off for loose prints from the drugstore and they offer many other premium options.
Ok, ok, so they are better quality, but WHYYYYYY offer at least one print?
Because your client has likely viewed your art on their uncalibrated monitors. They have never seen it on a calibrated screen. They don't know what your art should look like. So if Walgreens mutilates your image, they really don't know. Most clients don't realize that there are differences between labs. They will assume everything they get in the print is what you intended to be there. So, giving them a pro-quality print that you have inspected and found to be correct, will give them a standard to judge from. We usually offer a standard 16x20 canvas to clients. Usually they upgrade to a bigger size. It serves two purposes actually. 1) It gives them the standard to judge. If Walgreens messes up, they know who made the mess and they will likely follow your recommendations on labs once they see the difference. 2) It is a constant, on the wall advertisement for our studio. Lots of our clients are referrals from other clients. They see our work on their friends' walls and ask who did them. It is always easier to hang a canvas than to remember to order one and THEN hang it. If we can help clients skip that step, we are closer to great referrals.
So, at least one print. We can all do that, right?