Digital images are all the rage. They are easy, inexpensive and make sharing with loved ones and curious eyes on social media simple and fun. Just like you probably do, too, I love digital images.
As a professional photographer, however I was intimidated and felt very threatened by computer-accessible files up until a couple of years ago. Many people, from 5-year-olds to everyone’s uncle, niece, daughter and sister-in-law’s brother is now a photographer. They hand out digital files like candy from the Dollar Store. And, honestly, I have now come to appreciate all photographers. I’m just happy people are appreciating the art of photography.
However, I am a little nervous about the future. We will have a plethora of photos of what people ate for dinner and their toes in the Maui sands, accessible (maybe) on our smartphones, but will your great-grandchildren be able to see portraits to accompany the stories told about you? Chances are, no.
If you know me, you probably already realize I’m not much of a sales person. So here’s my little non-sales pitch for wall portraiture vs digital photos. By the way, we at Photography by Misty do offer both, so we will discuss when might be the right time to choose digital over print and print over digital.
Should we feature your loved ones in a handful of digital files or display them by installing a portraiture on the wall? And, no, I am not like the Crazy Cat Lady, thinking we all need to add to an ever-growing collection of cats or, in the case of this blog, 16x20s, 20x24s and 24x36s (yep, got a few on my wall, and they're not as big as you think they might be).
Let’s just say it’s time for holiday pictures. After all, a Christmas card isn’t worth sending if there’s not a family picture included (at least those aren’t the ones I save) - bor(yawn)ing. Or say everyone in your family graduates from high school, so you don’t find it necessary to display a wall portrait of your 18-year-old; however, you do want to purchase a yearbook ad. It would be silly to buy into my wall-portrait (yes, digital images are included, too) package in these scenarios. Instead, opt for a digital-files-only package.
My girl Jenny or one of my other associate photographers here in Dallas does a fantastic job with senior portraits and family pictures. You receive five beautifully enhanced digital files, resized and with permission to have printed up to an 8x10, made into mouse pads, tree ornaments, or any one of the many options offered by Costco, Walgreens, Minted and Tiny Prints.
By the way, if you do go the digital-files route, please save your files in at least two different places, including your computer system, the cloud, on a flash drive (always), and/or an external hard drive. Oh!! And I have a novel idea: how about printing a few of them, too? (You can use the above-mentioned resources.) Otherwise you might just run the risk of forgetting you ever had them taken. Yes, that even happens to me!! Or, what if something happens to you? Someone else needs to know where to find those files.
Well, when would it be a good time for a print package from your high school senior’s portrait session or that family gathering, which included a family photography session? In my professional-photographer’s opinion, it’s time for a wall portrait if it’s been awhile since your family has all gathered together or if you’re not sure when it might happen again.
Let’s talk immediate-family portraits for a minute. I believe you should have a museum-quality portrait created twice while your children are still at home (unless they are well into their 20s, then let’s not encourage them). Scheduling family sessions while they are still young and precious is perfect timing. It’s nice to reflect on those innocent years when you were awakened by their cooing and not by their ill attempts of sneaking into the house at 2am. And we definitely want to get those perfectly precious portraits before they hit the awkward middle-school years. Who looks good between 6th and 8th grade? Not many.
Personally, I am in love with my children’s high-school portraits. They are a daily sweet reminder of why I work hard and how committed my adulting children are to achieving their own goals. If those images were stored in a cloud somewhere, what would supplement my morning prayer?
However, if you have budget restraints or 16x20 of each of your six kiddos would dominate your decor, one family-inclusive art-archival piece will do the trick. For your second session, it’s a good idea to capture that family spirit sometime during high school and college before everyone starts moving too far away, not coming home for the holidays, gets married and/or starts having babies of their own.
Lastly, I’ll just say from a woman who loves her family (putting aside my career mind for a moment), the images hanging on my walls are visited by my husband Michael and myself several times each and every week. They conjure up so many great memories, start great conversations and remind us hard work pays off.