Everyone seems to want images of their session on a CD these days instead of buying prints. There is nothing wrong with that, however, before you decide to purchase only the CD of images, think about this:
1) CD’s get scratched, damaged, and lost. What will you do if this happens? Call up your photographer and say hey I lost my CD please make me another one? Who’s to say your photographer still has your images on a backup? Most of us purge files after a certain amount of time. In addition to that, it’s normally going to cost you, just like it would if say you wanted another 8×10. And remember due to federal copyright laws, it is unlawful to transfer those images to your computer or another CD unless given permission to do so.
2) CD’s will be phased out by the end of 2012. The music industry has announced they plan to phase out CDs by the end of 2012. So it’s only normal to assume that the rest of the market will also begin to phase out CDs. In fact, some car manufacturers are removing CD decks from their vehicles and replacing them with MP3 and USB jacks. What will you do when the CD drive on the computer becomes obsolete as well? Hey, it’s safe to say that will probably happen here pretty soon. Remember the floppy drive? Could you imagine if you had images on a floppy drive right now? How the heck would you access them? You wouldn’t, and those images would now be gone forever.
3) You will get better prints from your photographer than you will off of the CD. All professional photographers spend a nice little chunk of money having their computer monitors calibrated to match that of the professional lab they use for prints. Which means, what you see on the monitor is what will be printed at the lab. Labs such as Wal-Mart, CVS, Shutterfly, etc… will not be calibrated to that of your photographer’s monitor. So you may end up getting orange skinned people, colors that are completely out of whack, or colors that are dull. In addition to that, you may find heads that have been partially chopped off, limbs that are missing, and only half of your body in the picture. Why? Because those type of labs do not spend the time to crop the picture for the size you want. Their printers are typically set up to only crop one way, right in the middle. Your photographer, on the other hand, will spend the time to do it properly. Crop? What’s that? Well, I’m not going to go into too much detail, but basically, a camera takes a picture at one certain aspect ratio. So when you want a size that does not equally match that aspect ratio, cropping (or removing) part of the image must happen. For a better visual see my cropping guide located here.
4) You can’t re-create most memories and milestones. Now think about this; do you have pictures from your childhood? Yes most of us do. How old are you? It’s ok, no need to tell us. In my case, I have pictures in albums that are over 32 years old. I even have some from when my grandmothers were my age (I am 32 by the way). Now, how about those images that I put on a disk from our vacation 8 years ago when I first got a digital camera? Well, I have no idea where it’s at. Did I bother to print even one picture? Nope. Now imagine that those pictures are of your pregnancy, or your child’s very first pictures, or your wedding! I can semi recreate a vacation, however, I cannot make my child be a newborn again, or recreate my child’s birth.
5) CD’s should be used as a backup. Now you’re probably thinking, well I will just transfer all of them to my computer or put them on an extra disk when I get home. Not so fast. Doing so, is Copyright Infringement. Even if it weren’t, computers crash, CD’s break, get lost, and scratched, and technology is constantly changing. However, prints can last a lifetime, something that can be treasured for many generations without the use of any kind of fancy technology (or old technology that may no longer be around). In fact, if you ever come to my house, I would love to show you some images of my daughters 1st birthday that are on a floppy disk. Oh wait, I no longer have a floppy drive. I guess it’s a good thing that was just a backup and I have prints in an album I can show you!
6) Easier to share pictures in person. How many people say hold on just a second, let me fire up my computer, pull out this CD, lets all file into my crowded room where my computer is located so I can show you pictures from our wedding? Wouldn’t it just be so much easier to pull out an album of those pictures from the coffee table? While I understand that most of us live in a social networking kind of world; what about parties, family gatherings, and get-togethers? Or those of us who have family and friends that aren’t “wired” in? I know it’s hard to imagine, but not everyone has Facebook or even email.
So the next time you think to yourself, “oh I’ll just buy a CD or specific digital negatives”, ask yourself why you had custom portraits done; to look at the images on a computer screen, or to cherish your pictures for a lifetime?