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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why should you order prints from your professional photographer? | Comparing pro lab prints to big box store printing companies | The proof is in the pudding | Syracuse, NY Lifestyle Photographer

The transformation of the photography industry over the past couple of decades is just tremendous. And with every change in technology comes different expectations from technology users and consumers. Back in the film days I'm sure most people never expected to receive the actual negatives from their paid-for-professional, what would they do with them?

Before one-hour processing at the local drug store most folks had no way to develop and print their own images, so having the negatives did them no good.

Now that digital imagery is king and even children's toys come with picture-taking capability, the expectations and desires of consumers have changed. Everyone wants to share their captures via social media, or display them on their desktop, or add them to their blog. Snapping a few hundred photos in order to get the perfect shot of your little one doing something extra cute is not even given a second thought.

So of course the field of professional photography has changed right along with the tides of society.

Most clients these days want the digital negatives and printing rights to all their images. 

The most forward of us know that it's the case, and in order to please our very important customers we have to offer the option of having those files at their disposal. But before you decide that just having the digital files from your professional photo session will be "good enough", think about this:

Most people never have prints made of their digital files. 

In fact, they may sit in a drawer somewhere, collecting dust and are never looked at again.

This, as a professional photographer and artist, makes me very sad.  This is why I offer custom portrait products to all of my clients, because in my opinion, having the files is just not enough

And before you stop me to say "Well, I will just send of my pictures to be printed at (fill in convenient printing center near you)", I will say - I did that. Of course, it is convenient, inexpensive and fast (boy, one hour to completion, that's quick!)

...but what about the quality? 

I went ahead and printed one of my favorite images of my son at my professional lab, on the custom paper with a custom finish (and mounted!) that I give to all of my clients that order with me. I then sent the exact same file to Walmart through their website and chose one hour processing.

Here's what I got back:

Compare professional photography print to walmart, costco, snapfish, cvs, drug store, online printing, quality, better, syracuse, ny lifestlye photographer, maria b. smith

The colors are off, the contrast is off, the detail is lost, and the quality is definitely not there. There is no comparison.

Here are some close up shots so you can see it a little better...

compare professional prints to discount photographs, walmart, cotsco, should I buy prints from my photographer, syracuse, ny maria b.

Of course, I will always vouch for the professional lab, because to me - it's always worth it to see my work displayed in the VERY best way possible.

I like knowing that what I see on my computer screen after all that time painstakingly editing my images to look their best, is what I will get when I print through my professional lab.

And here's the thing, with a professional photographer you don't have to worry about the process! I do all the legwork for you. I make sure everything is perfection, before it ever even crosses the threshold of your doorway. 

So think about it. Aren't those wonderful memories you just created worth it? 

If you think it is (and I think that you do) get more information about my work and booking a session through my website maria b. photographymy Facebook page or contact me directly. I will be (im)patiently waiting to hear from you about having beautiful moments of your family captured, naturally!

Until next time...


  1. Well said, Maria! An important message that needs to be shared. May just send my clients over to read your post. ;)

  2. Having the disc is a great way of safe keeping your memories - but, as you've said above, memories worth safe keeping are worth professional printing!

  3. You are so correct! Why pay all that money to purchase your digital negatives for them to sit in a drawer. Prints & wall art are the best way to go.

    1. Yes, exactly! Not that there is anything wrong with quick, cheap printing for personal photos - but I always advocate getting your photographer to do the dirty work and getting those pieces ready to display in your home! We take so much pride in making sure they are perfect!

  4. This should be viewed by EVERYONE in the world! It is so sad that most people want "the best photo" and that great portrait gets ruined by not investing in a professional print!

    1. Yes, it does make me sad Ingrid! Luckily, most of my clients want me to print for them because they trust that what they will receive will be a work of art!

  5. I was thinking the same thing. You've said this so well I just send my clients over to read it! WELL DONE!

  6. Maria, I've been searching online for some great wording on how to explain these very things to clients and stumbled upon your post. I just wanted to say thanks for writing this, this will help me to explain in a much better way! Great work and writing- have a great day :)

  7. Maria, which printing company do you recommend?

  8. Thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good resource... photo printing los angeles