There's something we need to talk about .... you, yes you - come here. I need to talk to you. It's important. So grab a cup of tea and your favourite packet of chocolate biscuits (don't get one bickie - just grab THE-PACKET!)
I want to build a professional, loyal and trustworthy relationship with you and your family... with all my clients. And to do that, I need to be honest with you.
While I appreciate the digital files from your photography session are something you want… and I am proud of the work I created for you – you should know that over time, your digitals will change in purpose from a something you cling to, to something you’ll eventually throw away in a drawer – or put somewhere so safe that you’ve forgotten, where that ‘safe place’ is! I know - blasphemy right? But sadly, it's true.
Those once special digitals will become a ‘temporary insurance policy’. Then one day, they will become old technology that no one will be able to access. Gosh – I’m even guilty of that myself. I have had photo shoots done with my family and those treasured CD’s of images that I had to have, have ended up in a drawer…. Or did I put them in a safe box with some other photos? I think you get the idea – something that was initially so precious to me, I have honestly forgotten where they are.
The USB of digital files that I too wanted so desperately from the photo session with my family, has been forgotten about and put ‘somewhere safe’. You know it actually makes me feel sick inside – especially being a photographer! But I remember what it is to be the client too. I remember how I felt going into my shoot, what I wanted from my session, what I hoped the photographer knew I wanted and what I wanted with my digitals so I'm all over where your head is at where digitals are concerned. And - getting the digitals so that you can 'save some money' & print your 9c photographs at one of the large discount stores is a recipe for disappointment. The colour calibration, pixelation and end image quality is of such a standard, it only dishonours your initial session investment and does not yield the true image your photographer worked hard to create for you. Yup - been there too. Ashamed - but know when to put my hand up and admit my own faults. You don't need to make the same mistakes I did!
My point is, the images from your online gallery or your USB will no doubt find the same fate. Then one day, you or your family may find it and be heartbroken to discover that the USB has malfunctioned over time - or worse - that USB technology no longer exists. One day – the little USB doobie-whacker (that's it's professional name innit?) that we insert our USB’s into our computers and laptops, may not be there? Just like floppy disks and VHS/Beta video’s are no longer current, one day CD’s and USB’s will also be defunct. Please remember that.
I say here now - print what you want to preserve.
I say to you, not just as a professional or a photographer, and definitely not as a saleperson (gosh, I couldn’t sell grass to a cow lol!) but from the perspective of a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a great granddaughter…. Investing in printed product is something that you and your family can enjoy – for generations.
It may sound cliché’d … but…. Do you remember walking into the house of your parents or grandparents and seeing family photos on the walls of their lounge room? On old duvets, hutches & even on their bedside tables, their dressing tables, in their hallways, kitchens – not to mention the precious old family photo albums they had on coffee tables or tucked away safely in those vintage display cabinets, just waiting to be opened & reminisced over? Do you remember that?
Just being able to look at those images, see the story, the time and wonder about their life, who they are, who they were…. Remembering good times, family times, happy times…. Or simply cherished moments that you never wanted to forget…. Seeing an old 6x4 photo in a frame of you.... in your grandparent’s house…. It makes you feel loved, special, that you have a place in your family tree…. That they would’ve walked past your photo every day and looked at you – thought of you – and loved you.
Seeing that old framed photo of your grandparents on their wedding day that was displayed pride of place in their lounge room, their baby photos – oh and the old family photos of everyone together in their Sunday best – you know the ones that are weathered with time, tinted in sepia - where no one smiled? Remember them? How precious are they? Do you see how your grandparents react when they look at them and tell you about their childhood, about that photo, about their mum and dad, siblings, where they were living at the time – what life was like back then? And how much that conversation resonates with you? It’s those conversations you can never get back – and they all started - with a single photo.
You know the feeling you get when you look at them. It really speaks to the heart of you. Your history. And your family’s legacy. You are a part of the next generation coming through, or the second generation, or the third generation – looking at these photos and really enjoying them – for all that they represent.
That is what I want you to know…. To understand. That to invest in your here and now…. in a legacy for you, for your children, for their children – so every time they walk into your house, your home – they feel a part of something special, deeply personal and something that they will always hold onto very closely to their heart. They feel they belong, they have their home, their true north - and they feel loved. Printing your photos is singlehandedly one of the most important things you can ever do.
One of the most precious photos I have, is of my beloved Poppy. He and I were enjoying one of our much loved moments – a night of draughts championships lol! We usually played 3 games. Best out of 3. Now - my Nanny and Poppy taught me how to play – and they were good, very good, sharp, all over it – knew the moves, practised strategy and thought light years in advance. When I would visit them on school holidays, we would play most nights… and the teachings would continue – until the student became not too shabby herself and the battle was on! Those were the nights where one game became a tournament in itself - every move was carefully deliberated over for a good 5 minutes before taking the finger off the round and leaving it there - only for the intense concentration to continue after a brief sigh lol J
Over time, my Pop’s eyesight deteriorated to the point where he placed little gold stickers on all the black drafts pieces so he could see them. I used to study his face after I made my move… and watch him, be so very carefully, methodical, meticulous with what his next move would be. If it was getting towards the end of the game, when we were both “king’d up” but I had more than he did and was feeling confident I could win from that stage of the game, I would get a twinge of the guilts… I couldn’t beat my Pop. He was the nicest man I knew. And there would be times, I’d throw the game. He’d rouse on me now if he could.
But one day – as he pondered his next move. I got my old Nokia mobile phone and took a sneaky photo. I knew Pop would hate a photo of himself so positioned the phone in such a way that looked like I was just mucking around with it – which itself was disrespectful given the time we were spending together… he even asked me what I was doing. I lied - and told him “nothing” after I took ‘the shot’ – that too made me feel guilty. But I had to have this image preserved forever … I never wanted to forget it. And how special it was to me. And I felt if he knew what I was doing, he wouldn't have any of it.
Then one day – my beloved Poppy passed away. He was no longer with us. And it really hurt my heart that the most incredible gentleman I had ever known, the man with the subtle yet cheeky sense of humour, the quiet man who enjoyed fishing, growing orchids, bananas, cucumbers and tomatoes, playing lawn bowls and doing crosswords - was gone. The man that loved long walks on the beach with his granddaughters, was gone forever. Our days of playing draughts was over - a fond but now distant memory. All I had left of those times was that one photo. That memory. When my Nanny looks at that photo, my mum, me – we all see a man, captured exactly how we remember him…. It is perfectly imperfect…. The lighting is terrible and it’s badly pixelated given the technology of the time – but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
So that said, I strongly encourage you:-
Print what you want to preserve!
One day, it may be all you have – and in that moment, you’ll be glad you did.