Monday, May 24, 2010

The problem with Digital Files... {Bozeman, MT Portrait Photographer}

I'm often asked by clients (and friends and family and anyone else who is baffled by it...) why I don't offer digital files as a product option. The answer to this question is multi-faceted, and I often end up boring people with my explanation.

Let me try to break it down.

If I sell a digital file, I'm essentially giving my work up to be:

a) posted all over the internet, with the possibility of it being stolen and used without my permission (not to say that the CLIENT would be the one doing this, but it doesn't take much for a photo posted on Facebook or a personal blog to be copied and pasted a million other places...) I'm happy to give you a low-resolution watermarked image for use on facebook/twitter, etc. - just ask! Notice that all the photos on my blog and FB page are clearly watermarked - that's the reason.

b) edited by someone else with my name still attached to the product (yes, I actually had someone call me once who wanted me to shoot their entire wedding, then give them the unedited files to be edited by the groom's uncle...or something). To have my name attached to a photo that is NOTHING how I would edit it does not give my work fair representation. Conversely, imagine how I as an artist would feel if someone got a hold of my work and straight out called it their own. Ouch.

c) Reproduced at a one-hour photo developing place that is not color managed, which results in flat color and low quality product. A lot of people don't realize that there is a lot of "behind the scenes" editing done to photographs before they are sent off to a lab. The proofs I offer my clients are very specific - I put a lot of time into my work and want the final product to be an exact replica of what was in my head (and on my monitor) at the time I made it. I have a color-calibrated monitor, and I work with excellent pro-labs whose printers are color managed. What this means is that the colors I see on my monitor are EXACTLY what I get back from my lab on paper (or canvas, or whatever other medium the client orders).

I recently did a little test to be able to show the difference between printing at a pro-lab versus printing at Costco. Even a picture of a picture speaks a thousand words in this situation.

On the left is the Costco print. Holy Vampire baby with no color in her skin! On the right is the print from my pro-lab. Aaaah pink and pretty and actually the same exact color of her skin (and her sweater) in real life.


You can see the difference right?

So there you have it. Hope this helps to explain the "why" behind the question. It's not just because I'm picky and I like things my way -- tee hee heeee. It's because my photography is my ART, and a digital file is not the finished product.

Of course I always make exceptions.... If you are really interested in digital files, I'm happy to work something out for you. I will, however, always include a 5x7 print from my pro-lab with your CD to give you something to compare to when you come back from printing at the one-hour developing place...


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Originally from upstate NY, then transplanted to Alaska where I found my husband and started the family chapter...  Moved to Montana after 8 years in AK -- lived in Bozeman for 4 years and settled in the mountains south of Helena for the rest of the story...

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Let's talk about the awesomeness we can bring into your home in the form of one-of-a-kind images that will be cherished for generations! Give a call or drop an email today.


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Regular Session Information:

The $125 regular session fee includes up to 2 hours of shooting time at a location of your choice and 20-30 edited proofs to choose from at your in-person ordering session (*proofing will be available online for those clients outside the Helena area).

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Zo-Mak Photography is an on-location custom portrait studio based in Helena Montana. I specialize in people - all people; the people who are special to you. Bringing a fresh perspective to custom photography, Zo-Mak Photography loves vreating images of your family, children, newborn baby, roly poly baby, high school senior and wedding that will be cherished for generations.

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