It's a daily debate in the professional world. Do I print photographs, or do I sell images on a disk?
Personally, I feel that any photographer who only sells digital files is doing their clients a huge disservice.
People will tell you they want the digital files "so they can save them." The fact is, they remain packed away or in this case, held captive on a hard drive . . . never to be seen by anyone.
My mom died last September. In the process of cleaning out her house, we found thousands of color slides and black and white negatives. Boxes and boxes were stuffed onto shelves . . . and what did we look at? The photographs that were already printed. Why? Because they were easier to view! We didn't have to pull out a projector for the slides or try and view the negatives on a light table.
Most insurance agents will tell you that the one loss people lament the most after a fire or flood is that of their photo albums. It simply robs them of their irreplaceable memories.
So . . . think about it for a minute. How many people do you know personally (not just the ones you read about online or see on the evening news) who have lost everything due to a disaster such as this? Maybe one? None?
Now, think about all the people you know personally whose hard drives have crashed. I'm willing to bet you can think of 3-4 right off the top of your head.
When I do a bridal fair, I bring along a crashed hard drive to illustrate this point. It sits on the table with a little tent sign saying "I'm going to put these images on my hard drive so I'll have them forever." I also have a 5 1/4" floppy disk (remember those?) with a little sticker that says "What if this was the only way for you to view your parents' wedding photographs or your childhood memories?" CDs and DVDs are on their way out as well . . . they'll be history within a few years. Apple isn't even putting DVD drives in their new computers.
The point is . . . whether they are snapshots or professional portraits, your images deserve to be printed and viewed, not stuck somewhere in limbo waiting for you decide if you want to do something with them later.
- David Grupa