There is a lot of reluctance amongst wedding photographers to hand over digital files to the bride and groom, but it’s now something that most of my customers ask about.
From the photographer’s point of view there’s one very good reason for this, we make money out of the prints, it’s traditionally been an important part of our earnings. It’s equally clear to the customers that they are going to save money by getting hold of the files and printing their own photos.
Despite our grasping natures, making money isn’t the only reason photographers want to print the images for you, it’s also because they are going to look better.
When a digital file comes out of the camera it almost always needs to be adjusted in some way. After selecting the wedding images I plan to keep, the first thing I do is to make basic adjustments to all the files. These will include exposure, white balance and contrast adjustments. When everything looks good I will burn these files on to a disc and these are what my clients will receive. You can take them to a high street printer, get a set of photos for a few pounds and they will look OK.
If you decide to order prints or an album through me, I then go back to those photos and try to get the very best from them. At this stage I might do any of the following:
- Tonal adjustments
- Saturation adjustments
- Black and White conversions
- Blemish removal
- Lightening teeth and eyes
- Softening wrinkles and shadows under eyes
- Borders and keylines
- Re-sizing and sharpening
- Assorted fancy stuff!
They will then get printed in a professional lab with strict quality controls.
I was going to post some really fantastic examples of blemish removals here, but then I thought my previous clients might get a bit upset if I published photos of their monstrous pimples, eye bags and bad skin. I’m not planning to move out of Brighton at the moment, so I don’t think I’ll do that (come round and I’ll show you, heh heh).
Anyway, this stuff does make a big difference to the look of a print and is an important part of the photographic process. It’s very time consuming, so you can’t do it to 500 images for nothing. If you are going to have a packet of photos to carry around and show your friends, high street prints will probably be fine. If you want to put photos in a frame or an album it’s really worth having the professional prints.
I’ve decided to include digital files as part of all my packages at the moment. I also include a set of boxed prints which have had the extra work done on them. I suggest to my clients that they have some prints done themselves and compare them. If they can’t tell the difference that’s fine. If they want the extra service I’m more than happy to do it. I never pressure people into letting me do the processing and printing, but I do think it’s shame if people, after paying for a professional photographer, end up with wedding photos that are half as good as they could be.
I’ll be posting another page with examples in the near future.