Saturday, December 22, 2007

Before And After

In the distant past, ie., the pre-digital age, it was unheard of that photographers would ever release the film negatives from a wedding or portrait shoot to the client. There were two primary reasons for this. First, photographers would often charge a session or shoot fee that was so low that the photographer's income had to come from a large mark-up on the prints that only the photographer could provide from the negatives. A secondary reason was that most photographers felt that they needed to control the printing of their images to insure that the print quality was befitting of the high standards and reputation of the studio.

Today, however, its becoming more and more common for photographers to charge a much higher fee for their time, expertise, and artistic style. This higher fee assures the photographer's time and expenses will be covered, and allows the photographer to include the "negatives" (now, digital files) without fear that their work will be "unpaid." But now that many photographers are including digital files with some packages, how does the photographer insure that the prints made elsewhere will be of the same quality that the studio would have produced for the client? Well, the photographer can't be sure that the client will get a high quality print elsewhere; particularly if that "elsewhere" is a consumer grade mini lab operation like you find at Costco, Walgreen's, or Walmart.

The majority of the wedding packages I offer include a DVD of the hi-res images from the camera. So, I want to show you how the images come straight out of the camera, as compared to how they look when I produce prints for my clients. Sometimes a client will ask me why my prints are priced the way they are and I have to take a moment to explain that a good photographer will always spend that extra time to make sure that there images look awesome. So, there has to be a charge for all that processing time (and expertise). The images out of the camera look great, but any image can be made so much more awesome with a little tweaking in photoshop.

When I include a DVD of the images files in a package, I know that you may choose to make prints from them at some point. And that's OK, ...but for most of my customers making their initial print order, quality is important enough that they usually want to get their reprints with my personal enhancements. And, the cost difference is often not all that great anyway.

I want to show you a few examples of the professional image enhancement that you won't get if you take your images to be printed at a local mini lab.

Click the images to see them larger:

This is a casual portrait of the lovely mother of the groom, taken with the afternoon sun filtering through the trees onto the grass behind her. The color is true, and it will print great just like that! But with a little color enhancement, contrast adjustment and sharpening, the image on the right comes alive with a more 3D quality and depth. This is the difference you get when you get your reprints from me.
This is a casual portrait of the handsome groom from the same wedding. On the left is the image straight out of the camera. It has a touch of a blue cast since it was taken in the shade, but it will make a great print. But after my custom enhancement, the image on the right is sooo awesome!

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