Whenever I book a session, whether the client hires me for family photography or children’s photography, I inevitably get the question, “Do you sell the CD?” In short, the answer is yes. But do I recommend it? Well, no.
Believe me, I understand why you want the CD. They’re YOUR family portraits. Why wouldn’t you want the CD? After all, years from now, if you want to blow up some photographs that we took during a family photography session at Red Rocks, you want to be able to do that without tracking me down, right? But let me ask you…..when was the last time you took a CD/negatives/zipdrive to Walgreens and printed some photos from 5 years ago to hang in your living room? Probably never. I know I haven’t. I have tons and tons of pictures saved on my computer and on neatly filed CDs. The last time I looked at our family portraits from 3 years ago? It was 3 years ago.
I have numerous, numerous clients who love their pictures and sing my praises, but when they buy the CD, it gets thrown in the drawer until it’s time for the family pictures the following year. It’s not because they don’t like their family photography. It’s not because they don’t like their family photographer. It’s because, in this day and age, they simply don’t have the time to deal with it. Trying to figure out where to put them. Trying to figure out what sizes will look right. Trying to figure out what will look best–framed or canvas? In this busy world with two working parents and children’s activities, we don’t have time to deal with it.
This is where your photographer should come in. We can help you, the client, figure it out so you don’t have to. Ask yourself, how many images from the session are you actually going to print or use for Christmas cards? I would say two or three for your Christmas card and about three or four for the house. Many clients want to have control over Christmas cards, so I usually recommend that clients purchase the digital copies of the images they want for the Christmas card and then picking three or four to print and hang in the home. My policy is to give the a digital copy to the client when they order anything over 16×20. I can help you decide which pictures will look best and I take care of getting the order done and over with so you can actually enjoy your photos.
Talk to your photographer. Let them help. Many people think that buying the CD is a money saver because printing at Walgreens is so much cheaper. But in the long run, it really isn’t. The prints are sub-par and won’t hold up. You don’t necessarily need every picture from your family photography session…..you need a few well placed images in the home and some for your Christmas card. Break down the costs of the CD versus purchasing a few images for your Xmas card and a few large wall prints for the home and it’s not much different. And you will actually get to enjoy them instead of popping them in a drawer.