Why Can't I Have a Print Release?
DIY Printing. It's a slippery slope. Think of it this way. You have three options: Good - Fast - Cheap. You can have TWO of these characteristics, never all three. It can be Good and Fast but then it's not Cheap. You can have Cheap and Fast and it won't be Good. You get the idea. DIY printing with online providers or pharmacies and big box stores like Shutterfly, Wal Mart, Walgreens, Costco, CVS etc.. are usually Cheap and Fast - but never Good!
What does this mean for those really nice photos that you had done with your professional photographer? If you have your images printed somewhere other than a professional print lab, you are going to misrepresent the artist's work. What does that mean and why should you care?
Image Quality: You paid good money to get in front of your photographer's lens. You planned your session including outfits, location, set, theme, feel and more. You paid a session fee anywhere from $300-$500 or maybe you're a subscriber and you invest in capturing your images monthly. No matter what type of session you did, your time in front of the camera was an investment.
You paid for your photographer's expertise and skill along with the use of their space, equipment, and software. Your photographer skillfully posed you (or your family, newborn, pet, or products) and composed the image. Each image was perfectly focused and lighting on point to accentuate the best features and minimize flaws. Each digital image was perfected in post-production. The skin was smoothed, contrast was added to make the subject pop. Teeth were whitened, eyes were brightened. Exposure was adjusted to give the desired mood. Once complete, your images were uploaded to your gallery where you viewed them in all their glory. Perfect, high-resolution digital images.
From here, it's time to put the art into its' final physical form. A print of some sort. That might be a book, a framed print, a canvas wrap or any number of other options. How do we make sure that the image you choose to print product looks exactly the same as the beautiful digital image you see on your screen? Quality control. A professional print lab. Professional print labs are able to take the high-resolution digital image and replicate it in printed format with precision. The gray fuzzy blanket in your newborn's photo will be gray. Take that same image to Wal Mart, and you've got yourself a saturated, over-exposed blue hue. Rachel Nielsen gives some great real-life examples here.
In short, printing options that are not PRO will ruin the image. It won't look anything like what you saw in your online gallery and something beautiful will very quickly become hard to look at. With an unprofessional print lab, you're guaranteed to get these issues: Exposure: too light or too dark. Noise: blurry or grainy. Hue: skin tones become orangy or blue. Quality: your product will not stand the test of time. You know the old adage, "you get what you pay for". Why spend hundreds, possibly thousands on capturing beautiful professional images that were painstakingly edited to perfection and then print them for $0.12 each? Protect your investment. Show off your art with pride. Purchase a product that will last and look like the image you fell in love with.
The last thing to consider here is your photographer. The photographer-client relationship is a special one. It's not just a business transaction. For me, I have many repeat clients. I see families monthly or yearly. They trust me with their images and our time together is special. We share in celebrations as well as somber moments. We overcome fears and boost confidence in our sessions. My clients are supporting my family and helping me earn a living. They appreciate my artistry. You wouldn't want to misrepresent the skill of your photographer by having their art transformed into something not so attractive and cost them a potential client, right? It's not something that you'd normally think about as a client; so it's important to learn about it here.
Alder Grove Creative does not offer print releases for all of these good reasons. Lucky for you - we offer every print product under the sun - and all from truly professoinal print labs such as Pro DPI, Millers and Black River. You simply order directly through your gallery when your images are delivered to you online. And, if you're a subscriber, enjoy that extra discount!