Why I Prefer Selling Prints Over Digital Files.

May 21, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

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Today's work is a rendering of a painting on a canvas print. I feel very strongly about making prints. I believe this is where the true beauty of a photographic work comes to life. If a work is printed on high quality photo paper and is displayed properly, it will last a century or more, and it is unaffected by changes in media technology, lost thumb drives, and crashed hard drives.  They brighten the walls of a home or business and make for a pleasant work atmosphere.

I am often told by prospective clients that they wish to purchase prints, they just want hi-resolution files that they can print themselves, or for use on social media. There have been many discussions about this among professional photographers. How do I feel about selling hi-resolution files? With one exception that I will explain in a moment, I don't sell them. Why? I could sell a hi-res file at a price that would more than make up for any lost of revenue from not making prints, but these are not the reasons why I don't sell them. The first reason is that when I sell a digital file, I have no control over how many copies may be made of a work, either in digital format or print, which gets into copyright issues. The work maybe sold for commercial use, which is illegal without the proper license. The second reason is that any work I sell is a part of me. My vision of the work, my skill as an artist, and my interpretation of the work, all comes from me. My photo lab uses the finest photo papers available. Is the cost more? Yes, but a quality product always costs more. If someone prints my work on lousy paper, that reflects on me.

Now, I do sell hi-res files to clients for use in publications, such as magazines, newspapers, and other similar venues. These publications could either be in print, on a website, or even in social media.

Have I lost clients because I do not sell digital files for retail? Probably so. But when you feel very strongly about something, sometimes you just have to say no. 

Anyway, hope you enjoy today's work.

Cheers, Paul


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