Today, everyone who hires a photographer has to make this decision. A decade ago, when you hired a photographer you knew that after you looked through the proof book, you’d order prints of your favorite images. Today, with computers occupying a dominant place in people’s lives, you have a choice. Do you want your images in physical print, or would you rather receive digital files? Each has it’s advantages, but neither is always right for each and every person I photograph.

Since most people are already familiar with ordering images in print, lets take a quick look at digital files.

Digital negatives, what are they?

Back in the days of film cameras, the ‘negatives’ were what the camera’s film turned into when it was developed. It was what was used to easily make copies of images. Today, the term doesn’t make a whole lot of rational sense—it simply refers to the full sized image files that came out of the camera—the image files you would need if you wanted to go and make duplicates of pictures you had taken.

Because of the huge cost to the customer, It is not typical for truly professional photographers to hand these files over to the customer as a standard part of wedding or portrait packages. Buyers should be cautious when hiring a photographer who’s promising to hand over a CD with full resolution images on it. This is sometimes a sign that a photographer is not truly a professional.

Web-Resolution Images?

When you upload a picture to Facebook or MySpace, the picture is resized so that it doesn’t take up too much space on the server. You can save yourself time by uploading a picture that’s already been resized and optimized for the web. So, if you plan to share your photos with lots of people on Facebook or MySpace, or some other website, you don’t need to spend the extra money on the ‘digital negatives’. All you’ll need are the web-resolution images.

So which should I choose, digital files or print?

You want to get the most for your money and effort, so to help answer to this question, take a look at the suggestions below.

Prints

Ordering your images in print is probably the most cost effective option for you if you’d like single or double copies of lots of different images. If you’re assembling an album or scrapbook, ordering your prints directly from me will be the most cost effective solution.

Web-Resolution Image Files

If you’re mostly excited about sending your images to friends and family through the email, or sharing them on social networks like Facebook or MySpace, then ordering a CD of web-resolution images will be the most cost effective. The images will come pre-sized and web optimized to make the process of sharing them as quick and easy as possible. And remember, if you’re ordering prints, you can still order the web-resolution files, too!

Digital Negatives

Digital negatives always cost the most on the front end—which is why they are not offered as a standard part of any packages. Because digital negatives come with the rights to privately reproduce the images as many times as you like, it’s the most cost effective solution for do-it-yourselfers and anyone who plans to reproduce a few select images many times, for whatever reason.

In conclusion…

Selecting the most cost effective option for you is easy, as long as you know what you’d like to do with your images. Take a few minutes to think about this and your photography experience can be more enjoyable and more affordable.