F.A.Q. ~ The Holy Grail (A.K.A. “The Disk of Images”)

I was about to add an F.A.Q. section to the site, but got side-tracked… like 5 years ago! So, I decided it would just be simpler to highlight a featured question every now & then on the blog so you can just click on the FAQ category to get all the handy dandy answers all at once:)

Since this is the first F.A.Q. post, I’ll make it a doozy. It’s the question we get asked the most (and as in “we” in this case, I mean ALL photographers). It comes in many forms and initiates a variety of sub-questions, some of which we will have to answer in another post…

Do you provide the hi-res files for printing?  How big are they? Are these jpeg images? Do they have watermarks?  Can I make my own albums with them? Can I post them to Facebook? Can I email them? Do you keep a backup of the disk in case I lose it? Why is it different for portraits than weddings? Where in Winchester/Martinsburg/Hagerstown/Frederick/etc. can I print these files?

 Schew!!! I told you this one was a doozy! So let’s begin…

The disk we provide contains two folders. One folder is for “Share files”, which are watermarked jpegs optimally sized for the web. These are the files you would use if you were to share them on any digital media (email, website, blog, FB, Google+, etc.). The watermarks are in the corner of the image, and you can see an example by looking at any of the images on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SwadleyStudio). The second folder contains the non-watermarked hi-res jpegs suitable for printing up to 11×14. You may use these files for any printing for your own personal use, but we do not guarantee quality of any prints or products you choose to make on your own. The reason we stopped providing the full image file is that we consistently see our images that we have painstakingly created to display beautifully being printed on substandard materials. This is a direct reflection of our artistic ability, which can affect how your friends and family perceive us as artists, which in turn reflects our referral rate.

**Let me give you a real-life example of how this affects us** I apologize for the length, but it is really important for me to make sure all our clients understand why we do what we do! I once had a wedding client who cancelled on me with no reason only 2 months before the wedding date, which made it impossible to rebook that date. We recently became friends through another mutual friend, and she hired me to do her newborn photos. She mentioned in her viewing session that my prints have come a long way since when she cancelled her wedding with me. I then felt comfortable enough to ask why she cancelled, and she told me that one of her friends whose engagement session we shot sent out her save-the-date cards that she bought from Shutterfly. She saw the cards and was surprised that the work she saw on my website did not look like the printed product at all, and thought that my work just didn’t print well. Instead of asking me back then about the issue, she just booked another photographer and cancelled on me, leaving us out of 2 weeks income (and a FANTASTIC wedding!).

So, with that said, yes we allow you to make albums and anything else that can be printed up to 11×14, but we really like to provide anything that will be seen by other people whenever possible. I do understand budget concerns, though, as many of our casual family photo albums are made by Shutterfly, and they serve that purpose just fine because I know I can reprint them every few years when they fade or wrinkle because I archive the album files (I’m an archiving nutcase!):)

Speaking of archiving, YES I will always have a backup of your images in case you lose your disk. While I’d love to save room by deleting your purchased images after so many days/weeks/years/etc., I unfortunately am a packrat when it comes to some things… images being one of them. So, if you ever need a backup, just give me a shout. A small fee may be charged depending on where the backup is located, and how much time it will take to complete your request.

 I’ve been asked once or twice about why the digital files come with all our wedding packages, and not with our portrait sessions. Let me fill you in… We recognize that all brides want their digital files to hold onto forever for various reasons. When we started including the digital files with all wedding packages, we increased the cost of the packages to include this expense. For portraits however, it’s a bit different for a couple reasons. First, most of our clients come to us for artwork for their walls… not for a disk that will sit in a drawer. So many people are just getting disks from their photographers and not displaying those precious images where they were meant to be displayed!  I certainly understand the desire to hold on to all your images from your portrait session, but not everyone feels the same way. So, instead of increasing the cost of the portrait session for everyone to cover the expense of giving away the negatives, we keep it as an add-on option to purchase at the viewing session. We even make it super-easy by providing an option to only purchase the 5×7 files (for those of you that just want to know that you always have them in that drawer… lol), as well as the 11×14 files to be able to print gifts for family members/place on your desk/make ugly Shutterfly albums (haha, sorry, I couldn’t resist:)), etc .

As for local options for printing, unfortunately I don’t have anyone to recommend! I struggle with this since I am a huge advocate of buying local, so I just advise my clients to use a decent online printer such as MPIX.com.

 Thanks for hanging in there for the first round of FAQ’s! I promise the next one won’t be so involved:)

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