The Value of Product over CD of images

A fairly common question that photographers receive about portrait sessions is whether the customer receives a CD of images.  It can be a controversial issue and one of the most debated topics in the industry.  Some customers say that they would prefer to just receive a CD of images for a number of reasons, including being able to print their photos at their leisure, and having a copy of the images themselves.  Most also believe that it must be cheaper to receive a CD only, as there is supposedly less expense with products.

I want to address these three issues to clarify things a bit more.

If you are taking the time to commission a portrait session from a professional, then the outcome should be equally if not more gratifying.  Imagine turning up to pick up your order, and you receive a CD of images that you then have to take to a random printing kiosk and print off those photos you would like to display.  You have to look after the sizing of the photo, and leave the production of the photos in the hands of a printer that isn’t calibrated 100% to the colour of your images.  The final product from these types of prints are not archival quality, which means that you are more likely to experience fading and changes in colour of the print over time.  Nevermind any of that though, if you are time poor and never allocate time to “print your photos at your leisure”.  Let’s be honest, most if not all of us nowadays are time poor, so having the time to devote to printing and displaying your images can be a huge challenge, and is often put in the too hard basket.  The number of clients who come to me for a portrait shoot or wedding photography, and tell me that the CD of images they have from years gone by, are still sitting in a drawer………somewhere……..is really concerning.  That is why I offer a complete service to my customers.  They are looked after from start to finish, and they end up with gorgeous products at the end that they can enjoy and care for.

As for the question of having a copy of your images that you can store for yourself.  That sounds like a great idea.  Although, the medium of CDs that are used for the transferring and storage of images, will become obsolete some time in the future……remember floppy disks?  If you don’t move your data off CDs and onto more viable backup systems, then all your good intentions could end up in disaster.  CDs are not indestructible…..I have lost count of the number of CDs that have failed on me over the years….and the data on them could have been lost (well, not lost if you have a comprehensive backup system).  Here at Emotive Images, we pride ourselves on having a very well maintained and comprehensive backup system.  My husband is an IT expert and his daily job is looking after backup systems!  We aim to backup all images that are ordered by clients, so that in the unfortunate event of them losing or damaging their products, that we can reproduce their order in the future.  In saying this though, no backup system is 100% perfect, and there is always the chance of data being lost or corrupted in some way.  That is why it is ALWAYS best to have a printed copy of all images.

Finally, the issue of cost.  Many people who enquire about a CD of images, are under the impression that a CD of their images would be much cheaper than purchasing products.  The short answer is that it isn’t cheaper to purchase a CD of images only.  If you are commissioning a full time professional photography business, then they will need to account for ALL business costs associated with creating your images, when they are pricing their products.  If you were to just purchase a CD (with NO images on it) then yes the cost of a CD itself is fairly cheap.  The same as if you purchase a piece of 12″x18″ sized paper with no print on it.  But as soon as the photographer prints THEIR particular image on that paper or burns it to the CD, then you are paying for all the expertise taken to create the images, the equipment used to produce the images, and the actual labour costs in producing your images from the click of the shutter to the final product.  Photography can be a confusing purchase for some, as they don’t SEE the actual time taken behind the camera and computer screen to produce what you view on their website.  We are talking often full days worth of time taken just on your photos alone to create the images you want to purchase.  Then the professional photography business also has to take into account business expenses like phones, websites, insurance, equipment, computers, etc etc and the list goes on.  If you approach your commissioned portrait as though you are only paying for a physical CD or “just” the paper itself etc, then you are ignoring all of the time, expense and labour costs that your photographer invests to create your images.  If you commission a professional photography business who charges less for a CD of images than products in their studio, then they are potentially not covering all of their  time, expenses and labour costs….and that is simply not sustainable.

At Emotive Images you would essentially pay the same cost for a CD of images, as if you purchased products in studio.  I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have something physical at the end of my portrait session, rather than just a CD of images.  If I charged less for a CD of images, than products in studio, then I certainly would not be covering my time, expenses and labour costs.  That isn’t sustainable….and I aim to offer a consistent and reliable business that is available to my customers for many years to come!  I owe it to my customers to be a viable business the provides a continuity of service that they can rely on!  As a result I owe it to my customers to charge appropriately for what I do.

So when you visit the Emotive Images studio for your commissioned portrait session or wedding photography, all of the above is why you will see products to choose from, rather than just the promise of a “CD of images” only.  When I look at the photo below…..my heart sings when I see the gorgeous Portrait Suite Box…..as opposed to a flimsy CD of images…..All of my customers have the option of purchasing a CD of images AFTER they have purchased products, but my primary focus is to hand to you at our final meeting in studio a gorgeous Boxed Collection, or Album, or beautiful Framed Prints, Canvases and Acrylic Wall Mounts.  That is what you will be admiring 20 years from now……not a CD of images that might not even work anymore or worse still cannot be found.  There is something truly special about actually seeing physical products in the studio.  Many of my customers comment on the difference in seeing the products up close and how the photos LOOK when they are physically printed.

If you would like to visit the Emotive Images studio and see our beautiful products and talk about what I can do for you either with a custom Portrait Session or photography for your wedding day, do not hesitate to contact me on 0402 283 219 or louise@emotiveimages.com.au.

CD of images