Unlike a digital file, a printed photograph is more than just instant image gratification. It is a symbol of the past, present and future. Printed images conjure memories of shared time with loved ones, special events and important milestones in life. A printed photograph hung on a wall becomes part of the home environment, acting as art and a welcoming focal point to friends and family. And printed photographs -- indivually or in an album -- are family records that can become cherished heirlooms.
I do understand that clients today want digital files. Given our society, that's only natural. But by offering only digital files, I've learned that clients forget about them. That disc or thumb drive is thrown into a drawer, only to be found months, maybe even years later. Additionally, as convenient as digital files are, they have limitations. Digital file storage devices like CDs and thumb drives can become lost, damaged or outdated. Remember floppy discs? A computer can crash. A laptop can be stolen. Once uploaded to a website, a digital photograph is compressed into a low-resolution file. This action cannot be undone, and means a large, high-quality print can never be made from an image taken from a website.
Finally, as our society retreats further from print, so does a collective knowledge of the printing process. Sure, clients can make prints of their images at local convienence or big-box stores, but those facilities don't offer the same quality as going through a photo lab. Photos from professional labs are designed not to fade, are treated for color, composition and light and are printed on high-quality, premium paper.
As your photographer, it is my job to ensure that clients get the most out of their product. Offering prints is the best way to do that.