| |

Digital Files | why I love them and why I hate them…

I understand why you ask about digital files when you call to commission your family portrait session. It seems to be the standard when it comes to photographers and, if you don’t ask about digital files, what do you ask about?

It’s not that I don’t think digital files are valuable, I do. But they’re not the most important end result of your family photography session.

The most important outcome of your family photography session? The smile on your face each morning as you come down the stairs to grab your first cup of coffee and, out of the corner or your eye, glimpse the photographs on your wall. And the knowledge that, as you kiss your little (or not so little) one goodbye as you drop him off at school, you have done everything you can to make sure he knows he is loved, adored and cherished. Those family photographs on your wall? They do that.

A digital file, stored somewhere amongst all the files on your computer, doesn’t do that.

The end result of your family photography session isn’t that you finally have a current photo of your entire family together;  one where you actually love the way you look and feel (though you’ll have that). It’s that you have that photo matted and framed on the wall of your home.

Obviously digital files have their place.  They’re perfect for sharing online with friends and family and to have as a digital backup.

I get that; which is why all our prints 8”x10” and larger are accompanied by the corresponding high-resolution digital file.

But digital files generally aren’t enjoyed daily. They don’t seep into your subconscious (and your children’s subconscious) in the way a photograph on your wall does.

They also aren’t forever, as much as we’d like to think they are. Imagine if the only place you had a copy of your family photographs from 20 years ago was on a floppy disk. Even if you’re diligent about backing up your digital files, technology changes, computers crash and things happen.

Your family photography session isn’t complete when I put my camera back in my bag after your session. It’s complete when your family photographs are hanging on the walls of your home in the perfectly designed wall gallery that we conceived to fit your wall space at your planning session.

It’s complete when you’re enjoying those photographs on your wall every single day.

So please, enjoy your digital files. Share them and have fun showing off your family online. But know that, more importantly, those photographs hanging on your wall are sharing with your children, no matter how old they are, the message that they are loved and adored. And that, above all, your family cherishes each other.

P.S. A special offer is going out to everyone on our VIP list tomorrow. If now is the time to commission a gallery wall for your home, enter your email below to make sure you’re on the list.



  1. I really hadn’t thought about this much until I recently photographed my husbands family (I have zero experience) and it didn’t feel right just sending off a flash drive… Where they might just sit without anyone enjoying them! So I printed a bunch for each family 😉 thanks for the post!

  2. I read this the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it since every time I look at the pictures around my house. They are largely of my son, and I need to balance that out some more. I have some photos I love from summer before last that I should print, and I think you’ve convinced me we need to do photos again this year. If you were closer, I’d be in touch.

  3. Totally agree on getting those digital vapors onto the walls and in books. What I also found is that my 3-year old loves our digital frame! I catch him many times a day just stopping what he’s doing and watching the pictures that are scrolling through … he’ll talk about what we did, or who is in the picture.

    Having the digital files in the digital frame is a happy compromise for us 🙂

  4. Well put. I have over 40k digital files of family photographs (professional and not) spanning 150 years… the only thing that serves is my peace of mind that I know those memories won’t be lost to catastrophe. We aren’t enjoying our legacy of today or yesterday. You’ve set a new goal for my 2015. Thank you for framing this thought (pun not intended, but still…) 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *