Many things can be said about the pros and cons of digital photography. Those pros and cons have been re-hashed over and over. It might just be time to live with the fact of these pros and cons and then adjust accordingly. Being in the business of studio supplies for over 25 years I can tell you some subtle things photographers need to adjust for.
1. The loss of presentation. The “wow” factor is lost. The final reveal of the photo presented in a professionally manner with the professional on site is mostly gone. Now we have online proofing sites.
Photographers loses the ability to impress upon the client their professionalism with a thoughtful final presentation; that picture they can hold and run their hands over. This presentation is the final chance for the photographer to show their commitment to the quality of the service they offer in a tangible way. It is that something extra.
2. Photographers no longer see the initial reaction. Photographers no longer have the ability, with those same online proofing sights, to see and hear the initial reaction.
This causes several problems. You no longer area able to refer back to how others have reacted to our photos in that first initial gut reaction. Instead we get the secondary “We love the pictures”. This is not nearly as effective as the client who excitedly screams out “Oh My!” or “Awe” when speaking on how other clients reacted to you pictures.
3. Controlling how your work looks. Your work is found through word of mouth or through the internet. The pictures speak for themselves. You are at the mercy of how those pictures look on someone else computer screen.
The print simply looks better than a monitor. This could hurt the photographer. Let’s face it we have all been there looking at our photos on a monitor that is improperly calibrated or worse yet dirty. Photographers have an eye for that. The common client does not.
4. A print to hand to your client. Pictures are meant to be held. They are meant to be printed. Some are meant to be special. Yet in the digital age we treat them all the same. They go into the digital wasteland. Now instead of one place in the house to look for them we have hard drives, Flickr, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and who knows how many other sites.
This means no more sitting around albums looking at family pictures. It means passing around phones and looking at cold websites. It also means that the pictures of the family pets are treated the same as that cherished wedding day.
5. In part the core service is lost. Photographers should be reminding clients about this part of our service. Many photographers stopped doing just that. Instead of getting innovative many conformed. Worse yet many of the “new generation” does not even understand paper. Paper is the basis of the print. The consumer might understand archival or they may just go to Walgreen’s. Now the prints you do have floating around are not truly reflective of your work.