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Creating an Image That's Fit to Print - PPA Today

Creating an Image That's Fit to Print

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By Chris Brennaman

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It's not an understatement to say that digital photography has fundamentally changed our industry. Not only can we snap hundreds of images without ever having to stop to change a roll of film but we also have what seems like an infinite amount of storage.

But there's just one problem with that: instead of handing a client a physical framed print or a quality album, we hand over a CD or USB flash drive and call it a day.

The general public may not understand-and some photographers for that matter- but most successful and profitable professionals absolutely do! Rather than existing in some digital ether, print photographs give memories a sense of permanence. So if you're looking to create images that are worthy of printing and selling to your clients to cherish forever, then keep these things in mind!

Plan Your Image With the Finished Product In Mind
Once upon a time, it wasn't enough to just snap away and hope to find an image in the mix that was "good enough." Rather, a photographer had to plan his or her vision.

Think about where the photo will hang and what emotions you'll want it to trigger with your work. Think about how your subjects will be framed. Think about lighting and how it will contribute¬ to- or detract from¬- your image. Think about all the things that will work in tandem to make your image one worth printing and putting on display.

Then start creating with that finished product in mind!

DO Sweat the Technique
About craft, about use of equipment, about product choices, about finishing or presentation touches- sweat the technique about everything! It's easy to forget about the latter, but it makes the biggest difference. Know what distinguishes each product and how they contribute to making the experience of having hired you one that's worth their while and then some.

Technology changes, but best techniques never go out of style. 

Be Picky About Your Images as Much as About Your Brand
After you've finished capturing your image, it's time to choose the one that will have the honor of being printed. Only then pick the ones that you're sure you'll be happy your client might select and showcase in print! 

Why be so picky? Because the images you choose to show your client will be the ones that speak for you and your business. "Image is everything" isn't just a saying; it's a fact. Bottom line: never present images you do not want to reflect as your brand...because any visible image of yours will contribute to building your personal and business' image.

Appearance Drives Everything 
Your session is over. You and your client have picked the very best photos. Now it's time to produce the final product, right? Well, no, not yet. Now it's time to take into account how you want this image presented.

It's easy to neglect this part of the process, and too often photographers go for a one-size-fits-all approach to printing. But every image is different and needs to be printed as such. 

Remember how we said image is everything? Well, that isn't limited to just the print. It relates to the total experience you provide your clients, too. Every detail, from largest to smallest, will go towards meeting and exceeding expectations and creating an experience that justifies your prices. 

Here are some examples of things you might not always think about as areas of opportunity to enhance the experience you provide but that you might want to consider :
What size print would best suit the image?
What paper stock is most appropriate?
What frame will best accentuate the image?
How will the image be lit?
If shipped, how will your packaging contribute to a reveal that delights the client?
If hand-delivered, how will you deliver the product and how will the reveal take place to delight the client?

Show Your Clients That Prints Are Relevant
Technology has made a lot of consumers think that prints are a thing of the past. Sure, they share their photos to sites like Facebook and Instagram, but beyond that, photos are often forgotten. They're left to sit on hard drives and CDs tucked away in some drawer that's never opened.

And when that happens it's like losing the memory itself. Having a physical print creates a tangible connection to one special moment in time. How many of us have been overcome with waves of nostalgia from holding a print? How many of us have felt like we've been pulled back in time just by being able to physically interact with a print? We all have. 

Happiness, love, comfort, fellowship, even sadness- prints make us feel. Those feelings are contagious. Show prints and have existing clients talk about how important prints are to them. So much of what you do is about connecting with people and bringing them something special. Do it in PRINT.

As a professional photographer, you understand just how important prints are. It's time you make your clients understand it too. It's easier than you think. Join the PRINT movement and learn more about pricing, selling and the many other benefits of prints so you too can become a Print Artist.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on November 15, 2017 12:00 PM.

FREE Webinar Tomorrow! How to Be an Unforgettable Brand was the previous entry in this blog.

Enhance Your Skills with the Technique Track at Imaging USA 2018 is the next entry in this blog.

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