So often when photographers first start charging for their work they are so grateful for the opportunity to work that they undersell themselves and give clients huge digital galleries. The galleries get downloaded (or not) and then sit in a file on a computer somewhere. The images may be shared once or twice on social media and then forgotten again until the client books another session. Digital photography was a huge advancement in the easy fast creation of capturing images that anyone could get a point and shoot camera and snap to their heart’s content. The differences between the professional side of digital photography and the point and shoot world should include long hours of dedication and education. The rules of photography exist from the view point of the most pleasing parts to the human eye. Simple things like not cropping an image at a joint, if you don’t center your image make sure it is on the correct 3rd side of an image can make or break it. Often a lay person could look at an image and just know something is “off” and not know exactly why; it is typically because a rule was broken and poorly broken. The rules matter even more when an image is created into a print or a what could be a stunning piece of wall art. The frame and medium the image was printed on could be the highest quality available but if the orientation of the image is not correct it could look awful.
Over the last several years I have worked so hard to ensure each piece of wall art is created with the utmost care. I make sure that I have done what I need to on my end to view each detail of the image and then send it off to the labs I work so closely with, knowing they care about each piece just as much as I do. I have ordered samples from labs that came recommended by a few photographers but when I looked at the details, I could tell care and attention to detail that I care so much about wasn’t there. That’s when my quest to locate the best labs began.
Fine art photography is high end, luxury photography. Images are created in a classic and timeless way. From styling of clothes, makeup and hair down to the colors chosen give off a warm and graceful feel. My clients all value this style and know that each image within their gallery will be different and will consist of 15 images at most, sometimes just 5. Knowing this, when I went to the WPPI conference I intentionally sought out the print lab vendors that were there so I could see, touch, and even smell the fine leather that was used. The custom, hand made framed canvas shown in the image below shows the detail and care of each piece. From there, I partnered with just two labs that work closely with their photographers as they are not high volume but extremely high quality. My work looks it’s absolute best in tangible form; most notably bringing out the rich colors in canvas and fine art paper. The texture of these mediums pulls out the details and painterly feel of my work and allows my clients to have true art pieces on their walls. We take frame corners and place them next to the images I have displayed on my studio television to best design the piece. We take into account colors worn during the session and esthetic of their homes. Some clients love ornate gold frames and others are drawn more towards simple clean museum style wood frames.
By far my most commonly purchased items framed canvas with hand applied brush strokes and fine art prints in a folio box as shown below. Next has been my matted albums from Italy bound with eco friendly leather. Notice that none of those are digital images. My clients want social media files (low resolution not for print but highly sharpened web sized files) so they can show off their gorgeous families. They often contact me later for print gifts for relatives to share in the experience. They way of studio photography has changed over the years along with societal expectations. Fast, quick, need it now photography is not what I do. Care, precision, and quality is what I strive for in each session. Most of my clients schedule sessions around major events in their lives. Whether that be a new baby being born, a maternity session, or a generation session with children and grandchildren; each session has a specific purpose.