One of the first questions I ask my clients is “how do you want to enjoy and display your images”? The answer I usually get is a long pause.
I find that most folks know why they want their portraits made (to celebrate a milestone, to capture memories or simply to freeze time because they SWEAR that 8 year old was a newborn only last week). They might spend a lot of time thinking about where to do the session, what time of year and what to wear.
What most people don’t think about is the end-use of their images, but, to my mind, this is the most important part.
This is the first installment in a blog series that will discuss why prints are so important, how you can best display your professional family portraits and how you can organize and enjoy the family photographs you take on your own.
If you think about it, the process of making a photograph is really only its birth. After your image has been delivered by your photographer (pun intended) it begins to live it’s life (in the case of a photographic print that life could span a couple hundred years). Now, let’s talk about how to bring that baby home with you.
It’s 6pm, do you know where your family photographs are?
Let’s face the cold hard truth… if you can’t see and enjoy your family photographs on a daily basis those photographs don’t exist in a meaningful way.
That image you shared on Facebook last week? It’s buried under a political rant never to be looked at again. The 46 photographs you took of your son on the swings yesterday? Ahhhh, safe on the cloud. It’s a pretty big cloud… isn’t it? If you wanted to pull up an image of your son at that same park when he was 18 months old would you be able to find it? Would you even remember that you took it? Probably not.
And what about the images from your last portrait session? If they are buried on a USB in the bottom of your desk drawer, well, what was the point?
Now, I don’t want to give digital files a bad rap. They are part of our world and they make some things (like sharing photographs online) infinitely easier.
I use them and I deliver them to clients.
The point is, though, that they can’t ever replace prints. That’s why my most popular collections include printed products.
My work is finished when you can hold your images in your hand, hang them on a wall or leaf through them with your kids.
What’s the BEST way to enjoy your images in print?
That’s a truly personal question and one I work through with each of my clients.
But, to start, let’s discuss one great way to live with your images: the album.
An album is one of my favorite ways to deliver a family session, and here’s why:
It tells a story.
In an album you have the space to include all those wonderful detail shots and in-between moments from your session.
It’s easy to share.
Leave one out in your living room and every friend who comes over will leaf through it. There’s something special about sharing your family photographs with someone while you’re sitting next to them turning the pages, rather than posting them online and walking away.
Your kids will love it.
I’ve seen it time and again with my own children and with my client’s children: kids are enthralled with albums. It makes sense – an album is a book that tells a story all about them and the love they share with their family. A family album says “we belong together and that’s worth documenting”.
It might just change the way you see your family.
Undoubtedly, years down the road you’ll love looking through your album and getting lost in the memories. But, until then, consider that you might just need the tonic of last month’s family memories…
“Last night, when our house was beyond wild with bedtime routines, I brought our album out. I stopped in my tracks. I needed to be reminded in that moment how precious these days are with my husband & our little ones, how joyful and adventurous they can be. I’m ever grateful to you for seeing the beauty in us. I know, now, where I can look when I need to remember”. -Alysa, Los Angeles
It will last a lifetime (and then some).
I have some of my grandmother’s albums and I take them off the shelf every few months. I love having those images – of me as a baby, my mother at my age – at my fingertips.
The images here are of the albums I offer to my clients. They’re made in the USA, feature high-quality photographic paper, lay-flat pages and a ton of cover options. The best part? They’ll look just as gorgeous when your great-grandchildren are looking through them in their space-condos.
The Photo Book
A high-quality, photographic album is a great choice for your session images. The photo book is the answer for the pictures you snap yourself the other 364 days of the year.
These days, there are endless options out there for making your own photo books. You can even order books from your Instagram feed.
The important thing is to do something.
Personally, we use Blurb Books in our house. The website is easy, they often have discounts going and the quality has been great.
Make no mistake, the image quality on a press-printed book isn’t going to blow you away, but hopefully the content will.
The way you organize your images into books is up to you, and the possibilities are limitless. You can create books for each child, around certain events or trips or, as we do, create a yearly album.
For the last ten years I’ve made a “Year in Review” photo book each year. Every February (or sometimes, if I’m honest, June) I sit down and spend 2 or 3 days swearing at my computer. As you can imagine, I take a lot of photographs, so the process is arduous. If you don’t take 6,000 photos a year I expect it will be much easier.
Even the torture that I go through is worth it. My kids love those books. I mean LOVE.
When my daughter was a toddler she woke up painfully early and every morning she asked to look through the books that featured her.
Despite the early hour I have warm memories of those pre-dawn moments spent cuddled on the couch looking through the photographs, starting the day with a sweet reminder that we were just where we belonged.
Now that my kids are 7 and nearly 4 they will pull them off the shelf and look through them together.
It’s a pretty cute scene and almost makes me forget that they were arguing ten minutes ago.
Interested in a session for your family?