Why I deliver digital files to my customers?

Today I have found some of my very own writing that got lost for some reason... I just stumbled across this reasoning of my own from some 2 years ago...  Well, not much has changed in my own attitude during this time, I would say. Was a little offline in terms of reading about these topics lately, so not sure if fellow photographers are just as scared of giving away digital copies of their photos or not so much any more.

Question to photographers: do you deliver digital files?
Question to clients: do you expect to receive digital photos from your photographer?

Here is the whole text from early 2013 or maybe late 2012:

This talk about how one should get payed for prints and never ever deliver digital files has been on ever since the digital format became used by the professional photographers. If one reads through some professional forum discussions, it might even seem down right rude to deliver high resolution digital files to the customers. So, why do I deliver the jpegs to my customers? The short answer is easy- because they are worth it.

During the pre-shoot time, we do decide on what needs to be delivered. The number of photographs is one of the items on the list of things to deliver. There might be prints or books or what ever else my client could request. So now my client is expecting me to deliver 10 (or 20 or 30 or 60 etc) photographs out of this baby (or portrait or family) session we are doing.

I get to the client home or other location of choice and we work on the photos. Usually I end up with 300-500 shots. Brilliant keepers, good photos, nice photos, bad stuff, eyes closed, out of focus, flash did not fire stuff. I go home with all that and filter out the wasted shots. That means all photos that are out of focus or otherwise technically destroyed are removed. So we are down to 70%-80% of what was shot.

Now these 'approved-by-me' couple of hundred shots get  the basic treatment in Bibble and afterwards are exported to small resolution jpegs and uploaded for proofing to PixyLike where the client picks his or her favorite shots. Here they choose their favorite 10 or 20 or how ever many photographs was decided upon and I get a mail listing out the files I need to work on.

It is easy and fail-safe for my client. Every click, every choice is saved automatically. They can return to making their choice for a month on their own schedule. I should mention that since I started with PixyLike, the choice is made much much faster and not one client had wasted a whole month on proofing which used to happen before. Plus clients do enjoy seeing the photos so quickly after the shoot!

It is also making my life much easier too. Now I have to finalize only 20 or 30 images on average. There is no need for me to work on hundreds of shots that will be thrown away. Instead, I use the time to go into more details on the photographs I will deliver or go play with my daughters instead.

In the end my client gets the high resolution files plus another set of images which are sized for Facebook or Google + or just plain old email sharing. There might be another copy in black and white of those two. I always recommend a place for them to print their photos and then it is up to them how many they print and to how many grandparents, uncles or aunts they send the photos to. I get payed to make the photographs, but, in my opinion, the outcome partially belongs to the family as long as it is their personal use. Therefore I do not think it is a fair game to charge families for the number of reproductions delivered to their family and friends (note, I am not talking about corporate and their marketing campaigns etc).

I say digital rules, sharing rules. And if my clients want to share their baby/family/wedding photos- they deserve it and are welcome to. If they want to print so many copies as to wallpaper their living room- they are more than welcome. If they feel I deserve to get the credit, they will make sure I do, there is no need for me to destroy their photos with watermarks. That is why I deliver digital files to my customers.

Enjoy shooting ;)

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