Friday, January 2, 2009

Wedding Photographer Tampa: What to buy part 2

In the first installment of this series I talked about the proof book and why it's a great place to start when spending your wedding photography budget (For more Tampa wedding photography, please visit my Tampa wedding photography website.) This time let's talk about the hi-res CD.

Now, if you've read many posts on this blog you know that I have a love/hate relationship with the Hi-res CD when it comes to weddings. Basically, I love that you can buy digital copies of all your images to keep forever but I hate that so many people are getting inferior prints because they are not properly educated by their wedding photographer. Buy the CD (in many cases it is included) because you never know what the future may hold (someday you may be able to get a hologram made of your whole wedding, who knows?). But, if you want some prints to display, frame, enlarge, etc.... have your photographer print them.

There are three kinds of wedding photographers in Tampa Bay:

Shoot and Burn: These are the ones that photograph your wedding and hand you a CD of the images. Most will do some simple color correction and exposure correction to the files but some don't. Either way the retouching is minimal because there are 400 pictures on the disk and no one has time to retouch that many pictures. A basic retouch takes 5 minutes per image. That's 33 hours! Sorry, they run a couple of batch programs, burn the disk and move on to the next client, leaving you with sub-par pictures being printed by the kid at Wal-Mart.

Shoot, Burn and Upload: These photographers burn a disc for you and also upload your images to a service like "Pictage" so that you can order online. This is a little better than the first group because at least a pro lab is printing your pictures. Still, the same time rule applies: How much time do you think your wedding photographer spends individually retouching 300-400 pictures?

Shoot, Burn, Upload, Retouch and Print: Now we're talking! This is me (and many other Tampa wedding photographers). This is the group that burns a CD for you and uploads your images to a private gallery so that you can purchase them online but, and this is all the difference in the world, they hand-retouch every image that is ordered. These photographers are not happy to just hand off a CD. These wedding photographers take such pride in their work that they do not want a single print to be made that hasn't been personally touched and perfected by them. These are the photographers you want photographing your Tampa Bay Wedding.

So, by all means buy the CD and lock it away for safe-keeping. Take it down to the drugstore and get 300 4x6 prints made or 50 wallets to send to your friends and family. But, if you want a print to sit on your nightstand for the next 20 years or a canvas gallery wrap to hang in the living room, have your wedding photographer retouch and print it.

(Note: I searched through all my wedding pictures for an example I could post here. I wanted to show a picture as it would appear on a CD and then show the same picture as it would appear if I were to retouch and print it. Every picture I've ever printed from every wedding I've ever photographed in Tampa has been retouched by me personally so it's easy to find examples but I can't post them here. I just can't do it. I can't post a picture of one of my clients looking anything less than the very best she can, even to make a point. I'll gladly show before/after examples during a consultation but not here for the world to see. Sorry.)