Why do I not include digital negatives or downloads for free without the purchase of an album? I fully understand why you may be wondering this question. Please read on for an explanation.
When I set up my business model, I set it up thinking as a bride. I know how expensive weddings are, I do. I have been with my sister from the beginning of her catering career and watched her struggle with the fine line of trying to keep things reasonable while also being able to support and grow her business. I have been in many many weddings, heard many friends stress about the cost of the wedding day. So I have strived to keep my pricing at a place where I am able to support myself while also investing in my company with continuous education, upgrading equipment, etc. At the same time still giving the most that I can. One of the ways I was doing that was by including all of the digital files with the wedding package. I felt, and still feel, that they are your images, and you deserve to see them, and have them. But what I had come to realize is that I am not the bride. Our relationship does not need two people who are looking for information and answers and guidance. I am not the bride, I am the professional, and business owner. You are the bride and you are putting your faith and confidence and trust in me, not just to show up and take photos and then post them on Facebook, but to create your legacy. It is my responsibility to make sure this investment you are making for the biggest day of your life continues to bring you joy well after the day is over and years have gone by. And how I honestly feel is that digital files are not going to do that for you. Even a USB drive, while a convenient way to share your photos and a more secure way to store them, is not going to be a way to see your photos in a few years. Take for example the fact that neither of my computers even have a CD/DVD drive. I also realized that as someone with access to professional printing labs and the knowledge of how to print any of my photos from my computer, I still don't as much as I should. I realized that albums are not being made, prints are not being made. Memories will not be there sitting on a coffee table in 50 years. And that made me feel like a slight disappointment, which is the last way I would want to feel with you.
It is a scary thought that our children may be the first generation of children as a whole with no photo albums of their parents wedding day to hold in their hands. They won't look at it on your 25th wedding anniversary and laugh at aunts or uncles or study grandparents they may have never met before. To quote photographer Tyler Wirken:
"I don't take your wedding photos for you, I take them for people who don't exist yet."
That is some powerful stuff.
And so I understand, and want you to understand, the importance of having a wedding album. I do offer a 10% album discount to couples who pre-buy an album when they book a wedding, or I offer digital files for sale. I offer the files for sale because to put a price on them is to give them value. And they are priced very closely to the price of the most inexpensive album in hopes you would choose to purchase an album. I also had an issue with this "at time of booking" concept, it felt a little sales-y but it is not to push a sale. It is only to rid the option of procrastination. (As not only a member but also the president of Procrastinators Anonymous ;) ) I feel this is most successful in ensuring that in a couple years you will still look at your wedding album and smile, thinking you are so glad you to have it.
So here is a pretty honest look at how I am striving to be a better photographer for you. Life is a whole learning curve and I am ok with letting people know that I will always want to do things better for them.
As far as the album company I use, Red Tree Albums, I love this company. I have seen the people who run the company, met them, shook their hands. They make a beautiful product, and they guarantee their products for life. I know it is an investment, but trust me it is a priceless one.
Below are some examples of these gorgeous works of art.