Like most of the human population, I have been following the organizational inspiration Marie Kondo, reading her book and watching her show that debuted recently on Netflix. While my own personal "tidying event" seems to be a continual work in progress (the struggle is real friends), I have to admit that it's helping me to get some parts of my life in order.
But what does this have to do with your photos? More importantly, what does this have to do with me helping you to tidy up and spark joy with your family memories? What have I learned that can help YOU to find joy in all of those digital images that you have buried on your hard drive?
For a while now I have been learning the hard way about the photography clutter in my own life. I will be the first to admit that when digital photography came along, I jumped right on that bandwagon and followed the trend of "I want ALL the digitals!!" We went for family photos, and I wanted the digitals! Many of the studios we used when my children were small only sold digitals if you bought prints first. I was so annoyed but I bought those prints and proudly brought home my CD with all the digitals from our session. Then I moved on to being my own photographer for my family, at a time when digitals were THE BOMB. I took the photos, shared them on social media, carefully backed them up to multiple CD's (don't ask how much time I spent on all that) and I even printed a few. I gave myself a pat on the back for having ALL the photos, ALL of them I tell ya!!
Look at those disks. So organized. Aren't they beautiful? Don't you want to just get out an old computer with a disk drive and put them in there one at a time and look at those photos from 2007? Whaaaat? No? Not appealing??
I realized recently that this beautiful, organized pile of all the work I had done for a decade now looks like something else to me. It looks like MORE WORK. It looks like a JOB. I have to take all of those photos off those CD's and somehow back them up to some other system (that may be obsolete too in a few years). I'm a little mad at myself. I mean, seriously, look at all of those disks. Do you have something like this lurking in the back of your mind? Like me, is there a little voice reminding you that you have to take care of this before you lose those memories to technology changes?
Let me throw in another little painful piece of information about these CD's. When my husband died, I made seven huge photo boards filled with photos from our life together. I did not print one photo from those CD's. There may be some really great shots on those disks. But I did not have the time or the inclination to pull them out and look through them. Even though they were organized, even though they were labeled and accessible on my living room shelf. I pulled snapshots out of Rubbermaid bins, cleared out old photo albums and scrounged through whatever I had on my current computer hard drive. (Photo credit to Lauren Allmond Photography) Yes, I wanted the pictures, but I wanted them to be accessible, not buried on some old hard drive or disk. I was thankful for all of those printed out photos.
But wait! How about some good news? Remember all those photo studios that "forced" me to buy the prints before they would give me digitals? Guess what I still have? Those prints that I was so annoyed about "having" to buy - they are right here for my viewing pleasure, any time I want to pick them up and take a look. My children can look back at these when they are old and grey and remember how they looked when they were little, they can show these to their children and grandchildren, no outdated technology involved:
Some of these were displayed for a little while, some of them weren't but when I want to look at them, all I have to do is take them out of the envelope. There they are. In my hands and not on an old computer. I only picked my absolute favorites so I don't need to throw any away. I am so thankful that I did all of that work when I ordered the photos all those years ago. In retrospect, it didn't take that long and it saved me from a lot of aggravation and clutter.
I've been really thinking about this for a while, wondering how to simplify things for my clients and make sure they have what they need to pass down to their families. I realized that it is a true disservice to my customers to just send them a download link and expect them to know how to turn these digital files into priceless family memories. While digital files may not take up physical space in your home, they create mental clutter and don't leave you with lasting memories. What could I do to remedy this? I started focusing more on my clients' needs and how to guarantee high quality photos they would love rather than just giving them another job disguised as a digital download. Guess what? They loved it. And they weren't the only ones interested in this new process.
I started showing the products that my new clients were choosing, and to my surprise, my prior clients were coming back and telling me they never printed their digital files. They needed help. They didn't have time to figure out the lab, figure out the sizing, go to the framer, or find the best place to buy a canvas or album. They WANTED the new products I was offering but had no idea how to make it happen. I can attest to the fact that it does take time to find the best products, try them out, weed through the cheap stuff and pick out the best way to display these memories. But I love doing it. I've put in the time to find amazing products and I love helping my clients weed through all those digitals and pick out the best ones. And even if they only pick out two or three favorites, I love knowing that their photos will last, maybe for generations. Kind of like this beauty right here that has stood the test of time:
Going forward, I'm happy to announce that rather than just leaving you in the lurch with a hard drive full of digital files that don't spark joy, files that will just be more work for you down the line, I will be encouraging all of my clients to come in and pick out the photos they love at a personalized ordering appointment. We can relax over some tea, look over your photos, talk about what you want to do with them and come up with a plan to order whatever you need. And yes, I'll still be providing digital copies, but only if that is truly the best option for you.
If you are sitting on a pile of digital images from a previous session and you are tired of waiting for that magical moment when you'll actually have time to get everything printed, I am ready to help with that as well! For all of my past clients, I'll be happy to meet with you to talk about wholesale pricing for any digital files that are languishing on your computer hard drive. Let me help you look over your space, pick out your products and get your items ordered, all in one quick visit. You already own the images, now let's print them!
If this is something you'd like to try, get in touch! Schedule your consultation or ordering appointment for March and mention this blog post to get an extra 20% off my already low wholesale prices*. Let's work together to Konmari your photography experience and simplify your life.
I'm going to come back tomorrow to talk about why ordering from a professional lab makes a difference and show you some of the amazing products and services that we offer. Here's a hint about that - look at the photo above - it was taken at the Tichenor Studio in Burlington, that closed in 1885. Do the math - that means that photo is over 130 years old. How does it look to you? I have a little compare and contrast to share with you that I know you'll want to see and I'm a history geek so I can't wait. Stay tuned!!
*20% off applies to previously purchased digital file wholesale print orders only