How much should a digital photos cost?

Printed photographs

What determines the perceived value on digital photos?

Are you being overcharged for your digital photos? We live in the digital world of photography where more and more people have access to digital cameras, so it’s fair to ask this question. Let’s take a look.

The perceived value of digitals has been diminished to the general public due to the accessibility of digital cameras, including cell phones. From the general public’s perspective, it may seem easy to take a photo these days because if you don’t like the first one, you can take 5 more until you are happy with the results. You no longer need to develop film to see if it was a good photo or not. So, you may think that because the photos are not printed on paper, the costs are less, but is this so?

I’m sure you’ll agree that a professional photographer is able to take better photos because she has an eye for it, she has qualified equipment, and because she is an outside person who is using her creativity to capture you or your family at your best. 

Another aspect that has diminished the value of digital photos is the fact that the internet is now inundated with good digital photos. We are saturated with professional photography on a daily basis. However, people fail to see the work behind creating digital photos. Aside from the creative aspects of capturing the photo, we have to understand that there are technical skills and post-processing labor involved in producing images.  Before photos were revealed on paper at a lab. Today we manipulate photos on a computer. Either way, both processes require time and expertise.

Our world has become very demanding of quality images, and that alone raises the value on said photos. Let’s dig in deeper, be sure to check out my facebook page for more recent updates and behind the scenes work! 

Houston Maternity Session

What determines the value of a digital image?

The photographer’s technical expertise on taking a photograph is certainly a determining factor on the value of your photo. I’m sure you didn’t go to your uncle for a photo because you know he’s terrible at it! So you have come to a professional who knows about exposure, composition, posing techniques, and angles that will flatter you. Your expectations are obviously higher from a photographer who calls himself a professional than your family member who owns an expensive camera. 

The amount of time spent on your digital photo also determines the value of your digital photo. Although you may only have physical contact with your photographer during your phone or in person consultation, the day of the session, and on the day of the reveal, your photographer spends more time then you would think editing your photos.  

As a matter of fact, their editing style might have been something that appealed to you. Certainly you expect the same results for your own photo session as what you’ve seen in their portfolio. However, you may not know how much time it takes to get it just right for every photo.

Most photographers spend most of their time editing. So what is perceived as a 1 hour photo session, is really a 10-12 hour job. Some things we addressed during editing are skin corrections, color correction, exposure, editing out things that are distracting to the eye, and some photographers do other extensive editing on their photos to give them their unique touch. In my case, I want to ensure your photos print correctly. How many times have you printed on your own at the grocery store and the images just don’t look like they did on your screen?

The experience you receive by your professional photographer is also part of the cost of every digital photo. For instance, I help you choose your wardrobe according to your home’s decor and style. I also talk to you about where in your home you would place the photo, which helps us determine the size and orientation of the photos we’ll be taking. I do a complimentary design of a photo book just in case you may want one once you see all your beautiful images. For some sessions, such as boudoir, I hire a professional make up artist who will make you feel pampered and even more beautiful. For maternity, I make you a complimentary flower crown to compliment your wardrobe.

Ultimately, my goal is for you to feel like you are coming into your photo session with an end result in mind and that your expectations are fulfilled. The end result in my studio is printing, making sure the colors and exposure look good. I have partnered with labs that only work with professionals because they have the best technology, papers, and finishes that will guarantee your photo will outlive us both.  

All of what I just described takes time to get just right for you to have the best experience and results! 

Fotografo en Houston

Well, but what if I don’t want you to print my photos, doesn’t this make my digitals less expensive?

The answer is no. You are not saving me work by choosing digitals. You are still choosing the base of my product line when you choose to go only digital. It can be compared to the recipe for your favorite dish at a gourmet restaurant. I’m pretty sure you would never ask for the recipe and instead you would just enjoy the meal and come back for repeats when you felt like it. In addition, I am pretty sure they would want a pretty penny for selling you their recipe and would not give it away for nothing because once they give it to you, you could potentially start your own business reproducing that recipe. Well, it’s a similar situation with me as a photographer!  

Many people believe that because a photo is not printed, the photographer should charge less. Well, it is actually all the contrary. You are paying me for my expertise, my time, and the experience and all of that is contained in each digital photo; it’s my recipe. Before, this recipe used to be contained in negatives. Photographers didn’t go around selling negatives, they sold printed photos. Today, the recipe is contained in digital data. We can sell printed or digital photos; for the price that’s sustainable for their business model.

The printed photo, my friend, is complimentary and is what I guarantee you and your family will appreciate the most over the years. Paper is more likely to be here than a digital file. One example is that the digital world keeps changing; it used to be we stored digital photos on CD’s and now computers don’t even have CD readers. Just as we remember the Egyptians through hieroglyphs, we remember our loved ones through printed photography. I say this because people still come to me for prints for funerals (it sounds rough, but it’s true). Imagine if earlier tribes had never written or drawn on rock, what would we have to see today? Nothing. Paper  and tangible objects have proven to be a reliable means of preserving data, art, and memories; you can go to any museum or archive and see it for yourself.

Printed photographs

“Oh, My Precious!” Digital Photo

Hopefully, by now, you understand why digital photos hold their value. Mainly because it takes me hours to produce them, but also think about this: once you have a digital photo, you have unlimited access to printing wherever you like however many times you’d like! You can also share it with your family and friends and they can print it without my help. If you take really good care of it, the photo can survive generations in your family. So, why would I give it to you for pennies? It wouldn’t be a good business practice if I did. 

You read all of this blog to be told that there is no gimmick behind the business of selling photos! Once I let go of that digital photo, I lose all chances to make any other profit. Each individual photographer will determine how much he or she needs to make out of each individual digital photo to pay their bills and continue to run their business. Let me repeat, just as any other successful business, a professional photographer is out there trading their expertise and services in exchange for money to make a living, simple as that.

the price of digital photos

You say you want “My Precious,” but will you ever print it?

Sadly, most of you want the “precious” digital photo, but hardly any of you will set it free by printing it! Posting it on your social media is not doing your family’s legacy any justice. Let’s be honest, how many times do you sit with your children and grandchildren and scroll through your screens to view thousands of photos remembering your moments together? ‘Me’, said no one ever. Most photos today live contained in USB drives, social media, and a cloud. Note that some of these storage services are not free either and counting on a third party to store your photos, well….that’s your choice if you trust them that way.

Additionally, our reality is that with cell phones, we now take thousands of photos a year and hardly any make it to print. One reason being that people feel overwhelmed with so many to choose from. Another reason is they don’t know where to print and when they do they are disappointed in the outcome.

When you hire me as a professional photographer, it’s because you’ve decided you want to invest in a professional experience. At this point in time, photography is all about the quality and not the quantity. So part of the service you are paying me for is having the photos printed for you from 30 proofs or less. Less is more when it comes to photos because, remember, you are inundated with photos to begin with and that’s why you don’t print them. 

I’ll save you the stress of finding a lab who will do a good job printing. I’ll be saving you the headache of choosing which ones to print and what size so they look good in your home, and I’ll ensure that it will be a high quality print that will not lose its color or warp over time. Best of all, I’ll be helping you preserve  your family legacy and motivating you to sit with your family around a table to look at past fun memories together!

That’s it guys!

I hope you got some good insights as to why a digital photo costs more than a print. I hope you also see printed portraits continue to hold its value because it’s more personal and remains constant over time.  

Ultimately, you decide where you want to spend your dollars, but I only ask that you please be mindful of creative professionals and business owners. We earn our dollars just as hard as you do.

I’m very passionate about creating and printing your photographs, so if you’d like to inquire about your own photo session, fill out the contact sheet on my website and I’ll be in touch soon!


Written from the heart,


printing your digital photos

My great-great-great grandparents. A priceless peak into my past preserved on good’old paper.