So you just had an epic photoshoot with an amazing photographer! You're feeling on top of the world, beautiful, badass, all the things. Then you see the images and oh my god are they breathtaking! Worth. Every. Penny. You know you want the digitals, but you're not sure if you should print them yourself or have your photographer print them for you. Ordering prints from you photographer seems can have them printed at Walmart or Costco for just a few dollars each, maybe even just a couple cents each. That definitely seems more economical. And you did just spend hundreds on the photoshoot itself and the digitals...what do you do?

I will always advocate for my clients going through me for my prints. There are a ton of benefits to having your photographer use their printing lab for your images versus an economy printing service like Walmart. However, I do also know that professional prints and wall art can run up the cost of your session pretty quickly and not everyone has that in their budget. So here are some reasons you may choose professional over economy or vice versa.


This is typically the main argument I have for going the professional printing route. The quality of your prints will far and wide exceed the prints from an economy service. Personally, all of my prints are fine art, archival quality. That means they are printed on the highest quality paper or matboard using dye-based inks that are resistant to fading, give deep, rich colors, and don't bleed into each other. My prints are also treated with UV protection to prevent fading so that they will stand the test of time. If you are planning on displaying your prints in a frame on the wall (another service I provide to my clients), you're going to want a high-quality print that isn't going to fade or deteriorate over time from moisture in the air.

For my wall art products, I offer professional custom matting and if it is behind glass, the glass is treated with UV protection as well.


I can only speak for my services on this one, but I also help them to design their albums and wall art installations using my professional and creative eye. I know what images will look best together based on color, composition, feel, etc. I know how to balance images so that the installation doesn't look too heavy on any edge. I can design an album or wall art installation that tells a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. I know how to organize images to lead the eye through them to give the viewer the best overall impression.

This is so important for storytelling sessions like Birth, Fresh 48, or any lifestyle sessions.


You're busy. We all are. Do you really have the time (or energy) to pick, print, frame, and hang your own photos? Do you want to spend hours on a Saturday measuring and hanging photos? My guess is no. So let your photographer do it for you! This is literally their job. Let them take the measurements, design the installation, prep the files, send them to the printers, approve the proofs, pick up the prints, have them matted and framed, delivered to you, and hung in your home.

This is a service I provide to all of my clients who order wall art from me at no extra charge to them. It's just part of my white glove service guarantee. I'll do all the hard work; you just sit back and enjoy your photos.

An image of two photography prints of a little boy sitting on a rock side by side to compare quality.

Color Matching

Typically, when using a professional printing lab, the photographer will work with the lab to do what is called "color matching." This means that they calibrate the file that they use to print from as closely as possible to the image that was shown to you. They use a very high-resolution file to do so and your image will come out exactly as you see it on the computer screen. When you print directly from a lower resolution image with no color correction, all sorts of funky things can happen during printing that skews the colors and contrast and sharpness of your image once it is printed. I've seen it where someone has an image printed from an economy service and the shadows came out so dark on the print that you couldn't even see their eyes in the photo.

Professional Prep Work

When you go through your photographer for your prints, there is more work for them before they send your images to the printers. They go through your images to format and size them correctly for printing, they crop them correctly for the size you're having printed, and they go through with a fine-tooth comb in photoshop to fix any imperfections that they haven't already edited out.

Especially if you are wanting an extra-large print, let's say something like 18x24 or 20x30, things like stray hairs or a tiny pimple on your chin that aren't visible on a 5x7 suddenly become glaringly obvious blown up to that size. You'll also need the original size file to print at this size and have it come out in beautiful crisp, clarity. I know for a fact that most photographers shrink their digital files down when they deliver them to clients so that they don't take up a MASSIVE amount of space in your phone or computer at home.


Hear me out. I already know that you're confused on how getting the professional prints is more cost effective than printing them on your own. Now, not all photographers price their prints this way, but for me, it's not cheaper to go the digital route. When you buy the digitals alone, they're more expensive per individual image than if you buy a print with the digital file to match for reproduction. So, you get a gorgeous, framed piece of artwork to display in your home AND the digital file for that image that you can print on your own for less than if you just purchased the digital file? It's a no brainer.

An image of two photography prints of a father and son walking away from the camera side by side to compare quality.

To Tell Your Story

You just spent all this money on a professional photographer to take these images for you. You picked out the perfect location, worked with your photographer to design the perfect wardrobe, listened to them when they were posing you, even when it felt awkward. You planned this shoot weeks, maybe months, in advance and possibly even took off work to attend. Why did you do this? Because these images matter to you. They're obviously important to you otherwise why would you put all that time, effort, and (let's be real) money into having them taken? It would honestly be a great disservice to you and to the images to have them printed on anything less than fine-art quality. When people see these pictures displayed in your home, you want them to stop them in their tracks. You want them to be speachless. That just simply can't be achieved with economy prints.


This one doesn't apply to my clients, but it may apply to others so I thought I'd throw it in here anyway. Did you know, it's actually illegal to print professional photos without a print release? If you don't have a print release and you print your photos and your photographer finds out, they can actually sue you. Yes. I'm serious. Some printing companies will ask for the print release, I believe Mike's Camera does and a few others, but other places like Walmart, Costco, Shutterfly, Snap-fish, etc. definitely do not. Still, you can get in trouble if your photographer hasn't authorized you to print their work.

I always give my clients a print release for their digital files, but not everyone does. So if you want to print your photos yourself, make sure you obtain a print release from your photographer first. If they don't include this with their digitals, you may have to pay an additional fee.

The takeaway? Sure, you absolutely can print your own photos (granted you have the print release). This might be the better option for you if you're printing the same image multiple times (like if you're giving copies to family), if you're printing small (8x10 or smaller), if you know how to calibrate an image for printing, or if you're keeping your images in a photo album where they won't get much exposure to light or moisture. But for all other instances, I'd highly recommend going through your photographer.

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