I Believe…

I Believe…

Intro by Skip Cohen

Four years ago Michele Celentano published “I Believe.” Not only did she share it with an industry plagued by consumers who don’t understand the importance of printed photographs, but she gave everybody the authority to plagiarize what she wrote.

So, here it is, a great piece to copy and share with your clients. Yes, we live in the digital age and everybody wants images for their Facebook page, but that shouldn’t be the extent of the support you give each client. It’s a disservice to not educate your clients about the importance of printed images.

There’s no reason for me to write anything else – Michele says it best!


I believe in photography – but more than that I believe in photographs.  Printed photographs are tangible. We can hold on to them, pass them around, frame them and hang them on a wall.  We can make albums to be treasured and looked through by children for years to come.

We can’t touch a file and the truth is we don’t know the longevity of a file or if we will even be able to find it someday.  A digital file is a bit of a mystery – if it’s lost, where did it go?  If a drive is damaged what happens to the files?  How many people truly back up all their images?

What happened to disc cameras, eight-track tapes, Walkman’s and other technology we thought would last forever?  What will our children be looking at in 20 or 30 years?

Photographs are special – files are not!

I believe in printing my work professionally. I believe my work is more than a screen saver.  Years of studying and perfecting my craft comes down to more than sending files via the internet.

The photographs I create for my clients are not only precious to my clients but they are precious to me.  It is my work, a lifetime of work that deserves to be printed.  Photographs are passed on to children and grandchildren.  Can you imagine a floppy disk, a DVD or a flash drive sitting in a frame representing your family portraits?

Like many photographers, I have struggled with bending to the needs or wants of a clientele that is looking for files.  But this is what I discovered over the last year – It makes me uncomfortable in the center of my gut to hand over digital files no matter the price.  Clients have told me that the DVD is still sitting on a desk and they should have had me make the prints in the first place because they never have time to get to it.

I wonder about those files that were sold…. How were they printed?  Did the client crop it too tight?  Is the color correct?  Did they attempt to alter the image?  It troubles me because I put so much of myself into my work.  And, I have to wonder… am I really acting as a professional and serving my client the best way I know how to by simply selling intangible files that may never be printed?

For some, it’s easy…. take some photos, edit them, burn them on a disk or flash drive and make a few bucks.  I don’t and can’t operate that way – I care too much about my work, my clients and future generations that might have no photographs because I wanted to make fast and easy money selling files.

I’m taking a stand!  I am a photographer! I am without a doubt passionate about creating photographs – real pictures – printed on professional papers – and made into beautiful albums.  I want your children, their children, my children and future grandchildren looking at and holding onto photographs, not the latest greatest gadget.

It has taken deep soul searching, a lot of thought and time to define the value of my work. I am taking a stand against selling files and taking a strong stand for printing my photographs.

If being a business owner and photographer today means the current market will force me to sell files not photographs and to compromise my work and my values – well then, I’m out.

But, that won’t happen!  I know it won’t because I know there are people and clients who value my work, understand and respect the value I have placed on my work and actually want photographs.

I am Michele Celentano, a professional photographer – I believe in and value photography and the images we leave for our children.  My work and your portraits will be professionally printed to my standards, they will be available to frame and look at in albums… The portraits I create for you will not become a part of your screen saver slide show. I have worked too hard and taken too much pride in my work for that to happen. I will not take the risk that in 20 years we will be a generation of lost photographs.

There I stand!

 

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This article was written by
Michele Celentano

Michele Celentano is one of America's leading family photographers, Canon Explorer of Light and a published author. She's a sought-after educator and artist who strongly believes in the importance of photographs. "The most important part of this journey through life are the people we love. For me, the second most important thing we have are the photographs that help us to remember those we love when they are no longer with us...Photographs of the people we love the most and the times we spend with them will outlast any material thing we have."

There is 1 comment for this article
  1. Jan Freire at 9:46 pm

    Beautifully written. Really!
    I just have a one problem with that. There is no brainer about real paper and printed pictures. There is some magic about that. But on the other side, we are photographers and not print sellers. And I see so many photographers struggle nowadays just because they were able to sell physical prints but they used to charge minimal fee their real work …. taking photograph. And nowadays clients knows they can print it much cheaper, so they are willing to pay those “few bugs for taking pictures” but not for prints anymore.

    My way is opposite. I charge a lot for taking pictures and I don’t need to uncharge so much on actual prints. So I can really deliver real prints that way. Of course it’s my way.

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