I saw at my 2nd cousin’s house this weekend evidence that displaying wall portraits is very much still “alive and well” with the younger generation. Heather and Peter are in their mid 20′s, finished college and just had their first child.
On their family room wall, proudly displayed was a 30×40 collage style mat filled with multiple professional 8×10 and 5×7 family images. Background color was a brownish mat with cut outs for prints in a thin metal frame, no glass. They must have purchased it at Michael’s. Also saw professional baby pictures as 8×10′s in paper easels on end tables. As a young family in a difficult economy, they still managed to find a way to display their prints within a limited budget.
Again, what I saw was a host of pictures, not just one print or two displayed as “hard copy.” There was a lap top computer sitting on the table. No one said, ”Let’s gather around to see our pictures on the lap top.” Also on the coffee table was their wedding photo album proudly displayed for all to view.
So what is my point? Traditional portrait values are still very much present in professional photography. Plenty of clients still want hard copy professional photo prints. Far too many professional photographers are psyching themselves out to believe the contrary. Middle class families can still afford a $25,000 automobile. Are auto dealerships’ lots flooded with $14,000 cars thinking that is all the public can afford? No! The general public wants value though. The “value concept” is what professional photographers need to concentrate on and provide that: great posing, composition, lighting and price-packaging for variety. Auto dealerships could never survive selling entry level $14,000 cars nor can you and the portrait industry survive by selling “shoot & burn CDs” alone.