Howto: Present your digital photos. A few ideas to impress your customers.

Once upon a time, we photographers had one way to deliver our work: photographic paper. But nowadays there are other options such CD/DVD, on-line portfolio, multimedia slideshow. The one thing in common is the word digital. No matter how our pictures are presented, at the end they are ones and zeros -binary files-.

Unfortunately for me, I stepped into photography world late enough to miss all the old school tricks of messing up with chemical and film. But I do share with people who did so the same feeling about presentation. I am sure that, for them, glancing a printed picture will be always much better than any Mac screen showing their photos in a 42" display. Paper is something you can touch, keep with you in your wallet. A tangible piece of meaning, a real thing. An example of this is paper postcards compared to emails with an embedded image. It's just no the same thing, I bet you agree with me.

So here it comes, the subject of this post. How to awake emotions by carefully choosing the way you'd want to present your photographies. There are people who think that a good image itself is enough to catch up people's eyes. I am not of that opinion so I will share with you some of the things I have found in this quest for the perfect envelope.

Music will help you

The first thing I understood is that we must get senses involved. More senses than vision, I mean. When you touch a postcard, you hold it in your hands, you can indeed feel it. Let's say your mum who lives far away sent it to you. She chose it, she touched it. She went to the shop and then to the letter box to leave it there for you. And now you have it in your hands. Maybe there's a fingerprint on it and all :) You can put it in your desk and look at it every now and then. Digital pictures can't do any of that.

So one thing that surely helps to awake emotions, and attach the picture we're watching to something real, is music. Some people create mental associations of what they hear and what they're doing in that moment. But not only that, a well chosen song can touch a son, a brother, a partner... and our customers too!. So make music be your ally, and my choice for that purpose is Animoto. With this website, I created this video. I am sorry it is in Spanish but I guess you'll get the message. Maybe there are no spectacular pictures but the whole composition makes it moving. I myself almost cried when I saw the final results. Try it out, it's worth. Of course you can always do it yourself for free using, for example, Windows Video Maker. I did my first video with that free utility that's included in Windows.

Make the envelope be as good as your images

Presenting your digital files in a nice way is really important. It's not just being professional about it, if your final customer really likes the envelope, it probably won't end up in a drawer. I've seen people copying the contents of a CD full of pics to their computers, and then throwing away the disk. What I would love is people going to the "thing" I gave them -be it a CD, a well designed CD case, whatever-, and get the pictures from it as if it was part of the images. Something they point to with their fingers when they speak of the images.

Some of my favourite places to find the appropriate link with real and touchable items and my digital and ethereal images are:

* Muji

* London Graphic Centre

My favourite article, apart from fancy transparent CD cases, is this one :-)

Well, I hope you like it and of course I am open to your feedback and personal recommendations.

Photo credits: Janaka Dharmasena.

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Bradcalkins

I totally agree that music can make an amazing difference in the impact of your photos. I've done some wedding slideshows and it is a totally different experience compared to just clicking through the photos. Thanks for the article. I've only ever used Pro Show, but Animoto looks very interesting.

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