A Word to the Wise Bride: Digital Negatives

July 8, 2013  |  Wedding Tips

It shouldn’t be a surprise we’re living in 2013 – even though I often write 2012, or 2010, on dated items. Today’s bride-to-bes are smart and generally budget conscious. We like to get the best value for the best vendors, so we compare vendors packages and offerings.

And, when we take photos, we expect to have them nicely delivered to us digitally. We’ve got to share them on Facebook and Instagram. We want to have them printed in various sizes and quantities. We want canvases. We want to use them on Christmas cards. And, if you’re like me, you’d like to just so you can look at them over and over and over and over again. Right?

To professional photographers, these are most often referred to as digital negatives – all or some (depending on the contract) of your photos with the photographer’s copyright waiver. This allows you to have your photos printed by whomever, share with anyone, and the ability to archive your images – making sure you never lose the digital files.

And, sometimes photographers may refer to the digital negatives as providing a Flash Drive or DVD to use, and some photographers use PASS gallery, which displays your photos in an online gallery.

So, the key when comparing photographers is to make sure it’s an apple to apple comparison.

Some photographers try to keep their packages as affordable as possible. So, digital negatives aren’t included in the package since they require additional time and effort on the photographer’s behalf. Other photographers include them in package prices, since most brides expect them. We often look at how many hours are included, if there’s a second shooter, and the other sessions included in a package but can easily overlook digital negatives.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your photographers can place a time limit on your photos since some gallery services expire. If you don’t have digital negatives, you have to be sure to make your purchase before your gallery expires. And as a past bride myself, I admit to still not having ordered prints of my wedding photos – 9 months later.

If digital negatives are something that you and your fiance want, or are expecting, make sure to have a conversation with your photographer. Even if your photographer doesn’t include the digital negatives in the price of your package, but it’s something you are wanting, be sure to ask them if they are available as an add-on. And, if you aren’t sure about the delivery method of the digital negatives, talk with your photographer. Make sure that you’re receiving both the digital negatives and the copyright waiver. This will help to ensure you are both on the same page.

No one wants to take photos and wait for the digital negatives only to realize it wasn’t part of the package you bought!

As with all of your vendors – communication is key!


Lacey Rabalais, digital negatives, brand packaging,

Lacey Rabalais Photography delivers digital negatives to clients using these “Hello Gorgeous” jump drives.


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