Prints and Digitals Files – Do you know the Difference?


We all know what a print is, don’t we? We all have the old family albums full of them, of long gone relatives and childhood family holidays. Back then your dad bought a roll of film, popped it into his 35mm camera, and then took it in to get developed and printed.

But what is a photo you took with your phone called? Or any other modern camera? l know, because its my job, but why would you need to know?

All modern cameras, on phones or otherwise, are now creating images called digital files, made of pixels and usually megabytes in size. So each image you take on your phone is a digital image, and its the same when l take one with my fancy shmancy camera in the studio.

So when you bring your baby in for a session, and its time for you to buy your favourite photographs, you have a choice to make, and this is where we repeatedly get asked how much our digital prints are.

As l’m sure you can now see, they are completely different things, and so I thought i’d help clear up any confusion and explain what each choice means to you.


A print is an image printed on photographic paper. You can choose many sizes for a print, and its always best to consider how you’ll be displaying a print as it will need to be protected in a frame. I use a professional photographic lab to print your images, and they are of very high quality.

When you order a print you are not simply paying for a bit of paper. You are buying a copy of an image, and its the image ON the paper that gives its value, just like a bank note.


A print is for you only, and it is illegal to attempt to create more copies from it, again, just like a bank note. If you wanted more copies, you’d have to buy it as a print again, or maybe have it on some wall art. If you took a print into a high street photo place and asked them to copy it, they will refuse on copyright grounds.


As explained above, I shoot using a digital camera and the images I capture are in digital format, exactly as you do on your phone. I then edit those images on a computer, and create the final image you then purchase.

These digital files are what you may then choose to buy, and are usually supplied to you on a USB, or sent to you via email.

When you choose to buy digital images you will pay more than for the same image as a print. There is a good reason for that.

Digital images are files that can simply be duplicated again and again, so you can use them to create prints as many times as you wish. This is why when you buy a digital image you have printing rights with them which means you have the right to print from those files for personal use as often as you wish. With a paper print you do not have this.


There are limitations with digital files however. You can print them but you cannot alter them in any way.

It is illegal for you to add a filter, change the colour, or do anything else to them, and I’d like to think you love it as it is and wouldn’t want to change it anyway.

Also, you do not own the copyright as by international intellectual property law that always stays with whoever took the image, in this case, me. Don’t let this worry you though, as the copyright would be of no use to you anyway. Printing rights are all you need.

Digital files you pay for are quite big which is because they are of high resolution and will print in top quality, and you will need a computer to download them if they are emailed to you, not a phone.

If you have your files on a USB you COULD simply take it to a shop with a printing machine, but I would advise against that due to quality. High street printers who print paper prints from digital files are NOT the same high quality as the professional lab I use and may well ruin your images.

Images I post online have my watermark on them to help prevent theft, which means any screen grabbing or downloading. This is because, as explained above, they are my property, even if they contain someones child. The only way to legally own a copy of a digital image is to buy a digital copy.

Also, if you see an image online of your baby, it will have my watermark on it and be of low quality. Its better for you to wait to get the full resolution version and print from that.


You are free to tag and share it though, and when you get your own digital images you can pop them on your Facebook if you’d like to.

Once you pay for an image it will not be supplied to you with my watermark on.

There is no such thing as a digital print, which l know is also something my great photographer friend Lauren at New Fawn Photography, who is a newborn photographer in Newport, South Wales, gets asked a lot too. Hopefully this blog will also be something her clients can learn from!

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