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What's the difference between a boutique and digital file photographer, and which is best for me?

You've likely heard of or used a digital file photographer before, but do you know what a boutique photographer does? Let's dig into both types to determine which is best for your current needs.

Boutique Photographer

When working with a boutique photographer, you develop a relationship through phone calls, in person meetings, and multiple conversations before your photo shoot. You're made to feel like a priority and understand the process will take 4-8 weeks. You are looking for finished wall art and heirloom products of your family, and you trust the photographer to help make your vision for home décor a reality.

You'll be presented with the best 20-30 portraits, and you'll work together to order physical art that match the décor style of your home.

With a boutique photographer, your experience feels like luxury from start to finish. You're willing to invest time and money to receive

custom, long-lasting, and gorgeous wall art of your loved ones.

Digital File Photographer

When working with a digital file photographer, you communicate mostly through email or text and meet for the first time at your photoshoot. You're good with being one of dozens of monthly customers for the photographer, because you just want some digital files. You'll be the one to find a company to print your photos or wall art, meaning you have to vet the company for quality, price, products, and more. It's a less hands-on partnership, but you are able to invest less money.

Which one is best for me?

It's totally normal to use a boutique photographer at one time and a digital file photographer at another time. If you're looking for a photographer right now, consider these four things.

Custom or DIY Do you prefer a photographer who provides ready-to-hang custom wall art, or a photographer who sends you digital files for you to do it yourself?

Relationship Are you good with meeting the photographer for the first time at the shoot, or do you want to get to know each other and meet beforehand and create a custom plan? Do you want to be one of 4-6 customers in a given month, or are you okay with being one of 20-30 customers a photographer has in that same month?

Time and Financial Investment Do you want to pay a set fee for a batch of all digital files, or pay for only the photos and wall art that you plan to display in your home? (Note: you receive a social media file of every portrait purchased through a boutique photographer).

Mini Session or Custom Session Do you want a 10-15 minute session where you and many families get exactly the same photos and backdrop, or do you want a longer session that's designed only for you and your loved ones? Typically a boutique photographer spends 45 minutes+ with each family session, meaning you (and your little ones!) get more time to get comfortable in front of the camera. In order to give you a custom experience, boutique photographers usually don't offer mini sessions, with the exception of a charity fundraiser.

Again, there are benefits to both boutique photographers and digital file photographers. It's important to understand the difference so you can choose the right one to work with for your needs.

Lindsey Miller Portraits is a family photographer in Logansport, Indiana who provides wall art for her clients. She offers pet portraiture, high school senior photos, and real estate photography. Business and commercial photography is also available.

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