How long do photographers keep your photos?

How long do photographers keep your photos? Well, that depends. There is no rule, it’s completely up to the individual photographer and their business model. It could be a few days to thirty years, or more. A photographer with an established studio who has been in business a long time and relies on repeat clients is much more likely to hold onto old digital files and even (going really vintage here) NEGATIVES! A newbie photographer testing the waters to see if they can make a go of the whole photo gig? Maaaaaybe not so long.

How long do I hold on to negatives (digital and traditional), you ask?  My policy is ten years OR until space becomes an issue.  When I do my yearly purge of the storage room it definitely gives me pause to haul out the old boxes of images. I mean, these are peoples wedding pictures and family photos, you guys! I don’t take it lightly but it’s what I’ve determined is reasonable for my business. Digitals/negatives have always been available for purchase at any time at my studio so if owning them is a priority for my clients they know they have the option. And in the end it comes down to space -all of these images take up physical, mental and emotional space. There’s an entire wall of my storage room dedicated to this and after one year the chances of a past client requesting images dwindles considerably. That space is needed for new clients files. I do make an exception when culling a particular year – if I am still in contact with the client (know them, see them in person or on social media, still scheduling regular sessions) then those stay in storage because I consider them a CURRENT client.

photo storage

Bankers boxes come in blue sometimes!

All this is on my mind because I got an email this morning from a former client wishing to purchase some images I created in 2011. I’ve already done my 2019 spring cleaning of the storage room and most of the files prior to 2009 went bye bye but I knew right where to find the box for 2011 and had my hands on her images within minutes. Yay! I love when this happens … because sometimes it doesn’t. With all my good record keeping and systems in place a couple times I have had a request and I wasn’t able to locate the file if it was more than a year out. Because, you know – TEN YEARS OF IMAGES – but it’s rare, normally my system holds up. It’s simple, I buy bankers boxes and in January all the prior years files go into them. I grab a sharpie, label the contents (most importantly the year) and on the shelf it goes.

It was fun doing a deep dive into my shooting style in 2011! There are some similarities and differences to my current style, for sure. Photographers, artists, humans – we are always evolving, aren’t we? Let’s take a look:

Right off the bat viewing this maternity session made me miss my home studio. I recently converted the studio space into a sales area for my home office because 95% of my sessions are now outdoors..and I LOVE my new sales area. But I did a lot of work in my tiny little home studio back in the day that I’m pretty proud of. It just never felt big enough so now I rent an awesome space when I do a studio session. But, awww….

materity family portraitbig brotherThis is very similar to something I would create for a current client so no big leap in style here. I still love this lighting and posing!

Arvada CO pregnancy PhotographerAnd captuing a moment like this, that will ALWAYS be my style.Pregnancy Portrait sesion Arvada COHere is where I can tell this was eight years ago. The enhancements I used to do were bold and contrasty. This still looks very cool but is no longer the “in thing”. baby bellyenhanced maternity portraitAnd oh, how I loved my golden yellow background! So great for an unexpected pop of color. I still have it but don’t pull it out much anymore… maybe I should!How long do photographers keep your photos?Preganancy Photographer arvada coI always try to bundle a newborn session onto a maternity session, I mean I HAVE to meet the baby, right? Here’s the little munchin at about six weeks old. So sweet!newborn babySure is fun for me to go back and look at my work to see how I’ve changed and grown and what’s stayed the same. It’s also really rewarding to be able to pull images for a client from eight years ago. I’m glad I’ve been storing them all this time, it’s worth it! I will continue to do my due diligence when it comes to archiving my work but I also encourage my clients to purchase their digital media, at least a few favorites so they can archive their family photos themselves, too.

Thanks for going down memory lane with me and I hope that helped answer the question, “How long do photographers keep your photos?”. Short answer – ask your photographer, it can vary widely.

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Denver Family Lifestyle Photographer – RiNo

Oh my goodness, I just love this family and RiNo (River North Art District) in Denver was the perfect backdrop for their photo session! You might be wondering about how to pull off a family session with three kids under the age of five, plus one sweet old dog and I can only say, ” Smart mommies bring lolli’s”! Lollipops can look like a bribe at first glance but really they are the most awesome prop for the kiddos! I mean, if you want a photo of kids that’s pure joy simply bust out the candy! The kids were adorable and fun even before candy (the pooch, too) but it never hurts to have that kind of deal maker in your back pocket.  And RiNo being RiNo one never knows what will pop up – perhaps a juggler to entertain everyone!

Denver Family Lifestyle Photographer – RiNo

RiNo Denver Family PhotographyDenver Childrens PhotographyDenver Childrens PhotographerDenver Child PhotographerRiNo Denver Family PhotographerlollipopDenver Family Lifestyle Photographer - RiNoDenver Family Lifestyle Photographykiddos with lollipopsdad and sonmom and sonkids watching jugglerlifestyle Photographer denver RiNokiddospooch

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Denver Newborn Photographer | Lifestyle and Posed

Denver Newborn Photographer

I’ve really adapted and refined my style of newborn photography over the years. Oh man, let me tell you when I started out I had one black background and no idea how to pose a newborn. I have photos of my firstborn son awkwardly laying on that black background at about one week of age. It’s what his crowd now would call, “cringy”, ha ha. Ah well, live and learn!

After that short phase I started collecting all kinds of brightly colored blankets and throws and my work become more colorful, I also learned a few simple but solid newborn poses which carried me through the next ten years or so. It helped that I was a seasoned mom with two babies of my own at this point. Weddings remained my main focus but I learned enough to photograph my former wedding couples new babies reasonably well.

The last five years or so I’ve stepped it up a notch and taken some newborn classes that really clicked with me (no pun intended). I’ve phased out weddings and family photography has become my main jam (newborn, baby, child, family, high school senior). I prefer to focus more on the baby than on cute props and blankets so I take a fairly minimalist approach. These elements currently define my style:

– stylized posed portraits of newborn on white or off white (often naked but lately I’ve really been having fun with wraps)

– newborn in the arms of family members

– black and white and/or window light portraits

I like to do my in home newborn sessions with a mix of those three things and I think it really captures the early days of a family at home with a new baby and helps me artfully portray such sweet subject matter. Here is a recent session…

Denver Newborn PhotographerDenver Newborn Photographer | Lifestyle and Posed

Starting out wrapped helps baby settle in and feel cozy and they tend to do those little things so typical of newborns – a hand to a face or arms up and feet tucked.

Denver Newborn Photographer | Lifestyle and PosedI might half unwrap them to get more of natural baby pose.

minimalistic newborn photography denverNaked with bum up is always a favorite.Newborn Baby Photography DenverIf siblings are around they get in the picture, too!Lifestyle Family PhotographerNewborn at home photography denverAnd of course a family portrait – I keep this casual, usually on the couch or mom and dad’s bed.familyI like to do some with just mommy … then some with just daddy.

Newborn Session DenverY’all know I’m a big fan of natural light and black and white.Lifestyle Newobron Photography in home Denver

And who can resist a few detail shots. The little baby toes, you guys!baby toes newborn denverIt’s an honor to be invited into the home of a new baby to photograph those incredibly special first days. Truly. What I once found difficult to capture due to lack of knowledge and experience, I now find to be such a joy!

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Large Group Family Portrait Photography Arvada

This, you guys. This is one of the things I LOVE about my job – photographing multiple generations in one photo session! Getting the whole family in front of my camera from great grandparents, to grandparents to adult children and their kids is so rewarding.  And what a gorgeous family!

Large Group Family Portrait Photography Arvada

Multi Generations Family Photo Arvada COI love this park in Arvada we choose for the session. You guys, it has a wooden deck! Great Grandparents PortraitCouple Photographer Arvada COLarge Group Family Portrait Photography Arvada grandparents PortraitThere is also a cute bridge, lots of trees and a small creek for plenty of different backgrounds in just a short walk around the park. Arvada CO Family PhotographerIt’s always fun to do individual family breakdowns after the big group photo!Arvada CO family PicturesEach family has their own unique vibe and smaller group photos allow this to shine through.Arvada CO Family Photographyfamily portrait arvada COBy the end of the portrait session I loved that the cousins were still happy and playing. So cute!cousins

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