• Welcome to Michelle Montero Photography

    Hello! Welcome to Michelle Montero Photography. Michelle Montero is a Howard County, MD Portrait Photographer that specializes in on-location high school senior and children's portrait photography. Michelle currently services clients in Howard County, Carroll County, Baltimore County and Montgomery County.

Digital Files - Do you really want them?

We live in the digital world. We all work on our computers. We own smart phones. We read our books on tablets. Holding an actual print or paper product in our hands, whether it be a book, a magazine or (gasp) an actual photo album, seems to be a thing of the past.  We find a cheaper and, presumably, a more reasonable solution that falls more inline with what we see in the world today. Digital images.

On pretty much every occasion I get asked if I offer digital files for purchase. While the answer to that is “yes” (once a print minimum has been purchased) I’m often surprised that most clients aren’t too sure why they want digital images. They just simply know that’s what people “do”. When I ask why they want to purchase digital files, my clients usually respond with a question.

“To share to Facebook??”

“To save for future use??” 

As a photographer, and a business owner, it’s my job is to educate my clients about the pros and cons of every decision that they make with me. Below I highlight why folks think they want digital files, what they think they will use those files for and why it’s not always the best option.

1) Social Media

Sure, I get it. You want to share those images online to your friends and family via social media. So, you just spent hundreds of dollars on an amazing photo session to purchase only digital files to share on social media?

OK. I don’t get it.

While I understand that you want to share your gorgeousness on social media (I want you to share it, too ;), did you know that most photographers (including myself) offer alternate means of sharing your images via social media? How about a mobile phone app? Or, a beautiful slideshow? So much more bang for the buck! Most of these items I give you once you reach a specific print minimum. And, if you purchase the image in print, I give you the low res social media file of that image. How about that??

2) To Save Them Forever and Ever…

OMG! You want to save all of your images on that beautiful USB that I gave you to be sure that you can cherish them forever and ever? That’s so sweet!

While I get it, I ask you this? Can you still view that film reel that grandpa made over 30+ years ago of your 6th birthday (obviously dating myself here)? I didn’t think so. In order for you to see that film, you either have to dig out that old projector or you have to bring it into a service to get it transferred to a CD (in our case, a VHS…then a CD). My point is, you will have your PRINT forever. You may hide it away in the attic, but when you stumble upon it, you will have it there in your hands to look at and to cherish.

Technology changes, prints will always be classic and available.

3) Purchase Prints via a Third Party

I’m going to be honest here. I’ve never once had a client ask for digital files so they can print at a high volume, low quality printer (think Target or Walmart). Most people that book a high school session fully intend to buy prints. However, the practice is going strong.

My thoughts are this. If you have spent a considerable amount of time, money and prep for your high quality boutique photography experience, why in the heck would you want to print at a low quality printer? My guess is, this is what you’re used to and it’s all that you know. If you are looking for a high quality print, it’s better to purchase that from your photographer (you won’t be sorry). We take the guesswork out of your decision. To be honest, I’m always surprised when my clients tell me how beautiful my products are. Are we so used to low quality photography that we’ve never seen a high quality product? I suspect “yes”.

4) I Scrapbook

I’ve got nothin’. Digital images for you it is!


The digital file debate in the photo industry is a HUGE one. Some photographers think it’s killing the industry. I’m not too sure where I stand, but let me be clear, I am NOT against selling digital files. I DO sell them. At many sales sessions folks will end up purchasing a few of their favorites with their print package. It’s fine. It’s the world we live in. I just want folks to understand that it’s not the BE ALL END ALL solution to the conclusion of your photography experience.

A different way to think about an all digital package is this:

You’re on your own. You’re on your own. You’re on your own.

If you are unsatisfied with your prints, you’re on your own. I for one DO NOT guarantee any print that is not ordered through me. In most cases, not all cases, once a photographer hands you that CD, you’re done.

Transaction complete.

Bottom line. You do what works for you. All I ask is that you take a moment to determine what you really want from your session. If you really ONLY want a CD/USB will all of your digital images then I say GO FOR IT!


***Please note that there are some kick a$$ high end photographers out there that only offer digital packages. However, they will cost you. Most high end photographers only allow you to print your own images via services that they have set up and WILL guarantee their images. Most of these individuals will also offer high end prints, but only if a client asks for it.***


  • Anda - Great post, Michelle! I agree with everything you’ve written and I realize that I need to now perhaps revise my packages. :)ReplyCancel

    • Michelle - Thanks, Anda! I noticed a little trend when clients would ask about digital files. In the end, most clients really didn’t know what they wanted and just defaulted to the digital file. Once I showed them some of my print offerings, most never even bothered with the digital file because they already had what they needed.ReplyCancel

 [Michelle Montero Photography - Howard County High School Senior Photographer]

Jessica was also one of our amazing models at the Gloss/MMP Fells Point Session last year and I was over the freaking moon when she contacted me to do her senior portraits! This Class of 2014 – Atholton High School Senior is quite possibly in Ohio right now getting ready to start her freshman year in college, so it almost feels a little strange sharing her high schools senior portraits in late August…but I sooooo don’t care (Better late than never, right?? ). Girlfriend looked amazing and did an incredible job in front of the camera.

Hair, Make-up and Styling – Gloss


Atholton High School
Atholton High School
Atholton High School
Atholton High School
Atholton High School

You never know quite how old you’re getting until your cousin (who’s younger than you) calls and asks if you’re available to take her daughter’s high school senior portraits. While I don’t consider myself to be that old, still on the opposite side of 40, seeing this gorgeous girl all grown up made me realize just how fast time flies.

This is Marissa. Liverpool High School – Class of 2015.

(To give you some perspective, I was Liverpool High School – Class of 1993. Sure, I graduated in the last century, but I’m still cool. For real!)

I met with Marissa and her mom and headed into the Village of Baldwinsville. It’s been a while since I’ve been to B’ville, but not that much has changed, really. The Diner is still there (and that’s all that really matters.) We found an awesome wall, an awesome car and an awesome door. And her photos in B’ville were simply…(wait for it)…awesome. Once we were done with that awesomeness, we headed out to Beaver Lake. At Beaver Lake we dodged lots of kamikaze mosquitoes (not awesome), took a few shots between attacks and got the heck out of there. With about 50+ bites each, we finished up at my brother’s house on the Seneca River (yup, my family still lives there). The session was fun from start to finish (and it’s always fun to chat it up with my cousin Teri.)

Marissa is talented, smart, beautiful, thoughtful and incredibly kind and I wish her the very best in her future endeavors. Thanks so much to Marissa and Teri for letting me capture this very important milestone in her life.

Howard County High School Senior Photographer
Howard County High School Senior Photographer
Howard County High School Senior Photographer
Howard County High School Senior Photographer
Howard County High School Senior Photographer
Howard County High School Senior Photographer
Howard County High School Senior Photographer
Howard County High School Senior Photographer

Michelle Montero is a Howard County Maryland High School Senior Portrait Photographer. Michelle specializes in custom on-location high school senior portrait sessions in Howard County and its’ surrounding areas. For more information and to book a session, please visit the links below.


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