Digital Files or No Digital Files? Why Video Slideshows are a Great Alternative

Moira West


So you’re chatting with a client and they ask you, “Can I have the digital files?” And you want to make your customer happy, and to give them something to share on social media. But…

But you want to control the quality of their printed images.

But you don’t want them handing off your painstakingly edited videos to Uncle Bob who knows a little Photoshop and can “fix” them.

But technology changes and their files may become obsolete, leaving them without images down the line.

But you want them to buy a finished product, printed and packaged the right way, rather than having them leave with digital files, which feel much more incomplete than printed images.

What do you do?

The video slideshow solution

While most clients go to photographers for images they can treasure long term, that doesn’t stop them from wanting the instant gratification of something digital that can be shared on social media. Or as senior photographer and Animoto team member Beth put it, “They think they want the digital files because they want the now. The digital file question is more about immediacy than it is about longevity.”

If you can give clients something that hits that “now” feeling, you’ll be able to hold onto your digital files while still making your customer happy. And video slideshows, which give clients access to your images digitally without making them reproducible, are an elegant solution.

For example, when clients ask photographer Sarah Petty for digital files, she agrees to deliver the prints they select in the form of a video slideshow. It lets her avoid the digital image question without actually telling her client no.


Style: Runway
Song: “Magical Day” by Gordon Pagoda


The other advantage to offering slideshows is that it gives you something to set you apart from other photographers — an added bonus that clients will be excited to share on social media. Newborn photographer Kelly Brown uses a quick video birth announcement as a gift to new parents. They, in turn, share it with friends and family, resulting in great word-of-mouth advertising for Kelly.

Style: Classic
Song: “The Story Unfolds” by Dan Phillipson

In the end, clients just want to be able to share their beautiful images with the people they care about. And by giving them a video, you’re letting them do that while at the same time keeping clients focused on purchasing enduring photographic prints. It’s a win-win situation, really.

Do you give clients video slideshows instead of digital prints? Let us know in the comments below.