Ask a Photographer: Kathleen Romano from Life in Pixels

Note from Coralee:

Kathleen is a professional family photographer based in NJ. She and I crossed paths recently through a Facebook group for NJ mom-entrepreneurs. (Yeah JEMs. *fist pump*) I read a post she shared on the topic of printing your photos, and loved what I saw. Both of us are passionate about helping our clients get their memories in print, so I reached out to ask her if she’d like to be a guest on our blog, and to share some tips and inspiration with you. Enjoy!

Hi Kathleen! Ok, two sentences - tell us about yourself.

I am a mother who believes in the value of capturing every moment of my family’s life. I don't want to look back in twenty years, scrolling through iPhone snapshots of my children and my husband - I want beautiful art that brings me back to that exact moment in time (which is why I focus on print photography).

So, what led you to start your photography business?

I was never particularly artistic growing up. In fact, I went into college as a pre-law major, but eventually switched to journalism due to my passion for writing. While I was in my junior year, the journalism industry took a turn for the worse, and suddenly paying jobs in my field were becoming more and more scarce. That was when I took some time away from school to “find myself”.

During my time off from school, I met new people, embraced a new culture, and began delving into various mediums, including painting, drawing, and photography. Something about photography really fascinated me. I was able to take a moment, and literally freeze it inside of a box. I enrolled back into school, pursuing a BFA in photography and that was when I was introduced to film.

There was no turning back at this point. Every bit of the film process captivated me - capturing the shot, developing the film, displaying the prints. It was therapeutic and it just felt right. I have been working as a photographer ever since.

In the blog post you shared in our group, you talk about “PRINT. The Movement.” What is that all about?

PRINT. The Movement is a much needed awareness campaign designed to highlight the importance and value of print photography in an increasingly digital world. Whether that be through albums, wall art, framed prints, or other professional printed portrait art, this campaign was created to address an increasing epidemic for both photographers and consumers - a lack of appreciation for non-digital art.

Why is “PRINT. The Movement” Important?

Despite the fact that we're all taking more and more photographs than ever before, the quantity of prints being produced is continuing to deteriorate at an astonishing rate. What will you do when you misplace your phone, or when technology changes and the storage devices you've been using to save your photographs on suddenly become irrelevant? In an instant, you can lose years and years of irreplaceable memories.

A 2015 PPA survey found that 42% of people between the ages of 30 and 44 no longer print photographs or create photographs. In fact, 67% store their photos solely on a computer or phone. Decades from now, they will likely look back and wonder where photos of their childhood, holiday get-togethers, relatives and friends have gone.

Why Do You Believe So Strongly in Prints?

I spent many years as a digital-based photographer, and time after time I found that nothing ever happened with the portraits I captured. I felt like I wasted my time, my clients wasted their time, and the entire session was for nothing. It frustrated me and left me feeling angry about the situation I had found myself in. Something had to give.

That's when I moved from being a digital-focused photographer to a print-focused photographer. In fact, I don’t sell digital files at all any more. If that is what a client is looking for, I will happily give them recommendations for colleagues I know who do focus on digitals, but that is no longer the way I operate. I see the value in print. I see the value in producing quality artwork for my clients that I can vouch for. I see the value in creating tangible art, not digital art. Prints are archival, digital files are not.   

Nothing compares to seeing, feeling, and experiencing portraiture through print. Time and again, we hear from clients that the products we deliver to them are so much more meaningful than images just stored onto a disk or sent through a gallery. If you haven’t had the first-hand experience of working with a print photographer, it is something I cannot recommend enough. It doesn’t even have to be my studio! Just find someone who values portrait art and the beauty that comes with tangible heirloom products that can be cherished for generations.

For someone who has a backlog of digital photos to print, how do you recommend they get started?

I have actually worked with many people whose sessions I didn’t capture, but who come to me for prints, albums, or wall art. I will happily accommodate anyone looking to turn their digital files into something tangible. In MY ideal world, no one would ever wind up with a backlog of digital files that have never been printed, but if someone does find themselves in this situation, I recommend that they seek out a photographer who does focus on prints, as they will know the best way to go about turning a large quantity of digital files into print art that they can treasure for generations.

What should someone keep in mind when selecting photo products for their families and homes?

Most photographers who focus on prints offer a wide variety of products, ranging from large wall art, to albums and folio boxes that can be easily displayed on a coffee table or bookshelf. Personally, I think everyone has SOME wall space where they can hang a portrait of those who mean the most to them, but albums and folio boxes are also great options for those who may be renting and don't want to invest in a piece of large wall art.

Of your personal photos and prints, what is your favorite piece?

My favorite personal product is my folio box that includes ten matted prints from our last trip to Florida (pictured below). I absolutely love these boxes. If I had to choose only one print product from a session, it would be this. The folio boxes are elegant, versatile, and so easily customized - the perfect product for almost any occasion.

About Kathleen:


Kathleen Romano is a 30-year-old mother to the most amazing 18-month-old boy, and the wife to a caring and loving husband, AJ. She will do absolutely anything for those closest to her, but definitely fails when it comes to remembering to take care of herself. Her strengths are that she is ambitious, courageous, and kind-hearted, and her weaknesses are that she can be extremely hard on herself, struggles with feeling good enough, and fails to make herself a priority from time to time.….

You can read her original post on her photography studio’s site: “The Print Movement in a Digital World” at Life in Pixels.


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