Many professional photographers offer digital downloads of their photographs. This is a popular option for many people because it gives them more control and options. There are advantages and disadvantages to purchasing a photo download, and this post will help you determine if a digital download is right for you.

What is a Digital Download?

When you see an option to purchase a photo as a digital download, this means you get an electronic form of the photograph. The data is transferred from the photographer’s website to your computer and you end up with a digital photograph.

We offer digital downloads in a high-resolution or a Social Media version. A high resolution is great for printing. Our (Snake River Valley Photography) high resolution photos can be printed up to a 16×20 inches because we give you a 4000 x 6000 pixel download. A Social Media download is perfect for use on social media and to store on your phone or tablet. Our Social Media downloads are 800 x 400 pixels.

This photo is 800 x533 KB

Advantages of a Digital Download

Once the photo downloads to your computer, there are endless opportunities for use. You can print, share with family and friends, post on social media, and you can do this repeatedly.

Disadvantages of a Digital Download

The biggest downside to the digital downloads is the price. But you have to remember what the download offers – you are paying a little more upfront to receive many uses from that photo.

If you get a low Social Media download, they aren’t ideal for printing photographs. The largest you can print is a 5×7 photo (with the Social Media downloads we offer).

Tips for Using Your Digital Download

  • If you want to share your digital downloads on social media, you will need to re-size the high-resolution photo. Make a copy of the original and re-size the copy to 200 KB or less (longest side 800 pixels). This will ensure your photo doesn’t appear blurry when viewed online.
  • Know if the photographer allows you to make adjustments to the digital photo. Many photographers do not want you to mess with their photos. We (Snake River Valley Photography) do not want our photos tampered with in any way. Read our License Agreement for more details.


Think about what your primary goal is with the professional photo. Do you want to have a digital copy to make prints from? Or would you rather not pay the extra money and order the prints from your photographer?

There is no right or wrong answer, it is a matter of personal preference and your plans for the photo.

Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge