Remember those 5¼ floppy disks? And the “modern” update to 3½ hard disks. OK, maybe I’m dating myself, but what would you do if that’s where your wedding images were stored and you needed to see them today?
While having physical possession of digital picture files sounds like a safe way to preserve your images, in reality they are neither permanent nor foolproof. Who knows what type of digital storage devices will come and go in the next few decades. Digital media of all types can and does corrupt. I’m sure we all know someone who has had a hard drive go bad and they lost years of family pictures. But a print will be there in 100 years. So, print, print, print! Of course putting the images in an album is even better, but a shoebox full of prints can still be discovered and enjoyed by your great-grandchildren. A DVD, not so much.
More reasons to print:
- A print is tangible. An interactive experience with something tangible is more complex and complete. Looking though a photo album in your lap is very different than on a computer. And a print on your desk or wall can be enjoyed every day. Smiling faces of my nieces and nephews in frames next to my computer and on my walls makes my day so much more enjoyable.
- A print is art. There are so many ways to print and display an image. Textures and colors and sizes that all contribute to the enjoyment of that picture. And they make your home a beautiful and warm space, full of life.
- A print is a final product. A digital file is only an ingredient.
- A print can be a gift. And one that keeps giving as it brings on-going smiles to the faces of the recipients. A digital file, is well, just another computer file.
- A print is classic and timeless. It never goes out of style or becomes obsolete. What would you give for an old, well cared for print of your grandparents, or your parents as children?
- A print is lasting. A print will be there decades from now. Provided they are printed well – a good reason for professional printing: the paper is thicker, and the colors are accurate and lasting. Where you print matters too. I have carefully selected the professional lab that I use for the quality of the printing.
Holding onto digital files with the idea of using them someday robs you of the enjoyment of those images today and puts you at risk of losing them all together. So, don’t procrastinate. Buy prints (and a wedding album) rather than files from your photographer. It’s the wisest investment.
And don’t neglect printing your own candids, this doesn’t apply only to professional images. Social media should not be the final resting place for your images. Sometimes as I see parents constantly snapping and posting phone pictures I wonder most children will have to rely on their parent’s Facebook accounts to see any pictures of their childhood. There are many apps available to help you move pictures from your phone to photo paper (preferably without filters or at least in natural colors for a more timeless look).
And may I also put a plug in for buying a camera as well. Professional pictures are wonderful, but there’s no substitute for having a camera on hand for the moments of life that happen in between photo shoots. Our brains remember what we see pictures of, so your family memories will be very reliant on your documented history.
The bottom line is – think long term and print your images rather than holding onto digital files (which you can do, but knowing that some day they will probably be gone). So take those pictures and print them! Make it your resolution for 2015!
Here are two pictures on my desk that inspire me while I type – a favorite candid of London (with a look I see often but can’t get a two year old to produce on demand, so I’m so glad I had my camera handy while Grandpa was blowing bubbles) and a more intentional portrait of the siblings, both from last summer.