Do you remember the days before digital cameras, smartphones and sharing your memories the moment they're made? Back when the only way we were able to see the special memories that we captured was to develop the film and have it printed? In those days, I remember being so excited to see my printed images that I would often send in a halfway developed roll of film, or snap a bunch of photos of non-important things just to finish the role. One time I even cried when going through my prints and realizing that some random person did not actually push the shutter button down all the way when taking a very important photo of me and a certain favorite country artist (so there are good things to digital). I recall fighting tooth and nail against purchasing a digital camera some 16 years ago. I had taken my first photography class in 1990 and learned how to develop film in the dark room, and I continued using film cameras for many years. The only reason I did finally break down and purchase my first digital (point and shoot) camera was a ski trip to Mammoth. I knew very well that I couldn't take my SLR camera on the slopes-so I purchased a small digital camera to fit in my pocket. The last thing on my mind once I got off that ski lift was taking pictures-that was one of my only trips down the slopes, but it was the beginning of the digital age for me.
Now that I've been shooting with a DSLR camera for approximately 15 years, I am quite ashamed to say that I have lost my ability to shoot with film (although I'm reassured that I could pick it right back up with some practice or maybe a workshop). That being said, I do still stress the importance of printing your memories-even more so than I did before I went digital. Digital cameras and smartphones may have changed the world of photography forever, but printing photos has never been so important.
An estimated 1.2 trillion photos were taken last year; that's a ton of photos! 85% of those photos were taken on smartphones-so if we don't print them out, we risk losing them forever. Most of these photos (maybe not the blurry ones) deserve to be printed rather than remaining a piece of digital data on your mobile device. Although cameras on smart phones have been upgraded over recent years to take some pretty amazing shots, they still aren't quite the quality to print them for your walls. However, they would be great to print out as a 4x6 or even 5x7 and 8x10 for a frame. I love looking back on Facebook or even through the gallery on my iPhone at memories; but nothing compares to the feeling I get by looking through my printed albums or the canvas hanging on the wall. I walk by our wedding photo every single day-but I do not see it digitally unless I go searching for it. Katie Thurmes once said “We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone.” And holding those printed photos in your hands, or seeing them on your walls makes those moments and memories more tangible than ever.
It used to take up to 2 weeks to get your prints back after sending them out to be developed-which of course doesn't sound very attractive to us now, but it made it even more exciting to actually see the prints and relive your memories. Now you can get them from consumer stores in as little as one-hour. Even my professional labs print same day and ship them out as quickly as overnight (for a price, of course). Wedding albums do take some time to create and print (as they should with quality labs) and every bride beams from ear to ear when looking through their album. Sure, they probably received their digital images before the album-or at least some from wedding guests. But nothing quite compares to the feeling of your memories in tangible prints and products that could last a lifetime.
It doesn't really matter whether you print your photos for frames, on canvas or acrylic for your walls, or in a gorgeous album for your coffee table; it only matters that you print them. Printing photos gives you a wonderful way to document your life and the lives of those you love. Documenting those special memories that you can pass on for generations to come. I'm sure that some of you have been handed down albums from family members that you hold very dear to your heart. I have albums of photos that are precious to me because they contain memories of people whom are no longer with us. What will you hand down to the next generation? A thumb drive of images or a chip from a smart phone that will no doubt be obsolete before our days on earth are done? Or beautiful artwork that outlives most of us? I agree that videos and digital images serve their purpose-especially when you come across them after a loved one has gone. But printed photos tell stories that we often forget; stories that unfold in our very own hands.
Another researched and proven reason that printing your images is something that every parent should be doing is because of how important it is for a child to see images of themselves and their family surrounding them. On the walls of your house your daughter should see herself, her mom and dad, her baby brother; her life! When your son pulls out albums from your wedding, or last year's birthday celebration, he sees just how important that time was for his family. What's amazing is that something so seemingly simple as printing photos could bring your child a sense of belonging, a connection to self and a personal identity. Children surrounded by family photos help them to find an absolute understanding of where they fit. There have actually been studies where children were given opportunities to take photos of themselves and make scrapbooks with them. The children who interacted with their own photos were tested after the study and had a significant increase in self-esteem.
As you can see, there are great reasons for printing your images in one format or another. But why do I want you to print them? Why do I include a print in my session fee and only include digital images when you purchase a certain amount of prints or products? Well, let me tell you a story...the reason why I started offering prints. I took quite a few photos of my friend and her ever-growing family. But when I would go to visit her I saw absolutely no photos on her walls. I asked her about this, and she said that she never even printed their wedding photos! They've been married longer than my husband and I have been married. After much nudging on my part, my friend was so excited to show me her wall collage of prints that I took of her beautiful family. It also inspired her to print her wedding photos. I knew right then that I had to start offering prints to my clients or they may never see the light of day.
Before I started my business, I used to print my photos at Target or really wherever I could find the best deal. I ordered a canvas from Groupon and the dreaded Shutterfly "Album" (they're really just books-yet they call them albums). That's because I didn't know the difference. Once I started ordering samples of prints and products from professional photo labs, I was sold! The quality of the prints, the color calibration, and the durability of the albums and other photo products blew everything else out of the water. Sure, with quality comes a price, but as my husband once told me about cheap shoes, would you rather spend less up front but then pay for it later (in my case, with sore feet or purchasing more shoes when my Payless ones fell apart) or pay more now and receive the best quality available (for you, heirloom archival prints and products that can last a lifetime and beyond). I have samples of all of my print products that you can touch and feel for yourself, so you know exactly what you are getting before you purchase. I also offer plenty of choices in size, color, and type that ensure even the most unique of homes can be accented by one of our products. Regardless if you order your prints through me, or Costco (the only consumer lab that I ever print at if I'm in a pinch for a head-shot or something simple) please print your photos. It's such a shame that so many of your beautiful images get lost in cyber-space somewhere when they really should be on your walls.