The world is becoming more digital. This is pretty cool to me. I like the fact that I can buy only my favorite songs and store them on my ipod, rather than purchasing an entire album. Or take pictures, and immediately view them on my camera. I mean…do you remember film? You take an entire roll of photos, blindly, then develop them all at once to find some of them to be blurry, dark, red-eyed, cut-off etc. I took my entire trips’ worth of photos, when I went to Italy, on film (disposable!) cameras. With a nice digital camera, it is so much more efficient and satisfying to know that I’ve got a good picture before taking it to the photocenter to be printed, that now it seems almost unfathomable to document an important event with a film camera.
Here’s the problem I see with digital cameras, though: pictures are not being printed. Printed? Why would you waste the time, energy, money, and resources to print pictures when they are so easily able to be enjoyed on a laptop, ipad, or phone? That’s a good question. A very good question, that I’ve often asked myself when making my frequent trips to the photocenter to print some off. To be perfectly honest, I do not really have a logical answer. The reasons to not print pictures and view/store them digitally ACTUALLY outweigh the reason to print them. Here are a few: 1) Money–It costs money to print pictures! 2) Time–With everything else going on in the world, printing pictures is just one more “thing” that gets tacked onto the ‘ol to do list. 3) Ease of viewing–no one packs around a photo album these days..
…and after careful deliberation, I can only come up with ONE (yes, I said it, one) reason to continue printing photographs:
Pictures are better enjoyed unplugged.
Here’s where we may go our separate ways, but hear me out. Computers (all types: ipad, laptops, etc.) are used for almost everything these days. Work, school, correspondence, social networking, watching movies, playing games, reading news, researching, and (in my personal opinion the most popular,) wasting time. It’s like this one vessel is used to turn us into a schizophrenic mess. We might get up in the morning, turn on the coffee, fire up the old laptop, with a pure motive to just read the morning “paper.” Only to find ourselves, twenty minutes later, with fifteen tabs open, instant messaging. pinning this, bouncing from here to there to Kalamazoo leaving us thinking: what-kind-of-morning-is-this!? Same goes with photos for me.
Can’t you just picture it? New years eve, an entire family curled up by the fire to look at photos of the past year. Their accomplishments, how much they’ve changed, their memories…all while gathered around a laptop. That’s special.
Now before you go on thinking I’m being a total picture snob here, this may work for some people, if it does that’s great.
I just find it too easy for a special family moment, of enjoying photographs and telling stories, to be ruined by “hey, did you see that YouTube video?” It’s just too simple to open up the internet browser with the computer screen glaring in your face. It think it may be some type of psychological tick that is developing within society. With electronics shut down and put away, a photo album is just that. You open it, you look at photos. You go slower. This is good. Even when I am alone looking at pictures, I prefer to only look at the ones that are in my album because they are my favorite. I printed them because they tell a story. In ten years they will say that “so and so still had hair”, or “she was such a perfect baby.”
I understand that with print photos there could be some major disaster leaving all your precious albums ruined and gone forever, but the same could go for digital photos if they are not stored (and backed up) properly.
Remember what I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with digital photographs themselves…they’re awesome! They allow us to have way more pictures than we would ever print by storing all photos (even the bad ones) on a computer. By backing them up in a couple different places, it’s not the end of the world if some of your albums get water damaged. They are still there.
Albums are just a way to enjoy photos. This brings me to the “how in the heck do I start printing pictures, now.? I’ve got years worth (thousands of photos!) stored in my computer!”
I suggest starting small.
1) Get organized–if they are not already, put your photos into separate folders based on the event and year. Mine look like this: “2013 Valentine’s Day” or “2012 Mom’s Birthday.” That way, by having the year first, I already know what album they go into (because I organize mine annually). I just have to organize them chronologically according to the event in the year. This might be tough especially if the photos go five years back. Just try your hardest to get them in some kind of order. You can organize by person, event, year, season, month, etc. Your choice!
2) If you haven’t already start your 2013 album. Only four months this year have elapsed, that shouldn’t be too tough to organize just 2013. Once you are all caught up for this year, move back to 2012. …and keep going.
3) Have fun!–Pick a photo albums that you like. If you have the patience to scrapbook (unlike me) go for it! These make beautiful albums. There are so many options now. Or on Shutterfly.com you can make personal albums with the pictures printed right on the page.
The best way to start printing your photos is to make it a priority, and just get started.