12.07.2011

Heirlooms and Hard Drives | Why it is Important to Print Your Images

In today's digital revolution, we are finding new and exciting ways to share our images. Social media has allowed us to share special moments with speed and ease and I love it. I am one of the rogue photographers out there that truly believes that clients should have access to their digital files. There are a million different ways to share memories, but at the end of the day, print media is still the only sure fire way to make sure your memories last a lifetime.

Why it is important to print your images
Think about it, what if ten years ago, your parents had kept all of your family photos on floppy disks? What would you have now? Photographs, like memories, are meant to be passed along from generation to generation. Your parent's wedding, your first day of school, your brace faced prom night-- all of these things up until recently had been printed out and are easily tangible images.

It is important to think of memories as heirlooms. Heirlooms are passed down and no matter how hard you try, you can't pass down a hard drive, a digital cloud, or even a website to your own grandchildren.

This is why I believe albums to be the most important investment in your photographic arsenol. It allows you to pass down a collection of images that tell a story about a moment in time in your lives. It isn't just a 4x6 print left in a box, it is something that can be put on a book shelf and proudly displayed and shared with the special people in our lives.

I like to think of our family fun shoots as an experience rather than an exercise in getting photographs. What better way to show an experience than a story? That is why my albums(both print and digital) are called storybooks. They are the story of your family. Each image is a special chapter, but together as a whole, all of the images tell the story of our time together. I myself am guilty of still not making my wedding album. I come up with a different reason every week, but my new years resolution is to start creating albums for my own family as well as my clients. How many months have gone by since you said you were going to create an album for your family heirloom?

Pro Printing Sites vs. Costco/Target/Walgreens/Ritz Camera
So I have you convinced now that you need to print your images(as well as back them up to a cloud...but that is another post to be written). A frequent question I get asked by clients is "Where should I print my images?"

I believe that both professional printing sites and consumer printing options have a place in everyday life. The bottom line though is that a professional printing lab will result in the best quality possible of your images. The paper, the ink, the process, the packaging....all of these things are advanced, and yes, slightly more expensive.

I personally use a site called "SmugMug" to deliver and offer printing options for my clients. The reason I love SmugMug is because it is the best of both worlds.  It allows my clients to both share their images electronically with social media AND gives them access to affordable professional printing at a reasonable price point. Is it more expensive than Costco/Target/Walgreens/Ritz Camera? Absolutely. Is it dramatically more expensive than those places? No

If you took some pictures with your point and shoot on a recent trip to the playground, by all means, pop over to Target and print out some pictures to mail to your parents or put in a small frame on your desk. I even have some pictures I printed on my home inkjet printer displayed in our house. The most important tip to using a consumer lab is to make sure they do not auto color correct your images for you. I have seen way too many people look like ooompa loompas or green aliens thanks to various places.

In terms of "special" pictures, it is my opinion that if you took the time to hire a professional photographer, spent weeks trying to find the perfect outfits, and truly love and appreciate your images, then printing them properly and professionally is the final touch your memories deserve.