Don't Lose Your Photos!

Print them out now!

You can stop reading... That is really all I have to say if it is all stripped down to the most basic idea, but if you want to know why I want people to print their photos out read on.

We have lots of photos in our lives. In fact, there are far more than any time in the past as it gets easier and easier to compile them, but less and less are actually printed out in a physical form. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc… all are places where photos exist for varying lengths of time and are viewed by all our friends and family and possibly even some other people we don’t really know.  There is the potential that these digital photos could end up getting lost or destroyed as some recent articles have reported. So, what does this mean to those of us that have large amounts of these digital photos sitting around?

 I went to Santorini last year and had this printed recently as a 24x36. (Also, this is literally the same image that is used to represent the 'landscape' setting on the scene mode in my Sony camera!)

I went to Santorini last year and had this printed recently as a 24x36. (Also, this is literally the same image that is used to represent the 'landscape' setting on the scene mode in my Sony camera!)

Why should we care though?  Do the photos we take mean less because there are more of them? Are they replaceable because we can just re-take them instantly on a smartphone? 

I really believe that there are certain photos that mean more and deserve to be better preserved than sitting on a public server somewhere that may not exist in 10 years. The best and most valuable images that we create deserve better because they may not be instantly replaceable. Printing out all of the photos is expensive and unrealistic, but looking for our favorite ones and saving them in a physical representation could be something that our future selves may be glad we did!

I am also a big fan of printing big. It makes an impact on someone to see a wall sized image of something or someone. These large prints are expensive to make and hang so its not something to do with all of our photos. It costs a lot to make big impacts and it also costs a lot not to. If you are only making 4x6 prints then you are losing detail in the image because the physical size isn’t big enough to retain it all. Most prints are done at about 300 dpi which means it only holds enough detail to fully represent a 2 megapixel image. Even our smartphones make 8 megapixel images today! These big prints do cost us money, but when you walk into a room where your photo is taking up a large chunk of wall space the value can truly be seen.

 I printed this one as a 20x30 from a trip to Colorado last winter.

I printed this one as a 20x30 from a trip to Colorado last winter.

There is a lot about printing photos out there if you decide to make the jump into doing so. I would highly recommend doing exactly that. I hope that this was enough of a call to action to get one of you to start printing memories out. Our parents and grandparents have images of their lives stored away and they didn’t have the access to creating them like we do today. It really is easy to do and cheaper than it was 10 years ago. We don’t know what will happen to our digital files, but we can have a much better idea of what will happen to those that we print out and display in a more permanent way.

The four images above I have had printed out to the maximum size that is allowable for a recent photo competition because a big print is something that makes an impact on someone that can't be done with a similar image on a smaller print. I don't think a big print will make a bad photo great, but it will make a good photo look better. It says that this was worth making big and showing it on a scale that demonstrates its value.