Recently I was asked to find a baby photo of myself. Searching through boxes of albums and loose photos of our family life and my childhood was such a field day. Aside from school photos and the occasional family wedding, none of the images were professional. These 4×6 memories of my sister and I, Bridy’s big brown eyes and my three-year-old self’s braided blonde hair. So many memories in those Kodak printed images with dates and names handwritten on the back of each of them, in the days of film where an image needed to be printed to be appreciated.
Moments like this get me thinking. About photography and the images I’m capturing for families to pour over in the future. About the fact that living in a digital world has made it less and less urgent to print our images because the files can find a home on Facebook, Instagram, and our harddrives. I’m one of the guilty ones, who stores all of my personal photographs in a folder on my desktop, who posts them to Facebook, sends them in emails, but never gets around to printing them. As a photographer who spends so much time working on images for other people, I admit that it takes more effort to print images of and for my family maybe than it would if I weren’t a photographer. Maybe it’s because we’re often the ones behind the camera, capturing special moments for others.
Photographs are not designed to live on a DVD, USB or an online gallery. Prints matter. They matter for us. For our children. For our grandchildren. One day they’ll look at photographs of their grandparents’ wedding day, knowing those two souls have a story worth sharing.
Maybe the lack of prints these days is due to the chaos of everyday life. Maybe it’s a result of being overwhelmed – your wedding photographer sends you 500 images from your wedding day, and you’re thinking “how on earth am I ever going to choose which ones to frame?” Or maybe you don’t know where to print your images.
Here’s some encouragement – just do it.
Locally we have some great professional printers where you can order online and either get the prints delivered or pick up. The quality is top notch and much, much, much better than what you’d find at a department store.
So, from a photographer trying to change her own ways… Do yourself a favour when you get home tonight, take 20 minutes to pick out 10 photos you’ve been meaning to print. Then go online and make it happen. Tonight. Just do it.