You’re washing dishes, listening to a podcast with your phone propped up near the sink. Or you’re out of the house and have to run to the restroom, your phone precariously secure in your back pocket. And the all-too-often, unthinkable thing happens. Your phone falls in the water. What about the pictures you took of your daughter’s recital yesterday?! When is the last time your data was backed up to the cloud? Or to your computer?
There may not be 87 reasons listed here, but there should be enough to convince you that it is important to get those photos (and all other important data) off of your phone, your camera, your hard drive, your external hard drive, your thumb drive, those CDs you’ve purchased from photographers, etc. . . and onto your walls, your desk, and into your family’s hands. Really, if a picture is worth a thousand words, and you print out enough images, there are millions of reason!
Reason #1: technology changes
Remember floppy disks? A drives? VHS? CD-Roms even! Digital storage has become the new way to hoard, but technology is not constant. In fact, it is constantly changing and updating. You cannot guarantee that your current storage device will be compatible with newer technology and not corrupted when you want to access your images in the future.
If you print out your images on archival paper, those images will last for generations — literally hundreds of years. No technology needed.
Reason #2: (bad) things happen
- your phone is damaged
Even if you keep current with your data storage, that doesn’t guarantee that it will always be safe. Think about the residents of Houston and California and the flooding and fires they’ve been through. Unless you’ve planned for it, I’m guessing all your data storage is not waiting at the front door, ready to be swooped out during an emergency evacuation. And what about if your phone or computer is stolen? Unless your data is in the cloud you might lose everything for ever (once again, when is the last time your data was backed up to the cloud?). Even the “cloud” is just storage on someone else’s hard drive.
It is because of disaster situations that I recommend printing out as many photos as you can/want, and also having multiple data storage systems as backups (see my blog post that I wrote about backing up your data).
Reason #3: how often do you scroll through your digital images?
As I mentioned above, digital hoarding has become the new way to collect. If you are like me or my kids, you take pictures of the big moments, but also of all of the small moments as well. All of them. And then who takes the time to scroll back through all the images of lunches and car window shots and Starbucks drinks?
And don’t you just love finding an old box of pictures? We love looking at old photographs of family members. That sentimentality and connection to the past is lost if there aren’t pictures to look through.
This is the biggest reason to me to print your images. Even if they’re all not hung on your walls or displayed on your desk, you have a physical record of your life, your children’s lives, your family, your friends, your pets. My kids, especially when they were younger, would love to pull a photo album off the shelf and ask to look through it with us. They never once asked me to scroll through the images on my hard drive.
What to do?
Don’t begin a printing project that will immediately overwhelm you.
- Take a minute to write down important dates/events that you remember taking pictures of.
- Write down the names of people/relationships that you’ve captured.
Start with those two categories and look back through your phone, camera, and data storage to find those. Get the best or most meaningful ones printed. 4×6 or 5×7 sizes should be fine unless you want to display them.
Then maybe once a month go through a certain amount of images and print out the ones that mean the most to you.
Find a photo-safe way to store your prints: albums and photo boxes are a great way to keep the photographs close at hand, but also organized.
In the end. . .
Think of printed photographs as just another way of backing up and storing your images. It’s the most sentimental way, for sure, but it’s most likely the longest lasting method as well.
Need help and not sure where to start? Drop me a line and I can help you figure it out!