Have you ever asked your friends what they would take with them during a house fire, or maybe a zombie apocalypse type situation? The most common reply I ever hear, other than perhaps a baseball bat to bash zombies with, is their photographs.
Sure you can’t use them to kill zombies like you could a fire poker but they are your memories on paper, in albums, flash drives or in frames. These are far more important to people than the possessions in their house. People redecorate, spring clean, move out and have fresh starts but pictures always stick around for the long haul.
But why prints vs digital files?
I love digital. It means I can shoot more frequently, practice more techniques and offer more to my clients. It means I can perfect a new skill without damage to my bank account and I can see what I’m shooting as I’m shooting it. There is something less magical about digital when compared to film however, which I think is because we’re seeing less and less prints. A lot of the enquiries that I get are only interested in obtaining digital files and I’m constantly afraid that those images sit on the flash drive, only get posted to facebook or get printed cheaply resulting in all the sharpness and colours being lost.
I’ve seen my images produced in many ways, I’ve seen them on facebook, in photo albums, in digital magazines, in print magazines, printed and framed. I have to say that nothing makes me giddier or more excited than seeing them in print. Being able to hold or hang my photographs, seeing the vibrant colours and studying the details makes me ridiculously happy.
I have seen some bad prints of course, the general cheap supermarket prints tend to be very dull and flat but you get what you pay for and while they are perfectly fine for Mum’s birthday snapshots or those holiday pics you took with a disposable waterproof, your most cherished memories deserve rich colours and lasting quality materials. After all, these are the copies of your photographs that will last the longest. With technology and trends changing constantly, who even knows how long facebook will last or how long your digital files will be accessible. Anyone remember floppy disks? Prints are tangible, portable and timeless.
There are many benefits to digital files of course, sharing your wedding pictures or family portraits is so easy, could you imagine having to scan 300 prints just to pop them on your facebook? No thank you! You can easily design wedding invitations with your engagement photos or have them on a slideshow on a digital photo frame. My favourite part about having digital files however, is that they are SO easy to back up and at the moment memory is really reasonably priced! Remember that fire we mentioned? Well if your digital files were backed up in several places you’d be sorted! A USB stick, an external hard drive and even online storage such as dropbox.com
So my advice? Backup your digital files as technology is ever changing, and if not through your photographer then make sure you get your wall/framed photographs printed through a really good professional lab. Your pictures are important, they’re an investment, they will last longer than the expensive pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on or that new phone you just have to have… they deserve to be treated with care and consideration.
Which do you prefer, and why?