The other day, I was searching through my desk at home and discovered an old hard drive that I remember buying way back in high school. I specifically remember purchasing it because at that time, I was running out of space on my laptop and needed more room to store my school-related documents and other things, including photos.
At that time in my life, I was still shooting film regularly, and after every roll, I would go to the one-hour photo lab to have the pictures developed. When I purchased an old Canon DSLR and switched to digital in 2007, I rejoiced in the fact that I would no longer have to pay to have film developed, and I now had an endless supply of “digital film,” since memory cards could hold so many images.
When I started browsing through the hard drive, I noticed many of the folders were dated almost ten years ago. They chronicled events at my high school, photos of my family, friends who I don’t see anymore, our family dog Shannon, and things I’d forgotten I had done all those years ago. While looking through these images, I found myself wishing that I had printed them a long time ago—maybe not all of them, but some of them. Some made me emotional to look at, and I felt a little disconnected and awkward staring at my bygone days on the computer screen.
Digital images are really nothing but 1s and 0s in binary code—there is nothing tangible about that image. Hard drives crash and CDs expire, and when those items expire, so will your digital photos. Digital media is only in its infant stages and hasn’t proven the test of time.
On the other hand, printed photographs are physical pieces of paper, and depending on the quality of the paper, can last many lifetimes. Go to your parents’ attic, basement, or any antique store and you will find photographs from centuries ago. Do you think 100 years from now, people will be discovering old hard drives and flash drives in antique malls? If those items do wind up at such stores, they will likely not work because they have a lifespan.
What I failed to realize when I went digital and ceased printing photos was that holding a picture in your hand is more sentimental than staring at one on a computer screen. A photo album can be passed around the dinner table. Prints can be framed and put on a shelf as a reminder of a special moment or given as a gift. Nowadays, we often use smartphones as a replacement for physical photographs, but scrolling through images of a holiday gathering on a smartphone is not nearly as nostalgic as looking through a stack of prints that’s curled at the corners from so much viewing.
These are images from the 2016 Festa Italiana, which is a Maffioli family and Rockford area tradition. My family has been printing photos from Festa for ages, long since I was born.
If I’ve convinced you well enough to print your photos, now I must make a case for the importance of purchasing quality prints.
We always suggest that our clients purchase prints directly from our website, and we do this because various photo labs yield different results. Photography services can cost a pretty penny…why would you pay for professional-grade photos to have them printed at a drugstore? The photo lab that we work with, Bay Photo, is a professional photo lab that meets all of our expectations for the printing quality of our images; color, clarity, paper construction, printing quality on non-paper mediums (canvas, metallic), and photo finishes (lustre, glossy, matte, pearl) are not up to par at every photo lab, but Bay Photo has never let us down.
When you think of all the expenses that go into a wedding, the photography service is one investment that will have an impact long after the day has passed. The dinner and cake have been eaten, the music has been played, the flowers have wilted, but the photographs will still remain. If you expect them to last forever, make sure you have them printed. You and your spouse—and future generations—will be glad you did.