Did you know that having printed pictures of your children hanging on your walls sends a powerful message to them of their importance and increases their self esteem? True story! There have been studies on this very topic and it has been proven that viewing images of themselves increases a child’s feelings of self worth.
It’s sad to say that countless times I have run into clients who have confessed to me that they never did anything with the digital images I carefully prepared for them documenting their session months or even years after the fact. What they may not know or even think about is that digital files are not archival. Professionally printed images are. Fact. You can expect a digital file to have a life expectancy of 10-20 years if stored properly. Professionally printed images are archival to 100 years or more.
The safest place for your images is to print them.
You can always make a new digital image from a print. You cannot however print from a corrupted file.
What happens when your hard drive or CD/DVD fails (and it will in time)? If you haven’t backed up those images you may have lost every image of your child’s life. The average life span of a hard drive is 5-8 years. Add to that the fact that technology makes media file types obsolete over time. New computers don’t even have CD drives anymore so even if your files manage to last the maximum 20 years the technology of tomorrow may not support these file types.
Talk about risk!
This is irreplaceable data. I don’t know how I’d recover from such tragedy. True, I may value images more than the average person but think about how you would feel with no visual documentation of your child’s life.
Our oldest son was recently paging through one of my many photo albums with a huge smile on his face. This particular album was of our honeymoon in Costa Rica. A week or two later out of nowhere he asked me if I could go anywhere in the world where would I choose. I answered, “Brazil” and then asked him the same. He said, “Costa Rica!” I had forgotten about the photo album and said, “Oh really? Why is that?” To which he exclaimed, “It just looked like you and Dad had so much fun there from those pictures! And it was so beautiful!” This exchange really has got me thinking so much about how important it is to print your pictures.
So many people value digital files more than anything when it’s the print that should be of utmost importance. I understand how fun it is to share digital images on social media but ultimately if you do not print your images they will eventually go away.
What is so tragic to me is that the most photographed generation is likely to have no pictures in 10-20 years.
It has been estimated that more photographs have been taken in the last five years than in all previous years combined since the invention of the camera but how many of them have been printed? The risk of losing them all takes less than a house fire or natural disaster. Merely a corrupted hard drive will do the trick.
In this digital age we have more pictures of those we love than we ever have in the past but printing them often gets put on the back burner. In our home you will find photographs. Real prints you can touch and feel. These little snippets of our lives unfold before us and make us giggle, tease each other, cry. It’s all in that printed image for anyone to see. There’s no wondering, “Can my computer read this file?”
As we are all part of this digital revolution, I’d love for you to take a moment to reflect. Where are YOUR photographs? What will happen when your future grandchild climbs into your lap and asks to see a photograph of their mom. Will you have to hand them an obsolete piece of plastic? How will that make you feel?
And to take it a step further if you are in fact printing your images HOW are you printing them? Will that Shutterfly album hold up decades down the line? Beautiful images can be easily ruined by a bad printing job. Check the archival quality of your photo printing services.
Stay tuned for a follow up blog post on some easy steps to take to ensure your memories are preserved including some helpful organizing tips!
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