Do You Print Your Photos?

In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the importance of backing up your digital images.  All of the methods I described there show how your cherished photos can be preserved in the event of a hard drive failure or other technical disaster.  But there's another important way we can back up our photographs and ensure that they are enjoyed for generations to come: printing.

It might seem strange to suggest printing photos as a novel idea, but in the digital era a huge percentage of pictures only exist in memory, most often viewed and shared on tiny screens.  Even the cheapest smartphones today boast at least a 3 megapixel sensor, which is easily large enough to yield 5x7" prints.

A favorite photo I shot back in 1990. Earlier this year I finally ordered a large print for our living room, and now I enjoy seeing it every day.

There's something special about printing photos that sets them apart from digital images.  You can put your favorite photos in nice frames or just tack them up on your cubicle wall at work.  Arrange them on the wall like an album, so whenever you need a breather at your desk you can just sit back for a moment and enjoy them.  Those faces and places from yesteryear will remind you of happy memories every day of the year.

There is a sense in which a picture doesn't become a true photograph until it's been applied to paper, where it becomes something tangible in the physical universe instead of existing as a mere file on a storage device.  It's fun to flip through photos on your phone but the experience is too fleeting to savor.

If, like many people, your pictures are stored primarily on your smart phone, businesses like Mpix.com and Walgreens now offer apps that let you select and send photos straight from your phone for printing - you don't even need a computer!  So what are you waiting for?