Photography is an amazing hobby, a fun past time that’s been with us for over 100 years. When we look back at those old photographs that family members have left behind, the feel, the smell, the experience and the emotion these images bring us is unparalleled. History in your hands, a person, a place, an old car, a moment of laughter and a moment of sadness.
Photographers spend thousands these days on equipment. The latest digital cameras, the latest lenses, the latest tripods. Capturing stunning images of their favourite subject and more. Non-photographers have mobile phones with extraordinary cameras on them and catch just as amazing images. The general connection between both types of photography is that they will take the photos and then they’ll be stored on a hard drive, on a phone, on some recordable media or ever increasingly in the cloud on one of Google or Amazon’s huge servers.
Going back to the very first paragraph, you should already see the difference and what is missing from your photography experience. Poll after poll, conversation after conversation suggests that people just don’t print images enough, if at all anymore.
I’ve already written an exhaustive article on the importance of printing, but it’s more than that. Your printer, or your work printed off is the finalisation of all your photography. It’s the point when the image gets taken from the virtual realm, to reality. A physical copy that will far outlast a digital image, and be far more pleasurable to view.
As I mentioned before, “Your digital images will have a lifespan of interest of anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days depending on where they are on the internet. A printed image lasts forever. Your grandchildren will be able to pick up your photo album and admire your images many years after you have gone. Your digital prints will be gone from memory days after you’ve shared them.”
It really is that simple, we’re so used to a world of disposable items, that for many, photography is disposable. No thought is given to the images once they’ve been taken. If anything happens to you, chances are people and family will never check out your computer, not have access to your storage, not know your passwords or their way around your computer.
So, the most important part of photography is also the oldest part of photography. Print your images. Forget the next lens, filter or tripod and buy yourself a printer. When you get photos you like print them. Print family photos off even more often, as some day today images will be the only memories you have left. Cut out photos and put them in your wallet or purse, fill photo frames with your images and most importantly, never rely on digital images to represent your work or your past. As far as you might have taken them, they can be gone just as quickly.
Of course, you could do it the old fashioned way and use a film camera. That’s an amazing way to capture things as they really capture the moment. It’s a reason I love my Instax Mini 70 and SQ6 cameras even more than my Olympus and Canon film cameras as I get the images instantly. No editing, no choosing the best image, just the image you’ve taken, and with no excuse not to have the printed version!
So, if you haven’t done it yet, buy a printer, and more importantly use the printer! If you haven’t got the room for a printer, send your images off to be printed, there are plenty of places that print off dozens of images for a few pounds. Make your photography come alive, find the love and the reason why your taking photographs again. Print!!!!
* I know this is the age we live, and you might not really care, but just think for a moment about your family and friends, if you have a body of work, think about how easy it will be for others to see it when you’re gone. Nothing, not your phone screen, or the most expensive 8k OLED monitor, comes close to your images being printed.