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Ep 032 “I Just Want The Digital Photos”

Mar 9, 2022 | PODCAST

I just want the digital photos, it’s a statement that gets made to me all the time when people are enquiring about a photography session with me. 

It makes me shudder to be perfectly honest. 

The main reason you don’t just want digital photos, and the three reasons you do want printed photos are inextricably linked. Let me explain.

Listen here:

Read on:

When I started this podcast, one of my most popular episodes was titled, The Lost Century of Images, and I explored all the different ways that we are potentially losing images. In this episode, I want to directly address why you don’t just want the digital files of your photographs.

The main problem as I see is that we’re just not printing those images.

We’re not creating the albums. We’re not, popping them in a little frame. They are just sitting on our devices and potentially being lost because technology is moving so fast. 

There is a high chance we won’t be able to access those files in a few years’ time or not easily, shall we say it might be possible at great expense. And how many people are going to bother?

There’s something about holding your photograph, that is very sentimental, but you are not gonna go into the loft and discover old phones or old computers and think, oh, I must work out how to download the hard drive and see if I can find some photos from 20 years ago are you? I guess some might, but I’ll guess the majority, won’t it, they’ll just be gone. 

Leather sofa with a framed family photo above

And, and that’s what worries me when people say, I just want digital photos, because I know from talking to clients that nine times out of 10, they won’t get printed, so that means they are already lost.

I don’t want you to get 10 years down the line and you can’t access your digital only photographs.

In the old days, we kept the negatives for a few years, but that’s just not possible with digital files. The cloud storage costs are astronomical. So even though I can do backups to a hard drive, hard drives really only have a lifespan of two to three years before they fail. 

These are things you don’t think about. And that’s why I’m highlighting it and encouraging you to think about it. 

You plan to print your digital photos

You probably think you’ll print your own, but the reality is life is busy and you probably won’t get around to it, and then you’ll feel guilty.

Hands up if you have ever dumped your holiday photos onto the computer, promising yourself that you’ll make an album – only to never look at them again? I know it’s not just me.

After nearly 20 years as a professional photographer and quickly learning that clients rarely print their digital photos, I stopped offering digital-only packages.

Bedroom room set with family portrait over the bed head

Not because I am mean, but because I care enough to want you to be able to enjoy those images in 10 years time.

  1. Technology is rapidly changing. A print will always be accessible.
  2. You’ll probably want to have a few photos up around the house – it is what makes a house a home
  3. Plus you wanted to capture these memories – this chapter of family life so you can remember forever.

So in 10 years’ time do you want to discover a box of printed photos or USB/CD’s? Holding a photo in your hand trumps a probably by then inaccessible USB/CD.

So for me, the process of curating your photos is:

Step 1 – What do I want to print to display at home AND print it.

Step 2 – Do I want to put the best of the rest in an album? And if yes, create it. Don’t put it off.

Step 3 – Then I safely back up everything in 2 locations.

Let me know your thoughts by commenting under the episode post on social media @photographsinashoebox


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graphic for the chinese proverb one picture is worth ten thousand words
“One picture is worth ten thousand words” Chinese proverb
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