First, prints are a great way to just plain tell the story of your life. You can’t do that and share with your friends and family if they are sitting on a hard-drive somewhere. Printing photographs and sharing them in albums and in frames is a great way to tell others what is going on in your life. An example, my mother-in-law has every photograph ever taken cataloged and stored in an album. It makes it easy for us to look up a particular family event or to see what the family was doing in any particular year. As a side-note: make sure your albums are high quality, acid-free albums and not cheap knockoffs that will damage and destroy your prints.
With Facebook and email, sending digital photographs around the world is easy. Personally, I think that printing and physically sending photographs is a nice touch and is a much nicer way to say “I think and care about you enough to send you a photograph.” Once again, printed photographs are a good way to share your life, whether it is a wedding or other event, a family vacation, or just a random photograph of the kids; printed photographs allow you to pass memories on to family and friends. And as we grow older, those memories will last forever (if printed on quality paper using quality ink).
Printed photos are also a great way to back up your digital collection. We all have stories of computers and hard-drives failing and losing photographs. Don’t let this happen! By printing, at least you have a some sort of backup that can be stored away and pulled out for scanning should the need arise. Of course, always back-up your digital photo collection on high-quality discs and external hard-drives.
Do you have a photograph hanging on a wall or in frame on your desk? Of course you do and if you don’t you probably know someone who does. The point is that photographs make great decorations for your home or office. Printed enlargements of cool, artistic photographs you’ve taken or a custom canvas print (not the cheap “Costco-like” canvas) make for a more impressive display.
Finally, I have to say that sometimes we just plain miss prints. Photographs can take us all the way back to our childhood and return us to a simpler day of sharing memories, before we had social media and email. Printed photographs can invoke much more emotion than staring at a computer screen can and by holding a photograph in your hand it makes the memory that much more real and tangible.
Having said all that, in today’s depressing economy spending money on anything is an issue. So it would not be surprising that the cost can play a significant factor in this decision. Not that long ago, prints were relatively expensive (usually coupled with the cost of film development) but in today’s technologically advanced times, 4×6 prints often cost less than 20 centsÂ (I know of a printer in my area that sells them for 13 cents). Given the fact that the significance of a photograph can last forever and that photos make excellent gifts for just about everyone in your life, spending what amounts to pocket change minimizes cost as an issue.
I hope that this provides a little insight into the question of printing photographs. As always, my hope is that these posts answers or inspires you somewhat. Please don’t hesitate to provide me with feedback or with a comment, funny story, or whatever (except links to third-party websites).
Blessings and happy shooting!