My father was a high school math teacher. Occasionally he would take me to school with him during summer vacation, when he was preparing his classroom for the fall. We would stop at his office, in the teacher's area above the library, and there on his desk were printed and framed photos of me and my brothers. I felt so important to be on my dad's desk!
At home there were photos of us on the fridge, in frames on shelves, and filling albums. My father also has a whole collection of slide reels. All of those photos still exist today, and I still look at them.
Children who are growing up now are part of the most photographed generation ever. Thanks to cell phones with cameras and affordable digital cameras, parents take countless photos of their children. Digital photography has changed the face of professional photography, including how images are delivered. A CD or DVD or USB drive is a lot smaller than a photo album and can make accessing photos easier.
But let me ask you this. Where do your photos REALLY live?
Do you have a CD from your family photo shoot four years ago in a drawer, but no prints on your wall to prove it? Do you have a camera roll full of photos of your kids, your pets, and your adventures, but all they do is sit on their phone? Do you think, ah, they're digital...they'll be around forever?"
Well, I'm here to give you the truth. Those photos won't be around forever. Digital media becomes obsolete (remember floppy disks?), phones crash, things happen. As a RI children's photographer, I always advocate printing your photos to all my clients (and not just photos that I took!), and this is part of why I am mainly a print-based photographer.
A child seeing photos of themselves and their family on the walls and in albums gives them a sense of happiness and belonging. That's something you just can't argue with. So, I've put together a few tips for both preserving and printing your photos so they can live on walls, in frames, and in albums.
Backing up digital photos
It's important to have a backup of your digital photos, so that you can still access them in case of phone failure, hard drive failure, or media becoming obsolete. There are a number of options. If you have an iPhone, you can store your photos in the cloud. Consider putting photos from your phone, DVDs, or USBs onto your computer and backing up onto an external hard drive. There are also online backup or storage solutions. For example, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can store an unlimited number of photos free with their Prime Photos service.
Printing your photos
If you have digital photos from a professional photographer, or have your own photos that you've taken with a DSLR or other digital camera, getting prints through a quality lab will make all the difference vs photos printed at CVS, Walgreens, Snapfish, Shutterfly, or the like. I recommend a lab like Mpix or Nations Photo Lab. These labs have a wide variety of products including traditional prints, canvases, metal prints, and photo albums and books, and use professional printing techniques so your products will look awesome. Note that many pro labs also have apps or services that allow you to upload and print phone photos as well. Phone photos will usually print very well up to about 8x10.
Picaboo has a wide variety of products, but I am particularly in love with their photo books and calendars. I'm picky about who I use for printing, but their books and calendars passed my test. I use them for making photo books of my travels, and calendars that I give as Christmas gifts each year. Picaboo also has an app that makes it easy to use phone photos in your projects if you wish to do so.
There are also a number of apps available that make printing phone photos, photo books, and other products very easy; one example is Print Studio for iPhones.
If you have a favorite place for printing your photos that is not mentioned above, let me know in the comments! In the meantime, make sure that you are printing those photos that you love so they live on your walls.