Prints vs. Digital: Why printed photographs are important


Disclosure: There are links to products and services in this post. There are NO affiliate links. I do not get compensated by these companies if you click on these links. I just believe in these products and want to share them with you.

I truly believe that the printed photograph has power. It has value and is exciting!

I print all the photographs I take. Even the ones I take with my cell phone. Let me tell you why.

Prints have longevity.

Printed photographs are heirloom items. They hold the power to start conversation, to bring people closer, to elicit emotion. They have the ability to document a story. My story. My Facebook feed doesn't tell my story. Facebook isn't beautiful. The photo album on my phone is temporary. It's not exciting. It's for split-second mini moments.

My printed photo albums are forever. They are impactful. They are tangible memories. 

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Prints are exciting!

I don't sit down with my kids in front of the computer and relive our family vacations. My guests don't ask to sit with my iPad and look at my son's birthday party photos. Don't get me wrong, I use Facebook to share photos with long distance family members. It is a great way to share moments and milestones - for a minute. Then it's over.

I sit down with my kids and a volume from their lives. We flip through 4x6 prints that show them what they looked like as a baby, that reminds them of that time we played in the rain, that brings back the joy of getting  ice cream from the ice cream truck! They see pictures of mommy and daddy getting married.

My walls are filled with large and small photos from our lives. On a busy day I can glance up and see a photo that reminds me of a time, reminds me of a feeling, and reminds me to smile! The photos on my wall remind my kids of how important they are in our family. 

My fridge is covered with snapshots and portraits. Every time I grab the milk, I get a reminder of a happy memory. When my son goes in the kitchen to get a snack, he sees photos of him being loved.

Digital photos are just temporary storage.

You need to think of digital photos as temporary storage. They are a way to get from our session or your vacation or first day of school to your walls and photo albums. CDs, USBs, and hard drives do not last forever. The cloud fails to back up. You lose your phone. Thieves like electronics, not photo albums.

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Free the photos! 

You need to free your photos from your phone and hard drive! Our children will be the most photographed generation with the fewest photos to show for it. There are incredible applications like Chatbook and Artifact Uprising. They link your phone's photo stream or a social media account to their services and print off books automatically once you reach a certain number. You can start a subscription and photo books will just start arriving to your door! (The links are not affiliate links, I just like these companies.)

If you want to create traditional photo albums with smaller prints or photo books with images, I recommend Mpix and PinHole Press. (Again, these are not affiliate links, I use these print labs on a regular basis for my personal photographs and I believe in their quality!)  The key here is to use quality, professional-level labs which produce printed products that will last you a lifetime.

A good print lab will produce prints with long term survival capability!

Shutterfly and other labs that offer super cheap and even free prints are great for the pocketbook, but their photos will fade. The ink will smear off. And they won't even print out with the right colors to begin with. Think quality over quantity when it comes to your photographs. If you're ordering prints that you had professionally taken, don't go cheap. The colors will NOT match the color profile in the image and they will come out looking cheap. You spent all that money on a professional photographer, you want something beautiful to show for it!

I believe in print.

By photography business reflects my personal values on the power of photography and the importance of printed photographs. My three main packages come with both digital and printed images. Why? Because my clients find value in both, and so do I. Digital images are a great way to share photos with family and friends that live far away. And if you are a military family like me, all your family is far away! I send photos to a Pix-Star Photo frame that sits in my parent's house. The digital photos I email to this frame is a way to instantly share moments and also a way to keep photos up in your house. I also use digital images to create our family Christmas card (which I always order from Mpix!). These are ways that digital images come in handy.

But I don't look at digital images everyday. Once they are scrolled past and liked on Facebook, I don't see them again. There is no longevity in digital images. I don't get excited to look at a photo on an iPad.

Why I offer print products.

I offer printed photos because I believe in print. Printed photos will be looked at every day. Prints will last you a lifetime and will be heirloom items passed down from generation to generation. You can't do that with a USB stick or CD. What will the computers and laptops look like in 20 years? Most already don't have a CD drive. What if your photos are trapped on a USB drive forever? You'll have nothing to show the grandkids. No photos to share of the time that was. These photographs are your story. Show them the respect and care that they deserve. 

So hang those photos you paid so much for on your walls! That family photo will be your most priceless work of art! Free the photos from your phone and start a collection of books that you can sit and reminisce with. Send those photos from your vacation to Mpix and start the photo album that your great grand kids will find in a box in the attic one day. Imagine the joy they will have to sit and look at their family history. These photos are your legacy! 

What you can expect with Jenelle Botts Photography

I back up and then back up again all the images from your gallery. They are stored locally on my hard drive as well as in online storage. And of course they are uploaded to Pic Time for you to view and order from. This is costly but it is important. I will keep your images stored for 1 year. Then they will be archived. Pic Time will allow you to download your gallery to your hard drive as well as to Google Photos. I recommend that you do both.

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Each of my three main packages come with heirloom quality, professionally printed photos from your gallery. The canvas wrap is printed with archival ink on museum-quality canvas. This isn't just marketing fluff. This is important! The cheapy canvas prints that you can get on groupon are ok. I've ordered them before. But the color doesn't always turn out and over time the canvas will begin to sag. They won't last forever. The 5x7 and 8x10 wall prints included in the packages are printed on professional photo paper for the highest quality and long-lasting print by a professional photo lab.

You guys, these are going to look gorgeous on your walls!