observed by Diane » photo journal for those who enjoy vignettes of an ordinary life

Printed Photographs are Gifts

An image in hand can touch your heart more deeply than an image on a computer screen. Printed photographs are gifts.” ~Meredith Wynn

I am a strong advocate for getting photographs PRINTED and not leaving them to languish (or eventually disappear) on hard drives, CDs, or memory cards. How long will it be before these storage mediums go the way of the floppy disk and becomes obsolete? Or your hard drive crashes? How many precious pictures and memories will be lost?


Thankfully, I’m not alone in this but I’m aware that most people these days do not get their photos printed out. Here’s a quote from someone else who feels strongly about getting photographs printed, “Printing your images is something everyone should do. Don’t rely on your computer to save them. By printing your images it is just another way to back up your images. I was putting them in a photo box so why not take a few extra minutes to display them for friends and family to flip through.Courtney at Click it Up a Notch.

Wendy Grant, an incredibly talented photographer in the UK has also written about the importance of printed photos as a family heirloom.

TIP: Your home snapshots are safest when printed out; don’t leave them on discs or your computer hard drive! Get them printed and, even if they are in photo boxes, you will still have them to pass down to your children. I recommend taking them to a professional photo lab for the best quality and it’s much more economical than printing your own.


By putting your printed photos in a scrapbook or album you document a period of time or event in yours and your family’s life that lasts for decades.  Decades beyond your life they become family heirlooms to be handed down from one generation to the next. I still love pulling out my parents’ wedding album, my mom’s photo albums, even my own wedding album and flipping through the pages and memories. If we don’t get our pictures printed and put into albums (or photo boxes), what will happen if the hard drive crashes? What will happen if the disks are corrupted or damaged? What will happen if admin at Facebook ‘accidently’ lose your photos (since they’re already selling some of them for their own profit)? What will our children and grandchildren have to hold in their hands, look through, and enjoy? Sure we can still watch the images on slideshows and computer screens but nothing beats having those images in a physical album.

If you’re not interested in scrapbooking or creating an album, a great alternative is making a book from your digital images. There are so many different companies now that offer a really nice quality book. I love the ones I’ve had made for our family by Apple. If you use an Apple computer it’s easy peasy but you don’t need to own an Apple to get their books made. A lot of people are also using Blurb and Shutterfly for getting books made with their photographs. It’s so easy to do because the work is done for you — you simply insert the photos into your choice of template and it comes out beautifully professional. These books also make fantastic gifts for parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, or as Father’s Day or Mother’s Day gifts too.

IDEAS for Creating Books from your Digital Images:

  • Year in Review
  • Vacations & Family gatherings
  • Family Reunion
  • Baby’s First Year
  • Birthdays or Anniversary celebrations
  • A Personalized Cook Book of your Best Recipes
  • Day in the Life (a sort of time capsule)

If you clicked on the time capsule link, you will have ‘met’ Xanthe Berkeley and I love what she wrote on her blog about creating her time capsules, “Hanging out with a family, getting to know them, being part of their day. Noticing the little things… the things that I imagine will be important to recall in years to come. Take photographs, not just fancy “hey everyone, look at me” portraits but the ordinary moments, where you’re focused on something else… where you almost don’t notice me.”  Exactly, photographing the ordinary moments, not those silly posed photos, and then doing something with them so you and your family can look back on them in years to come.

Yes, even printed photographs can be destroyed but a physical print, even if faded or torn, is still better than images vanished because of technological glitches.

The palest ink is better than the best memory.” ~Chinese proverb

In this age of DIY what better gift to give yourself, your family, and future generations than the gift of memories? I hope you will reconsider all those images that are sitting on your hard drive or on disks. Little by little, why not start getting them printed out and placed into albums. It even feels good to hold an album in your hands. Give it a try!

Further Reading on This Important Topic:

Why Printing Your Photos is Important and 3 Tips to get the Best Results

What Can I Do with all My Snapshots?




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Michele Jack - January 28, 2013 - 6:52 pm

Oh my….we are always on the same wavelength…
I am currently creating a book for my 92 year old Grandmother. It is so much work sorting, choosing, scanning… but hopefully she will love it.
I have printed many, but the past couple of years not as many. I will endeavour to print more. Frame more, display more…thanks for the timely post.

Barb - January 29, 2013 - 5:19 am

I need to print this out and put it on my fridge! I have been very bad about printing my photos and scrapbook pages – thanks for the little push!

Sherry Galey - January 29, 2013 - 7:33 am

Great post and kick in the pants, Diane! You are so very right about the importance of real printed photographs in our lives. I am not so great about making lots of individual prints but I have been getting better about making photobooks — and I think that’s what I enjoy most. Made one for my 84-year-old mother for Christmas that included a selection of old black and whites that are amazing and I will be making a book every year of pics of the grandkids and their antics. And I will be making more — probably one of our dogs, especially as Angus is getting older…I have so many neat shots of him over time…What do you think about the idea of making a photobook of a year of your blog? Yours would be fabulous!

Shirley LeMay - January 29, 2013 - 5:41 pm

Amen…. I hadn’t printed out photos in years. I used to be an avid scrapbooker, but the photography blog thing took over and I lost the love to scrapbook. But I spent a good week between Christmas and New Year and created two Blurb photo books that encompassed all of 2012. They are wonderful. I plan to keep up with 2013 and need to go back for 2011 and before.
Great post.

Dreaming » Diane Jarvis-Schuller - February 1, 2013 - 1:19 pm

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