A while back, my sweet friend Natalie Franke wrote a blog post about prints. About the fact that our digital world has made it less and less urgent to print our images because the files can find a home on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, etc. And as a photographer who spends so much time working on images for other people, I’ll admit that it takes more of an effort to print images of and for my family than it would if I weren’t a photographer. It took me eight months after we received our wedding images to finally order ONE canvas for our walls. But over the past few months, after receiving hundreds of 4″x6″ proofs with my negatives from Richard Photo Lab, I’ve realized that there is nothing that makes an image come to life like holding it in your hands.
Photographs aren’t meant, weren’t designed to live on a DVD, flash drive, or online gallery. Limiting an image to digital storage only would be like settling for email and Facebook messaging instead of getting together for a girls’ or guys’ night with your friends. Prints MATTER. They matter for us, for our children, for our grandchildren- for the people that come after us, who want proof that love DOES conquer all, who can look at a photograph of their grandparents’ wedding day, knowing that these two souls have a story worth telling. These artifacts, these records of a single blip of time, they MATTER.
Maybe the lack of prints these days is just a byproduct of the increasing chaos of everyday life around the world. Or maybe it’s a result of being overwhelmed- your wedding photographer sends you 700 images from your wedding day, and you’re thinking “how on earth am I ever going to choose which ones to frame?” Or maybe you don’t know where to print your images.
Here’s some encouragement- just DO IT, already.
As a kid, I loved sitting down and combing through all of the albums my parents filled with images of us. Even though the photos weren’t professional, even though they were crammed into an album my mom probably bought at Wal-Mart, I loved looking through them. Can you imagine if my parents had just settled for the negatives? If they thought “we’ll get around to making prints some other time?” And now, with the negatives lost somewhere along the 20 years since they were captured, all we have are these prints. These 4×6 memories of my brothers and I, of Seth’s cherub-like chubby cheeks, my three-year-old self’s bowl cut, Ethan’s blond hair and that mischievous glint in his eyes.
I’ll make it easy for you- MPix is a great place to start. It’s online, it’s easy to navigate, and the quality is much better than what you’d find at a Kodak kiosk at Target. Or even better! If you’ve had professional photographs taken, order from your photographer- chances are they’ve provided you with an online gallery specifically for that purpose, and the quality of their images will be top-notch. I know a lot of photographers (myself included at times) who’ve all but given up on prints, because with the rise in demand for digital images, people just aren’t taking the time to put those images on paper. People, this is crazy! I KNOW when you booked your wedding or family photographer you weren’t thinking “I can’t wait to upload these photos to a Facebook album and stop there. It’ll be so great to log on and reminisce ever few days.”
Do yourself a favor- when you get home tonight, take 20 minutes to pick out 10 photos you’ve been meaning to print. Then sign up for an MPix account and make it happen. Tonight. Not tomorrow, not “sometime this week.” Tonight. Just DO IT, already.
Happy Tuesday, friends.