Why printing out photos is so good for the soul

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As a kid, I used to love sitting down with my nan and going through her holiday snaps. For my non-travelled eyes, photos from her trips to Spain and Canada were the height of fascination – but it wasn’t just looking at the pictures, but hearing what it was like, who she’d met, what that exotic item of food had tasted like, in her own words and voice.

Today, probably much like yours, my Facebook feed’s flooded with images of people’s latest jaunts, and travel photography is more popular than ever. But it’s not the same, is it? And it’s not the same when your own photos are left to languish forever on your phone or in cyber space.

As Scott Hardy, CEO of Polaroid, says: “A photograph isn’t a photograph until you print it, otherwise it’s just pixels and data.” And pixels and data could never match the feel-good factor of hitting pause for 20 minutes of calm (or snorting laughter) while you slowly browse through a photo album with a cup of tea (or wine). Plus, the momentary buzz of racking up ‘likes’ when you post your snaps on social media, pales in comparison to the thrill of finally receiving your processed photos.

Personal touch
My friend Leah is an avid printer-outer of photos, ensuring holidays, special occasions and even highlights from nights out live on in proper albums. “It reminds me of being a kid and looking at old photos of family. I want my family to be able to do the same [in the future],” she explains.

“There’s something personal about holding them in your hand and showing people, rather than looking at Facebook. And who knows when Facebook will go down, and you lose every memory that’s on there?”

It doesn’t just have to be about photo albums, either. “Displaying photos as part of your home décor will instantly add a more personal touch to your living space. Photo frames and displays are also a more accessible way of viewing our favourite memories; encouraging us to put down our phones and interact more with our immediate surroundings,” says Rachel Escott, marketing & creative content manager at Red Candy.

“There are now a million creative ways to show off your fondest memories, from square frames for Instagram snaps, to standing frames for rooms where you can’t drill into the walls.”

Does remembering that amazing adventure you had a few years ago always give you an instant buzz, or perhaps there’s a night out with the girls that always makes your heart glow when you think about it? Print a photo, stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. Whether hung on walls or balanced on shelves, those happy vibes will always be just a glance away.

Getting creative
“While most of our images are stored digitally these days, nothing beats the feeling of walking into a room and being surrounded by happy memories. Try a new spin on the traditional photo frame with a memo board, or photo montage frame to display different snaps together. Mix with postcards or other holiday trinkets to create a real scrapbook feel,” suggests Anne-Laure Couplet, Maisons du Monde’s global brand director.

If there’s a snap you’re particularly proud of, or just really love, turn it into art.

“Framing all sorts of items has never been easier with websites, online kits, courses and tons of inspiration on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Things in frames make wonderful wall decoration and can uniquely personalise a home with family memorabilia adorning the walls… every piece will tell a story,” says Duncan McDonald, managing director of All About Framing (www.diyframing.com).

And getting something framed doesn’t have to cost a fortune. “To keep the price down, there are a number of DIY framing websites, with information and videos on ‘How To’, and all the materials in small quantities available for the amateur framer,” Mr McDonald adds.

“If you want to be taught properly, there are a number of courses available in person. There are also many online framing websites that can make the whole frame for you, and all you do is insert the artwork, but if you want something really special, it’s worth visiting an expert framing shop. If you love something and want to show it, then get it framed!”

Do you print out personal photos or keep them on your phone? Do you have them on display in your home?

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Total Comments: 9
  1. 0

    Have dozens of photo books printed out, with stories and labels attached, for various occasions. I look forward to going through them in God’s waiting room. At the moment I am totally frustrated with a particular company, no names no pack drill, whose process of creating (which is usually a joy to me) is driving me nuts. When companies change their programs, I get very close to losing my sanity.

  2. 0

    “Do you print out personal photos or keep them on your phone? Do you have them on display in your home?”

    We print out a lot of photos and have a “Rogue’s Gallery” of family and friends in our hallway and travel photos in the lounge room, family room and dining room. The travel photos are updated on an irregular basis. Alipal has the right idea of labelling photos with names and places as when we die that information is gone unless recorded. I have the family album handed down from parents and about 80% of the faces are a mystery. Bit off topic but passwords should also be recorded for when we are not around to remember them.

  3. 0

    Every Xmas or significant birthday I have books made up for children and grandchildren and pack them with the years photos. Then they are all in one place for all the family to view.

  4. 0

    There is a limited life of either printed photos or storing them electronically. Many photo albums come with a plastic sheet between photos to protect them but over the years the weight of things stored upon them and the dust in the air causes breakdown of the plastic, it sticks to the photos and their colours fade, silverfish eat the pages. Take out an old album which may not have been looked at for 10 years and a lot of other unwanted items fall out as well. Archival quality albums do keep the photos in better condition if they are stored correctly.Slides lose their colour over the years, some brands were terrible, Kodak during the 50s and 60s used a very stable base and even now some slides are quite ok. The life of electronic means of storage Cds and DVDs are now on the way out, plus their storage life is 5 to 10 years, and it is no better for a USB. SSD cards or disks are not designed for long term storage.
    The only method of long term storage which will probably work in 50 years time is microfiche!!! It has limitations but it has lasted loner than floppy discs, tape desks, CDs#

  5. 0

    I prefer to have my photos digitally. If I had to print out ALL the digital photos I have, and put them into books, it would fill just about one wall of my study, and would cost me too much when I’m the only one who would benefit. Then there’s the problem of packing them away when I move house – no thanks.

  6. 0

    When I was growing up photos were black and white and films expensive. Even while my children were growing up pictures weren’t taken that often because of the price of film and printing, so it was feasible to have albums of photos. Nowadays, we all take more pictures in a day on our phone or digital cameras than we probably did for years back then. I scrapbook special times and holidays, using the best of the photos and the rest are kept on the computer and backed up on discs. Best of both worlds

  7. 0

    Each year I make photo calendars for family and friends with all their favourite photos as well as some blasts from the past. They are very well received and I know they are a special keepsake. For holiday photos, I make videos with all the photos and share with those who are featured. And as each grandchild turns 21, my gift is a photo book from birth to 21. Also keeps me busy during the year.



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