They’re too important to simply disappear when you get a new phone, or new computer, or your external hard drive fails. They’re too meaningful to be left behind when you move. They’re a part of your story, and your family’s story. While the digital age makes cameras and photography accessible to everyone, it also makes it easy to leave your images online. That’s reliable for the short term, but families now are lacking the stacks of family albums and boxes of childhood pictures that allow the next generation to explore their family history and have heirloom pictures to hold onto.
My Aunt Lisa used to scrapbook as a hobby. In fact, she owned about as much product as my mother, who sold the stuff for a living. When she died, her house was filled with boxes and boxes of pictures (… and unused product). Pictures of her and her friends and family from when she was young, pictures of her with her kids when she had long, beautiful, pre-cancer hair. Pictures of my parents when they were engaged, and pictures of people who are no longer with us. I absolutely adore these images now.
None of us could have predicted what would happen to her.
Towards the end of her life, she had lost so much weight, her face had changed, and she had lost FEET of hair (that came back a different color, too). She was hardly recognizable. I am so glad I have those old pictures to hold on to – so I don’t have to remember her as thin, sick, pale, frail. I remember her teaching me how to French braid, as she always had her long, curly hair braided down her back. I remember her in her prime, and those pictures mean the world to me.
Our phones, computers, and memory cards are all filled with digital photos that we can’t remember to print but can’t afford to lose.
The cell phone cameras, the cheap point and shoots, and the consumer grade (and pro-sumer grade) DSLR cameras out there make it possible for practically everyone to start summoning their inner photographer and get great images of their baby showers and kids soccer games. But while our parents’ generation had shelves full of albums and boxes of 5 x 7s, we are running out of digital storage and what little we have in print is hung up on our living room walls.
Now, I’m not saying we should all print every picture we take. Lisa printed E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. And multiples, too. So there were TONS and TONS of boxes of photos – so many that we actually threw away whole boxes after family had gone through to take what they wanted.
Remember to print the important milestones. I’m going to bring it back to weddings, since most of my clients are brides –
I send my photos in a digital gallery because that’s the easiest way to get all your files to you, and almost all of my brides choose to get an album. But – if you’re not – consider how important these photos might be to your parents, your siblings, and one day your kids. Print your favorites and keep them in a memory box, make a hand-made scrapbook and journal through how you were feeling and what you were thinking on that day, or have an album professionally designed and printed. However it is you decide to preserve your memories will do just fine… the important thing is that you have something tangible to keep those memories safe. Not only may they one day mean the world to your friends and family, but you never know how people may change and where life may take you that makes the photographs so much more precious.
Like I said, no one could have predicted that Lisa would die of cancer before her son turned 20. No one could have known how much she would change physically. We definitely weren’t expected her to fall ill and pass YEARS after she was cancer-free. But thank goodness she valued print images. Now, I hopeno one in my contact list has to deal with a loss like this, though statistics say many of us will. This story is not to bring the waterworks or make you feel bad for now printing more photos. But I wanted to remind you – the next time you see “memory card full” or “no storage remaining” to think about how you’re storing your images, and 1) have a good back-up system in place, preferably on the cloud and 2) think about printing your favorite/most important few images each time you go to back them up and make more room.
If you’re interested in printing your photos in an album, contact me & I’ll be sure to send you my product recommendations.
Take care of your memories, loves!
PS – Here’s some favorites from my own childhood 😉
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