(The article was originally published on the Secondsguru.com blog. Original link: http://secondsguru.com/blog/print-your-photos-now-preserve-memories/)
It’s hard to imagine that your parents were once young people themselves, free of the care and responsibilities that befall one as one “settles” into marriage, children, chasing careers and paying off mortgages and going through the vicissitudes of a normal life. That they actually had a sense of fashion through the 70s and 80s before dad jeans and walking around the house in housewife clothes became the norm.
I went home
The curse of technology is that while we have digital cameras, which in the course of a lifetime will yield hundreds of thousands of photos, we rarely take the time to segregate the best ones and preserve them. The digital file format is very fickle and impermanent- who on earth remembers what event DSC_2322.jpg represents- and it’s existence depends on our own cataloguing abilities and the care with which we handle our memory devices. And despite the best care, all memory devices eventually fail.
We’re of course in an age of instant gratification. If digital cameras take a few milliseconds in between frames, we declare that the camera is “too slow”. If files take more than a few minutes to transfer, we get frustrated, forgetting the fact that it was only a few years ago that large images would take forever to open up on
With all this
So I wanted to put out some tips for you, the one documenting your family’s history:
Workflow is nothing but the process which you follow from shooting, to editing, archiving and printing. The more you make this a habit after your shoot is done, the more ingrained it becomes.
The tough part is usually editing the files and cataloguing them. What is editing? Editing is nothing but the process of selecting the best files and then making changes to these files such as colour corrections. Usually it’s difficult to be your own editor, but I’d recommend being merciless as an editor, if you really want to become a better photographer.
Go buy the largest portable external hard disk you can afford. Have a meaningful naming convention for your files, and after every shoot, come home copy the files over to your folder. I usually have two sets of folders for every shoot, one which has the original files and the other which contains the selected, edited files. Never leave the files only one hard disk though. I sleep better at night knowing that my files are copied across three hard disks.
Cloud storage is another option with the likes of Dropbox and Amazon.
A lot of us never get to this step.
I would really recommend buying a home printer. These days home photo printers can be had very cheaply, and while ink costs are high and you’re probably spending more per page than you would at the print shop, the fact is that you’ll get a lot more prints done. After all how many of us want to take the time out of our busy lives to go down to the print shop and then go back again a few days later to collect prints.
I recently bought a Canon Pixma MG 7170 for home use and the print quality is terrific. I usually prefer printing bordered 6X4 size prints on Canon Satin paper- the prints are gorgeous and I have to hold myself back from printing large quantities.
The alternative of course is to take it to the printer (make sure your files have high enough resolution for you to be able to print the size you need), wait for a couple of days and then collect the finished prints.
I’ll just say that any material which keeps your photos away from direct sunlight and humidity is a good method. I personally prefer using plastic storage boxes with tracing paper in between prints to ensure the prints don’t stick to each other over time.
When it comes to albums, I actually prefer the ones which have a plastic sleeve into which the photograph can be inserted.
Don’t forget though, your precious photos should age over time- it’s that patina which gives the photo character and evokes a sense of nostalgia!