Sometime in the middle of the year, I realized that people don’t print out their pictures. Wha???? While I understand this trend among casual shooters (e.g. the “I shoot maaaaaybe two pictures a week on my iPhone” person), it seems like many of my photographer friends don’t print their pictures. (Wha????) I don’t have too many platforms in life, but when I do find something I won’t shut up about it. I apologize. (Not really.) So yeah, if you’re an Instagrammer or a photographer I know personally, I’m sure I’ve gone on and on about how you should print out your pictures. If you’re not in the habit of printing out your pictures, now is the time to make me understand why you’re not doing it. I’m listening.
In the meantime, let me tell you why you should print your photos…
So why am I all about printing your pictures? Because….
- Your photography takes on new life in print. Yeah yeah, your pictures are pretty to look at on your phone or computer screen. But I guarantee you that there will be something striking about seeing your work in the tangible state. At the art show pictured above, there was an Instagrammer (not Tatyana) whose work I admire. It was the first time I had seen any of it in print. When I saw him, I told him what I thought. “Yeah, this was the first time I’ve printed out my photography….I really like seeing it up on the wall like that.” Exactly. You don’t have to do an art show, but just print out a couple of your best images from the last year and hang them on your fridge or on your living room wall. Heck, hang them in your bathroom. (Everyone is bound to head in there, right?)
- Your pictures get lost on your phone. Recently, I was telling a friend about how I was revisiting photos from my travels and creating photo books from those trips. “Oh, I should have you do my honeymoon,” he said. I told him I’d be happy to do it and to send me the pictures when he had a chance. He and his wife went to Greece, so I was very excited about seeing pictures that hadn’t been posted on Facebook. “I think the pictures are on my old phone. And I’m not sure where it is.” OMG. Don’t be this guy (even if he is my friend). I am still cringing as I type this.
- You may forget about the photos that should be remembered. When I was working on my Pacific Coast Highway photo book, I came across several pictures that I had forgotten about that should not have been forgotten about.
Tell me how one forgets about a beach with elephant seals? How???? Crazy talk I tell you. So yeah, print your pictures.
I love coming across an album or a box full of pictures and reflecting on the time it was taken. I got nosy and found myself flipping through a few albums one night at my aunt’s house and came across pictures of my dad in his youth. I haven’t seen many pictures of him (or my mom for that matter) growing up in Vietnam, so it was pretty special to say the least. (I told him about it later, and I think he wished those pictures hadn’t been discovered, ha ha.) Print out a few pictures, put them in a box and pull them out anytime you want to reflect and reminisce. Hey, and maybe you’ll have a nosy niece who will come across and appreciate these images in a few decades.
- For photographers: it keeps you going in your photography. After my son was born, using my camera became a low priority (unless it was taking a picture of him). Because I was reviewing my past work (for a few photobooks) I felt the desire to pick up the camera again to continue adding to my portfolio. Basically, printing and then seeing these pictures in a tangible format made me (gasp) proud of my work. And then, a funny thing happened: that feeling of pride made me want to continue share my images (“Hey everyone, I took these pictures!!!“). Printing took on a snowball effect & made me want to distribute my work outside Instagram and to be more active with Tumblr and Flickr. (Going beyond Instagram is one of those things I’ve been trying to do…and it’s probably another one of those issues I ramble on and on about although I’m a tad more gentle when it comes to this subject. I think.) So yeah, I would say seeing my images physically in front of me made me want to continue sharing my work and in turn, built up my digital presence though this is still very much a work in progress. (Print out a few of your pictures, and tell me if it inspires you in the same way.)
- If nothing else, your mom will like them. Trust me. If you haven’t found a Christmas gift for her yet, print out an simple 5×7″ photo you shot and give it to her. If she doesn’t react, she has a cold heart. (I kid, I kid.) On a similar note, I’ve heard from at least two people that they enjoy telling their moms about their assignments and then sending them pictures later. See? Moms love your work. So print them out for her.
So enough of that rambling. Tell me again why aren’t you printing your pictures? There are so many resources out there that make it easy for you, and you should have them out there for people to enjoy IRL. Come on, join the Print Revolution. I know you want to. 🙂