OK, I'm sorry, I said "should." But I feel strongly about this. Right now, I am looking at a black and white photograph of my grandparents on their wedding day. I have a beautiful portrait of my parents' on their wedding day in the 1950s. I have a photo of me and my little black cat Typo taken in the early '90s. Know what I don't have? Any photo I stored on my computer or phone in the 1990s and early 2000s. Or the photos I put on my Zip disk. Yeah, Zip disk, does anyone even know what that is?
I can have one image taken 100 years ago that is beautiful. It has stood the test of time. I can have thousands of images that were stored as bits and bytes and they are in digital heaven. Gone. Evaporated. I got smart and began saving everything on CDs. Guess what? They're unreadable now. Oh sure, my iMac doesn't even have a slot for DVDs or CDs, but I do have a reader. The problem is, the CDs were just ones I bought at an office store. They're not archival. The data is gone. Oh, once I had my 13 TB (yes, that's terabytes -- not megabytes or gigabytes) backup system fail. Because I'm in business, I retrieved the data. It was $7000. Fortunately, insurance covered it.
Technology can go bad. It just does. It's not a matter of if, it's when. But once you have something printed, you'll always have it. Nothing further is required to see it but your eyes.
Vint Cerf, a father of the internet, fears the most photographed generation in history may have no photos of themselves within 10 years. He believes we're entering a digital dark age, in which our digitized information -- our recorded history -- will be lost to time as software and hardware become obsolete.
"If there are pictures you care about, then creating a physical instance is probably a good idea," he said. "Print them out."
Look, if you have images of your pets and people that you love on your phone, print them out. Just get them on photographic paper. Put them where you can grab them in an emergency.
That's why I really want to put something printed in your hands. Whether it's a beautiful wall portrait on your choice of material or a photo album, it's something tangible. I'm shocked when people say they have no intention of printing something or when they're just satisfied with digitals of a session. Actually, in my business, every photo comes with a digital file so you get both. Even if you want just digitals, well, a) it's kind of expensive because it's the equivalent of a negative that you can print over and over b) computers may not be able to read USB drives in a matter of years and c) every digital file I give you has a collection of 20 printed 4x6s to go along with it so at least I send you off with something printed.
I really feel sad when someone goes to the time and expense of a photo shoot and then doesn't want anything printed.
But look! Look at these images. Yes, now they're on my computer... but I have the prints.