I have a saying that I like to tell clients (or really anyone who even touches on this topic) when I meet with them, that photos are meant to live in homes – not computers. This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate digital files when it comes to photography. I definitely do, they are a powerful tool in easily allowing us to connect and share with friends and family instantaneously. I feel this makes a lot of us lazy though. What would you do if you woke up tomorrow and facebook (or your personal hard drive) had crashed and you could never get any of the photos back. How many do you have in print format in your home? I know a lot of people who would have lost YEARS of memories that could never be replaced. Hard drives WILL fail, technology will fade, prints will last.
I grew up looking at photo albums. My mom would print all her photos and put them in albums (the kind where you peel back the clear page and the photos kind of stick to the back and then you lay the clear part back down) and they would go on the shelf. I loved looking at them. I pulled them out all the time and would just look at them again and again. She had ones from when she was probably my current age, all the way to the current time. The older we got, the albums did get smaller and moved more onto our family computer but they did still exist. I think that’s a big reason why I am a fan of albums so much. Most likely, our grandkids will not have facebook. I want to be able to show them my wedding pictures, and photos from when I was growing up because I know it will be special to them. Even more than looking at my baby photos, I LOVE seeing photos of my mom, my grandma, and great grandma when they were children, or getting married. That is a tradition and a legacy I also want to pass on.
Just two months ago when Zack and I were in Seattle, I asked my grandmother to see her wedding album. In addition she pulled out some other albums of when my mom and aunts and uncles were babies. There are photographs in there from 1950, that still look amazing. 64 years later, someone is still appreciating that print. I actually asked if I could have 3 of the prints to keep for myself which she said yes and I was so excited. Don’t you think your children, and grandchildren might feel the same in 50 years? Especially since not everyone has prints or albums anymore!
This is why I look for clients who share this passion for heirlooms. I have learned that photography isn’t just about taking photos. I am preserving someone’s history and legacy for their children, and future grandchildren, and that’s an amazing honor. The point isn’t that they will know I took the photos in 50 years, it’s that they will have photos or albums to cherish. I urge you to remember this next time you go to have your photo taken. The cost of an heirloom may be higher than the photographer just giving you those digital copies for facebook, but the gift you are giving to yourself and your family is priceless.
The three prints I kept from my grandmother, from 1958.
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