A Year of Printing Photos

A year ago, I made it a goal to print more of the photos I make. Prints, books, calendars — whatever. As long as they were physical things living in the real world, like photos used to be.

So far, it’s gone well. I made a photo book looking back at 2013 last January, and just received my book for 2014. I also signed up for Snapfish’s mobile app that lets you order 100 prints for free each month. All you do is pay $5 or so for shipping.

I use my local photo printer, too, to print film shots, and produce the high-quality 8x10s I can frame and give to family members.

What can I say? I’m old school.

And I miss the feeling of flipping through photo albums. I printed photos religiously from high school through college, and have albums full of memories from that period of my life. It’s a personal history. I cherish those albums.

But in the digital age, prints have been few and far between. So I meant to fix that, and after a year of printing photos, I’m happy with my decision.

Now that I’m doing more film shooting, getting prints is a natural step, too. For every roll of film I drop off, I get the prints and the images scanned on CD.

I don’t have a good organizational system just yet, but I’m okay with that. A simple photo box full of prints is good enough for me.

As a side benefit, I can print photos of friends and give them out the next time I see them. It’s a little gift from me to them, and it didn’t cost me a thing except a shutter click. I also order photo calendars for my family each Christmas, full of photos from the past year. They look forward to the calendars each holiday season.

There aren’t many excuses these days for not printing your photos. Flickr is printing, VSCO will soon be printing, Apple and Snapfish let you get creative with your photo printing projects. Most of this you can do right from your phone.

As for the cost? As Chris Plante says in his Verge article:

Is this worth the money? For me, yes. Absolutely. God, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me having these photos of the people and places I love.

So $5-7 a month for memories that won’t get lost when a hard drive crashes? That’s an easy budget line.

Especially for someone as digitally old fashioned as me.

Photograph Something


“You don’t have to be Michael Jordan. You can still play in the NBA.” – Jeffery Saddoris, On Taking Pictures, ep. 39

Sometimes, just walking out your front door and snapping a few shots around the neighborhood is enough. Get outside and get something done – it’s often plenty.

Mr. Saddoris was right: I don’t have to have some big project in mind in order to take photos. Sometimes I’ll get lucky and find stuff, as with the shot above.

I guess that’s my goal this year. I don’t have to have some overarching message to communicate (although I do have an idea for one – more on that later). Instead, I can lug my camera to more places and find beauty in the everyday. I feel like I already do that with my iPhone (and Instagram).

You know what’s really helped? Seeing more activity in my Flickr feed. Some days just one post by a contact can spark my creativity enough to say, “You know what, I can share something today.” Even if it’s a photo that’s been sitting in my to-edit queue for months, the drive to post something can be enough to finally finish the thing.

I still like the big photo projects, the big weekend adventures, the hours spent in Lightroom culling the good from the meh – but it doesn’t have to be all that. Maybe a photo a day will seem like less work. More fun.

A photo a day. A mini project. Surely that’s doable.

Instagramming Daily

Instagram feels like my one-off way of sharing photos. I see something I like, I post it everywhere (well, Twitter and Facebook), at least once a day.

But now I find that (a) I’m constantly taking Instagram photos and (b) I have a backlog of photos to use. What to do?

Simple: post two photos a day instead of one. Except that one will be reserved for Instagram users/friends only. It’s Instagram-exclusive.

We hypershare everything these days. We have the ability to post something once and have it appear everywhere. By doing this, no one social platform gets exclusive anything. Part of the attraction of certain social networks, however, is their unique strength: Flickr for photos, Twitter for random thoughts or links, Facebook for information no one cares about.

For Instagram, it’s in-the-moment photos. A photo log of your day. More and more I feel that some of those photos should stick to Instagram, and only Instagram. That’s what makes Instagram special. If someone isn’t on Instagram, they don’t get to reap the benefits.

Plus I get to clear out my catalog of Instagram photos, and my friends on Instagram get to see stuff no one else gets to see.

Everything Is Becoming Virtual

In a world where everything is becoming virtual people seem to become more and more disconnected from physical media and while that has its upsides there are also the faults of such a way of life. This leads consumers to long for something physical to connect to when enjoying things they take interest in.

Through My Lens: Part One

Agreed. That’s why I still buy CDs and print my photos.

The Importance of Artifact

Scott at ISO50: