As technology continues to improve in our culture, we sometimes forget what life was like without a cell phone, social media, and GPS. I remember having a plan with my parents as a kid to call from a pay phone, let it ring twice, then hang up to let them know I was ready to be picked up from somewhere. Instead of social media, we would pass and receive notes in class in desperate hopes we wouldn't get caught by teachers who were willing to read them out loud to the class. Yes, the check yes or no thing really would happen; that is not a myth. As far as GPS goes, it has become so accessible, I wonder how many people from this generation can use a map to get themselves from point A to point B anymore. I am not making fun of anybody or trying to give the "walking ten miles up hill both ways to school through fifteen feet of snow" talk; I just remember when the toughest thing about road maps was folding them back up (which I am still terrible at). The point I want to make is, although technology has made life easier in so many ways, there are certain things we shouldn't lose. Photography is one of them.
As a photographer, a dad, a son, and a husband, I am big on making prints available to clients and highly encourage other photographers to do the same when asked. We live in a digital age where social media images saturate our phones, computers, clouds, and the world wide web. Pictures are admired for a few days and then often forgotten about as they are buried by the latest set of duck lips with your "bestie". This is okay for snap shots, but what about senior and family pictures? One of the reasons we encourage prints during your senior session, is so those memorable moments don't get buried. They may not get buried by duck lips, but what happens when you get the disc from your senior photographer and you lose it? What happens when you get the disc and decide to print off what you want from Walgreens and there are fingers cut off because the size ratio is different? There are many good photographers out there who choose to do digital only. That is their choice and I am not discounting them with what I am about to say because everybody has reasons for why they do what they do. To spend all this time with our clients, getting to know them, taking their pictures, editing them, showing them, then giving them a disc of images is like saying, "Thanks, good luck the rest of the way". To me an image isn't complete until it's printed; its a start to finish thing with me.
I have a couple of illustrations to make this a little more comprehensible. I was blessed enough to shoot two different State Tournament situations in the past seven months. One of those was a trip to Wells Fargo Arena to photograph the Prince of Peace Irish Boys Basketball Team make their first state appearance in years. Although, things did not go their way, it was a moment in their lives they will never forget and can't go back to. The parents of one of our senior reps went through a bunch of the digital files ( yes I printed a bunch but there are many unfinished) in our studio the other day and saw the need to do something with them besides just leaving them all digital. They recognized the need to see some of these printed and tell the story of this historical day to generations to come by looking through a book.
When you print something, you have it to hang on your wall or set it on your desk. Either way, when people walk into your house, office, or dorm room, the walls tell the story. You officially have a piece of history displayed in your own personal museum. I love sitting at the studio and looking at the pictures I have on the wall because each picture tells its own story. By building your own gallery of wall art, you are preserving a lifetime of memories for those who come after.
My oldest son who is now fifteen had the privilege of being photographed in the Stanley Cup when he was only weeks old. A digital copy on my phone would be alright, but there is something special about having a tangible print framed and displayed in our living room I just wouldn't get from a phone screen.
The bottom line is this.....whether you go with a photographer who offers prints or discs for your senior session.....get some prints made and display them. You owe it to yourself and the next generation to bypass the latest technology craze and preserve your story. God bless and thanks for reading!