Snap Happy But Easy Come, Easy Go, is the title of an article I read on Stuff yesterday, which touches on the value we are placing on photos. The article raises two really good points, which I believe people need to start thinking about in this digital age of instant photography.
First up, is simply downloading and archiving your photos so you can show them to friends and family say twenty or thirty years' down the track.
Back in the good old days, you would take your film to be developed and in return you'd receive a box of slides or an envelope filled with prints and the original negatives. While many of those photos would go on to be stored in a shoe box in the corner of a cupboard, at least you had a physical copy of your photos. The only way you could really lose those photos was by theft, house fire or flooding.
Fast forward to the present day and most people use a variety of digital devices to take photos. You've got digital SLR's, digital point and shoot cameras and of course, smart phones. The problem is of course, if you are taking photos on any of these devices, you are then responsible for downloading the photos and at a minimum, backing them up - you do back up your digital photos, right?.
If you aren't doing these basic steps with your digital photos, then you may be setting yourself up to lose irreplaceable memories. And while losing a couple of months worth of photos' is something most people can live with, sit back and think about losing a decades worth of imagery. Imagine losing all the photos of the first ten years of your child's life, all because you weren't diligent enough to download, catalogue and back up those photos.
Which brings me to the second point of the article.
Get in the habit of actually making prints of your photos or books if that is more your thing.
Creating prints is as easy as creating a folder on your desktop and adding copies of photos you want printed. Then once a month or every second month, take those files to the lab and get some prints made. Pick up a photo album while you are there and start filling it with your memories.
As the years pass, you'll begin to build up a collection of albums, which will have far more intrinsic value than digital photos in an album on your Facebook profile.
What ever you do, don't become complacent because it is so easy to take photos these days. Download your photos regularly, back them up and make prints of your favourite photos, to show family and friends when they come around.