Digital Negatives, Printing Photos, and High Resolution Disc of Images

My friends Trish and Jared over at Studio ATG wrote up a story for Modern Photographers that they have sent over to also share with my readers.  I loved reading about her take on digital photography and our generation of becoming the “first photo-less generation in almost 150 years”.  I thought about what she said when I was recently asked to see photos of my baby. I realized my purse didn’t contain printed photos of her. Screens on cell phones are so small that it has made me rethink the idea of actually printing out wallet sized photos of my baby girl and creating a little “brag book” for my purse!  Hope you enjoy the article.  I’d love some feedback in the comments section on how you feel about digital negatives versus printed photos.

The First Photo-less Generation? Yes, Really……

It seems as though the digital revolution has altered the world of photography forever….but are we now a culture on the road to become the first photo-less generation in almost 150 years?

It’s 100% true:  the combination of digital photography and technology has greatly impacted the way just about everyone on the planet enjoys photos.   Whether it be in a digital revolving image frame, viewing photos on your iphone or tagging your friends in your images on facebook, digital images are enjoyed by everyone!  In fact, it seems that not a day goes by any more when a client doesn’t give us a call to ask to purchase these wonderful, plentiful, digital negatives that have become a standard in image preservation.

And we must admit, enjoying the compact nature and many avenues to share digital negatives is a wonderful bonus for both clients and photographers alike.  In regards to photographers, our processing is much quicker at times as we now are the actual photo lab handing our clients processing directly.  By replacing actual film with digital negatives, it reduces our “archiving surface area” as we no longer have to maintain hundreds of rolls of film in film safe containers.  Heck, even our clients have virtual storage for their images creating an “at your fingertips” style of backing up their images so they no longer have to worry about losing delicate film negatives….

But one thing we have noticed is that although our clients absolutely LOVE their images, it seems that many of those same clients who are purchasing digital negatives instead of prints or albums, unfortunately, often times, never print a single image as a result of this ease of sharing.  They are so pleased and excited by the idea that they can view their images at any time on their computer or phone, that many clients believe there is no longer a need to print them…

However, recently we had an experience that caused us to see the concept of photo printing in powerfully different light; we were reminded me of the importance of printing not only to share your memories with your virtual friends, but also as a documentation of your own personal history and life.  We’ll explain….

About a month ago we visited my parents in their home.  As we were relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, we noticed a big box of old photos sitting on the counter of their living room bar.  Jared and I headed over to investigate the images, and as we got to looking through them, my dad gave us a quick history each of these older photos discussing the many details of our family posing in the images.  It was exciting to share in his memories and stories while enjoying the amazingly tangible nature of these old photos.  Many had been printed on a very thick photo paper with artistic edging, which was something we hadn’t seen in a very long time…

It was at that moment that we truly realized that these images told our family’s history in a way we never could detail personally as they were shared and passed down through generations. Of course the stories have probably evolved over time, but we learned so much that evening about who we are and how our family came to be, that it was really a largely emotional experience.  It was also at that time that we realized that we hadn’t printed a photo of ourselves in almost 4 years.  We had spent so much time enjoying our own personal images on our computers, that really, we too were guilty of not printing; we really hadn’t taken much time at all to print any of our history…

In saying all of this, as photographers, we now feel a greater responsibility to our clients, our friends and ourselves.  We would encourage every person we know to enjoy their digital negatives as much as possible.  Give them lots of love and care and share them with everyone you can; just don’t forget that printing photos will help to share your past with your future loved ones so that they too can relive your history for years to come.

Studio ATG:

Trish Gumina-McMillen
Studio ATG
Studio ATG Website
Studio ATG Blog


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  1. Guilty as Charged! About the last 10 years worth of my life and the years of my children growing from being children to being young adults about to get married are all saved in digital only. This article has made me want to find the time to print photos and put them in a box if nothing else, though an album would be real nice. I just don’t get into the scrapbooking thing. We encourage all our brides to have their photographers create albums for them, that is one way to make sure your wedding memories are preserved forever.

  2. Debbie, I don’t scrapbook either. And recently at a NACE meeting, someone asked to see photos of my baby. I had to show her on my phone but there was a delay on my phone and I couldn’t open up the “photo album”. So at that point I realized that I should probably print out at least one wallet sized photo!

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