Protecting Pictures from a Digital Dark Age

Michael Lane
Monday, February 20, 2017

A very interesting article has been making it’s way around web, with an important message on the need to print your best pictures. Lauren St. Germain, a reporter and morning show anchor on an ABC TV affiliate in Chattanooga, Tennessee talked with Diane Henshaw, a typical consumer who uses her phone to take all of her pictures because it is so convenient, and Sam Hall, a local history enthusiast who warns that the short term convenience of the Smartphone has long term consequences. 

Mr. Hall points out that we no longer have to print the pictures we take to see them. So true. They are viewed on the phone screen, maybe stored on a memory card, and stored in the cloud.  But as Hall succinctly calls out the danger of this approach:

"Unfortunately I think most people won't have their photos from this time period 100 years from now. I think as we get comfortable with how easy it is to take photos, how many we take - we don't give much thought with what happens to them later when we want to view them.”

Hall goes on to talk about technology advancing including many of the same ideas we have discussed in past posts:

“Think about how technology has advanced from the 1980's and how people used to store photos: You would be hard pressed to go find a way to read these [floppy discs, 3-and-a-half inch discs, zip drives] now. They are wonderful but no longer very useful or readable. All that technology is guaranteed to march forward. We'll always have something better, that's why I said cascade. Copy everything on to that next best thing."

“Cascading” or making new copies of your digital files onto the next new format or file technology is a hard task to manage.  But manage we must if we want to preserve all our digital files 20, 30, or even 50 years into the future.

But there is an easier way. Assuming we will not want to keep every digital picture we ever shot, find the best of your best images and make hard copy prints, photo books, and photo keep sakes (posters, calendars, jewelry, etc.).  The article goes on to talk about printing as the easy and sure solution to knowing you will have prints to look at generations from now.

Hall concludes:

"Printing [your pictures] out is probably going to be the least expensive and the most sustainable. You'll forget you put them in a drawer and 20 years from now you'll be so glad you did.  If you need it or you think you're really going need it or want it future-wise, print it”.

Well said.

To find a professional lab, and learn much more about the products and services to help you print to preserve, we’ve created the Pro Lab Moments website.  Use it to find a network of professional photo labs that can help turn your best digital photos into print creations and gift items.  This includes prints (in a wide variety of sizes) and photo books, but also other high quality gift items like keepsakes, mugs, greeting and thank you cards, and much, much more.  It’s all right here: