The digital age has changed how we do a lot of things. From facetime, to online banking, even the most inbuilt day-to-day tasks have been transformed in recent years. With the introduction of digital cameras, followed by smart phones, it looked like the traditional printed photograph was to be the next item on the way out. Yet somehow, the age of print isn’t dead. Whether it’s for reasons of nostalgia, security, or tradition, people still choose to print a select few photos in 2019, and it doesn’t look like this practice is going anywhere. Of course, not all the photos we take end up in a physical form. The number is marginal in fact. Considering the fact that 1.7 trillion digital photos were taken in 2017, with a predicted annual growth of around 9% until 2021, it is unreasonable to expect this many to end up in print. However, the select few that do meet the mark are likely to depict our most treasured memories. So, why are print photos still so important today, and have we seen a revival of the traditional photograph in recent years? Let’s find out!
One of the reasons that printed photos are still popular is the nostalgic aesthetic of film photography. In the age of Instagram, everyone seems to fancy themselves an amateur photographer. Using features like light-leak filters, it is possible to give iPhone photos a retro finish. This love of all things retro goes further than a filter though; vintage film cameras and polaroid cameras are still sought after, despite the ease of snapping a selfie on an iPhone.
Many people utilise polaroid pictures as room decorations or keep these snapshot memories in albums. The tone produced by a polaroid or film camera is impossible to perfectly replicate with an iPhone, even with all the filters available. Because of this commitment to all things retro, it is unlikely that these classic devices will become extinct any time soon.
Quality not quantity
Although the number of pictures getting printed seems minuscule in comparison to the amount that are captured every day, it is quality rather than quantity on people’s minds when it comes to printing photos. Your photo reel is most likely full of fairly insignificant snaps: bouts of selfies, shots of particularly impressive meals, or blurry night-out photos. It is unlikely that any of these are ultimately going to make the cut.
However, in 2019 print is about quality rather than necessity. Only your favourite photos and most treasured memories are likely to be important enough for you to print and frame or put in a photo album. Because of this, printed photos have taken on a greater level of importance than ever — they truly hold our most important memories.
The assurance of a physical copy
Apart from nostalgia and emotional value, there is another reason why people may still favour print photos — security. As we have discussed, people take more photos today than they ever have before, but many do so without a clear idea of where these photos will end up. Due to the risk of faulty hard drives, corrupt USB drives, or other damaged devices, there is always a fear that you could lose all these precious memories in an instant (if you haven’t got a backup). Older generations in particular, can be sceptical when it comes to trusting technology. According to a study discussed from Lancaster University, “security concerns were omnipresent among the older adults interviewed, with many of them lacking confidence in their own knowledge of how to use online tools properly”. However, if you have a hard copy of all your favourite photographs you can trust where they are and know it is up to you rather than a machine to take good care of them.
Whether you’re drawn to the vintage tones, you love the one-off nature of a polaroid, or you simply want to keep your treasured memories safe, physical photos beat digital images every time. Photo printing or personalised postcard printing are amazing ways to cherish your memories or share them with others. Collecting all your memories in carefully curated albums will bring you joy for years to come, and who knows, maybe one day they will become relics for future generations to enjoy and learn from.
Article researched by UK based brochure printing business, Where the Trade Buys.