Everyone has access to a digital camera, so it makes it easy to capture tons of photos of those special moments.  Sadly, this has also turned most of our computer drives into the virtual “photo shoebox”.  Remember the days when family or friends wanted to share photos and they brought out a box full of assorted photos through which they rummaged to find the one they wanted to show you?  The only difference now is that we’re sitting in front of a computer screen, or worse, a cell phone.  And just a reminder to those of you who are sharing photos on phones . . . many elderly people have a difficult time seeing what is on the screen (reflection, resolutions, size).  So if you want your great-grandma so see a photo of your child, show her a nice sized print she can hold in her hands.

Many photographers believe that a photo is not complete until a print has been made.  But you can easily end up with a stack of digital prints in a real shoebox or file, and what’s worse, if the printing quality is poor, the colors will fade and bleed in the box and you have an inky mess.

Here are some pointers to help you treat your photos like the treasures they are.

1.   Take as many shots as you want, but learn to be discerning and critical of your photography. This is probably one of the most difficult things to do whether you’re a professional, serious amateur or casual snapshooter.   Be your own best critic.  Make a print of only the best, the ones that “speak to you”,  and archive the rest on one or more back-up drives.

2.   Use a high quality professional lab for prints.  A correct combination of paper, ink and process will increase the longevity of your prints.

3.  Make an additional copy of  any photos you plan to display.  Exposure to light and weather will cause those to fade.

4.  Create a real, tangible  album of your favorite photos.  You can center it around a theme or event, create multiple copies for gifts, store them with confidence.  The possibilities are endless.  Again, look for high quality printing.  You don’t need to invest in fancy covers unless you want to.  I use a high-end print and bind service for all my clients and for my own personal needs.

I still love the feel of a good book in my hand, and the same holds true for my photography.   The process is complete when the print is in hand.  It’s especially poignant when it’s a photo of a special moment, or friend or family member you cherish.  There is something very comforting about touching and holding an album of some of your most cherished memories.

Treat your photos with respect and awe.  Every one of them is a snapshot of a fleeting moment. . . a time that has passed.