Why Have a Printed Family Portrait?

My Childhood Family Portrait...its going with me in a fire

The picture above is my childhood family portrait, it's going with me if there is ever a fire. It is completely irreplaceable.

We have already written about why we think that printing your photo's is so important - especially in todays digital age... How many precious memories are gone forever because your phone was lost, computer crashed, USB misplaced, hard drive corrupted? How do you even know that the format in which you have your pictures saved will be relevant and supported in ten or twenty years?

It's ok you tell me - I am organised, I have my digital photo files backed up on flash drives....I even have them saved in triplicate, following the data management maxim of "If it doesn't exist in three places then it doesn't exist at all". Flash drives are more reliable than hard drives due to their lack of moving parts and solid state drives are becoming more fashionable (although having three solid state drives for back-ups may require you to re-mortgage). But have you heard of data degradation the process by which your storage media slowly decays over years? Electrical charges can slowly leak away, magnetic orientations change, all destroying data - if you take a single image consisting of 326,272 bits of information (not big by any stretch of the imagination) add in a minuscule bit of degradation by flipping 1 bit of information (that is to say a 1 merely turns into a 0 or vice versa) the picture can be ruined, 3 bits flipped and it can be unrecognisable and lost to you forever....yes that includes your wedding album USB drive. If that doesn't scare you about the safety of your digitally stored media - consider this - the first generation of CD's is already rotting - and that re-writeable CD that you have the family pics "safely" stored on will only survive about ten years before losses set in. Your digitally stored files are not safe, even stored in triplicate. Cloud services are useful, if expensive, often requiring you to stay on top of annual subscriptions, but are still susceptible to being hacked, corrupted, and even accessed by authorities.

Answer me this question - how many physical photographic prints have you got in albums or stashed away in lofts? And how old are they? - Very few I bet are ruined and some may even date back to the early 20th century...or even before. Now....do you remember your first four or five camera phones or digital cameras you owned......can you put your hands on them now and get the photos from them? Or your first lap top? Or your mates laptop who promised to send you the pictures from your holiday ten years ago? etc etc

For some pictures, you can probably take the loss, a random BBQ at a distant friends, an uneventful Christmas-do at the place you didn't particularly enjoy working ...But for other occasions - these times and memories are irreplaceable. These are the memories, the photo's, that would hurt you to lose, that you would consider running back into a burning building once your family was safe, just to retrieve them. Would you do the same for your I-phone or TV? The cost of which could pay for a decades worth of family portraits.

The second degradation I will cover is your time. If your kids are now 18 months old for example and you don't have any professional quality pictures of them at birth, or six months, or their first birthday - you can now never do it. The time to capture those moments is literally lost to you. Forever. Now, you might argue that you have pictures from this time, although we have already seen the issues with digital media; but I have a challenge for you, lets say you want that picture made into a framed print for your wall, to pass on through the generations so your children can show their grandchildren....find the best quality picture you can from these times and enlarge it on your screen to the size of what would be a decent sized print on your wall - not so great is it? Any decent professional portrait photograph will enlarge to the size of a billboard without an obvious loss of quality - your phone will struggle to hold its comparatively low quality even to A4 size. Now not everyone can afford to have professional pictures taken every year, we realise this, but I would argue that the value and worth of a printed picture of your family taken in happy times is so much more than many of the things we wouldn't think twice about buying, and yet these are not the things we grab from the burning house.

So if you take away anything from this post - or as i'm told the cool kids say - the "TLDR" (too long, didnt read) version:

- Your digital media isn't safe - back things up in triplicate and put it on a cloud based service. But know that your media will still be subject to decay and cloud services are corruptible

- Prints will out-last you if stored even relatively dry - and you, and others, get to enjoy them as art, to see them on your wall and admire them and the powerful memories they evoke

- Time is ticking, the past is gone, never to return. The cost of professional quality pictures of you and your loved ones, if you take stock of all of your possessions, and the fact that they will be an heirloom passed down through generations, probably amounts to one of the best value items you will ever own.

Please let us know if you have any queries about our packages, or services for family or newborn portraits. If you have any pictures you would like to have turned into prints, framed prints, or wall art of any description please let us know and we would be happy to help you safeguard what may come to be some your most prize possessions. Keep those memories safe.

Best wishes for the New Year,




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