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Is Printing Photos In The Digital Age Necessary?

Is Printing Photos In The Digital Age Necessary?

Taking photos is so handy today that we can just do it anywhere at anytime with our phones and digital cameras. We don’t even need to worry about making room for storing lots of photo albums because we can simply store and even share the photos online.

We’re taking more photos but are keeping fewer of them physically. Should we be worried about it?

Rollfilm is not limitless like digital photos, so every single photo we took used to be very precious.

Given the many benefits of digital photos, you may not even consider printing out the images. It’s likely that if you really will print some photos, you’ll have a hard time deciding which ones to print!

However, some people do appreciate having physical photos, such as your grandparents who hang up framed family photos, or hipsters who like to cover their bedroom walls with Polaroids. To them, hard copies are much more special.

Such difference in attitudes makes us wonder why we’re taking more and more photos these days—is it just because it’s easy, or do we actually treasure our memories? Are we overlooking something about old-school print-out photos?

Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider printing photos again.

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We’re taking more photos but we’re also losing more of them.

As we’re taking more and more photos, we may even forget about having taken them. Sometimes when we go through the photos in our phone, we may stumble upon photos that we don’t even remember taking.

It’s ironic how too many photos are making us worse at remembering precious moments in our lives, when those moments have driven us to take photos in the first place. That group selfie you took at a dinner party last week is probably drowned in the photo stream of your phone by now. Another week from now, you’ll probably have trouble looking for it—that is, if you still remember it.

On the other hand, prints are concrete.[1] If there’s a photo you really like (that you have printed), you can put it in a picture frame and place it on your desk.

You can still see it even after you switch off the computer or lock your smartphone. It’s there, literally.

Not everyone we know is active on the internet or knows how to use the computer, so they can’t share our memories if we stop printing photos.

Another reason why printing photos is a good idea is that it makes sharing easier sometimes.

Think of your parents, or your grandparents, they are the ones who want to remember the time they’ve spent with you more than others. Perhaps they can’t handle a smartphone or a computer very well, or perhaps you don’t want to add them on Facebook. Either way, the photos you’ve taken with them are important to them, and they probably want to look at them every day.

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The more digital photos we take, the more difficult it is to manage them digitally.

Other than losing track of our memories, digital photos also make it difficult for us to stay organized.

Even though they don’t take up physical space, storing them can be trickier than you think. For instance, just as your computer no longer has a slot for floppy discs, there is no guarantee that future computers can continue to read DVDs or USB flashdrives.[2]

Keep in mind that technology advances quickly nowadays. Digital photos may not last forever.

Even the Internet pioneer warns us not to rely on digital photos, or else we may risk losing them forever.

Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, believes that digital information is at risk of disappearing.[3]

Digitalization does not preserve photos. What it does instead is to allow us to view images we have ‘stored’ in digital form whenever we want. Unfortunately, with the rapid development of computer technology, file formats change. Older formats may become unreadable on new softwares. Even hard drives, that is, the physical form of storage, may crash or become incompatible as time passes by.

Which is to say, if you want to keep your memories, printing photos is actually a more reliable!

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If you want to keep your offline family and friends in the loop, print the photos out.

This makes sense if preserving and sharing memories is your goal for taking photos. For instance, it makes sharing with people who don’t use a computer or the internet easier.

But besides printing photos, you can also try some ways to organize your digital photos better to preserve your memories.

If you don’t want to lose track of your digital photos, store them on a single platform and ensure they’re synced across different devices.

Since losing track of your photos is a real concern, storing all of them in the same place would be a great idea.[4] This would save you from having to remember where you should go to when looking for particular photos. You can do this on your computer hard drive or a cloud storage, etc.

But don’t forget about your photos after organizing them. Check your collection regularly to make sure everything’s backed up and in the correct order.

For example, if you take photos on your phone and upload them to Flickr for storage, keep your Flickr up-to-date just in case missing out anything from the last sync.

To even better organize your photos, label them and put them in order.

To better organize your photos, you can sort them into folders. Make sure to name your folders properly with dates and the occasions, e.g. 2016/11/25 Graduation Ceremony.

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Try to use tags such as “Graduation”, “2016”, and “Winter” for quicker photos search.

Including the names of the people in the photos can also be helpful, e.g. 2017/02/06 Birthday with Chris and Ashley.

Make sure you are consistent about the way you name your folders over time, e.g. the year always comes before the month.

Lastly, since technology advancement happens so quickly, it’s be good to stay informed about the latest storage methods. Here’re several helpful websites you can follow: Lifehacker (Digital Photos Secion), TechRadar, Gizmodo.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

Wen Shan

Proud Philosophy grad. Based in HK.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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