For anyone who lives in western Canada you may have seen a recent t.v. commercial for London Drugs where a guy is taking pictures of a kids birthday celebration and one by one the people and things in the scene disappear with an audible “pop”. Meanwhile the voice over says somethingthing to the effect of “If you don’t print your digital pictures, you may just lose them forever!” and the guy stands there looking at his now empty dining room indicating that the memories of the birthday party are gone. It’s not the greatest commercial in the world but to me it speaks volumes about something I hold near and dear to my heart – the importance of PRINTING YOUR DIGITAL PICTURES!

I read a lot of scrapbooking magazines and the odd photography one here and there too, and there are often articles about this exact topic, replete with horror stories about some ancient computer finally biting the big one and some poor family “losing” the first five years of their children’s lives because the hundreds of digital images had never been printed.

Pretty much everyone I know uses a digital camera. Sure there is the odd die hard film photographer out there who can ignore this post with confidence, but I’m betting most of you are guilty of taking fabulous digital pictures only to let them languish on the hard drive of your computer (or only slightly better – on some dusty, scratched CD ROM). Sure it’s great fun to be able to see the photos instantaneously on the computer screen but then, inevitably, life takes over and, your curiosity satisfied, you simply file the images away intending to print them later (when you have more time, of course). Herein lies the problem…you will never have the time. You need to make the time.

I know some of you who scrapbook print a few pics here and there to scrapbook, but even then it can be a tedious and frustrating exercise to sort through thousands (literally) of photos just to pick 20 or 30 to print for scrapbooking. So…enough of the guilt trip. I think the real reason most people don’t ever get around to printing digital pictures is that they’re overwhelmed. With digital, we have the freedom to take SO MANY pictures that we bury ourselves in megabites and megapixels to the point that we just give up.

Hence, I’m going to share with you my method of dealing with the multitude of digital photos that I take. Yes it takes some time, and a little bit of organization, and most of all the guts to realize that not every picture you take is a masterpiece that needs to printed for posterity; however, I think the results are well worth the effort required. Because the instructions are somewhat detailed (i.e., long), I’ve saved them to their own page – so check out this link if want to learn more!

But before I go I’ll leave you with just a few thoughts that might just convince you that my method has some merit:

1. Think about the pictures you have of yourself as a kid. It’s likely that just a few albums cover your entire childhood from birth to leaving home and that is probably plenty. Your kids will probably be happier to have a few albums of PRINTED pictures to flip through than hundreds of CD’s or thousands of files on a computer.

2. Even CD ROMs have a life span of only 5-10 years if properly stored and cared for. Your photos will not be safe on a CD or DVD forever! The saeest way to store a picture for the long haul is to have it professionally printed.

3. If you can’t spare the time at the moment to go back through the thousands of pictures that you’ve taken but not printed since you went digital, then at least start organizing and printing from here on out. Then maybe make it your goal that each time you sit down to deal with the latest batch of pics, tackle one other past event as well. It might also be a good idea to do this in order of importance to ensure you get the most precious pictures printed fastest (like your wedding or your child’s first birthday before that random camping trip or girl’s night out).

I hope that this advice will at least help someone overcome the overwhelming task of dealing with a plethora of digital images. And by all means – if you have something that works for you, please share! I’m always looking for new tips and tricks and with a baby on the way, which will surely increase the number of photos I take while decreasing the time I have to manage them, I know I can use all the help I can get!