“I don’t think it is necessary for me to print up my photos and put them in an album.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that, but I disagree and here are my reasons why:
Mike Yost in his article “The Most Photographed Generation Will Have No Pictures in 10 Years!” said this: "Cameras. They’re everywhere. In your phone, on your tablet, . . . . And today, people are taking more pictures than ever before. It’s been estimated that in the past 5 years, more photos have been taken than all the prior years combined. The sad part is that few of these photographs will survive beyond a year. To many people, a “picture” is only good for the moment. . . . So what will become of all the pictures that are being taken today? Here is the reason that 99% of the photographs being taken today are soon going to be totally gone – digital images are no longer important enough to most people to actually keep them in printed form! Yes, I started in a film only world. We bought a roll of film and took our vacation photographs. We had them developed and printed. They were put in photo albums or photo boxes. We looked at them and cherished those memories with great care. They were a slice of our life and for many, if disaster struck, those photographs were the one thing we would try to find first. Wedding albums and photographs represented our LIFE and we salvaged all we could. It is estimated that less than 1 out of 100,000 photographs taken today actually ends up being a printed photograph. . . . Add to this, over the years, the technology has changed so fast, that many photographs taken 6-7 years ago are stored on a type of media that is no longer supported."
Close To My Heart COO, Brian Holman, said the following: "I purchased my first digital camera in 2000. My oldest of three children was six years old. Two additional children and fifteen years later, we have taken over 40,000 digital photos and 3,000 videos. That amounts to 500 gigabytes of data! In 1987 when I was programming the early PCs, it would have cost more than $22 million dollars to store that amount of data. . . . Past generations left photos in boxes for the next generation to deal with and the current generation will leave hard drives for the next generation to deal with. No matter the generation: curation matters!” [Definition of curation: “The act of curating, of organizing and maintaining a collection of artworks or artifacts.”]
FastCompany reported: “Hard drives only have a 50% chance of surviving their 6th birthday.”
The article “Preserving the Past, How to Care for and Protect Your Precious Family Photos” from genealogy.about.com had this to say: "Whether it is paintings on cave walls or writings chiseled in stone, mankind has been recording history since the beginning of time. The ability to document history photographically is a more recent invention . . . Photographs provide a very important visual connection to our ancestors. Shared family physical characteristics, hairstyles, clothing styles, family traditions, special events and more provide a graphic portrayal of the lives of our ancestors, but if we do not properly care for our photographs, some of our history will fade away right along with those precious images. . . . What Causes a Photo to Deteriorate? Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity and sunlight . . . [c]yclic conditions (high heat and humidity followed by cold, dry weather such as you would find in an attic or basement) are especially bad for photos. . . . The worst places to store your photographs is in an un-insulated attic or basement. . . . Avoid cheap drugstore-type photo albums and paper and plastic storage products that aren't specifically made for storing photos. Regular envelopes, ziplog bags and other things commonly used for photo storage aren't always safe for your photos. Use only lignin free, acid free, un-buffered paper for storing photographs or as interleaving paper in albums. Use only PVC-free plastics such as Polyester, Mylar, Polypropylene, Polyethelyne and Tyvek."
But in my mind, the most important reason of all is for yourself and your loved ones to be able to view your photographs. I remember my 2 year-old daughter showing the little boy next door her photos in her scrapbook. My children’s scrapbooks remind them of memories and assures them that they are loved. But I think Heidi Swapp said it best when she posted this on Instagram not too long after the death of her 16 year old son:
So how do you stay on top of your photos, well, this is what I do and I highly recommend you do this 4-step process monthly: 1) Save photos to one location (computer, tablet), organize by year, month & event; 2) back-up (disc, cloud), delete from phone/camera; 3) Print (printer, send out to a service), organize by year, month & event (add mementos); 4) Put in album.