Are Prints and Albums an Outdated Choice for the Modern Bride?

April 26, 2016  •  1 Comment

We do live in a digital age!  It wasn't that long ago that I was getting married (14 years next month) and our photographer used film.  All our pictures were delivered to us as 4x6 proofs.  Remember scrap-booking?  All those fancy edged scissors, piles of stickers, and expensive acid-free albums.  Some of us spent hours creating albums so we'd have a way to save and share our memories.

My Honeymoon AlbumScrap book album from 2002.

Above is a photo of a scrap book I made after Mark and I got married.  This spread shows some pictures from our honeymoon trip.


Then digital cameras came on the scene.  Suddenly you could save all your pictures on your computer, and on your phone.  We have pictures on Facebook and Instagram, and all our friends can see them whenever they want.  So why would a modern bride choose to spend money on prints or albums?

There's a reason that we include an album with all three of our wedding collections.  And there's a very good reason why we encourage our couples to order prints.  Think for a moment of the most important photograph that you have, one that's printed and maybe in a frame.  Think of the prints you have from your childhood, perhaps with a grandparent, or best friend.  Those prints are a physical object that links you with your past.  Some of us have old photos from 100 years ago or more, with unsmiling ancestors in stiff dresses staring out at us in shades of black and white.

I encourage my clients to think of their prints and albums as family heirlooms that they'll be passing on for generations to come. Digital pictures that are burned onto a disc may last anywhere from 50-100 years.  That's assuming that technology doesn't make discs obsolete, and that you're able to continue transferring them to your newest computer.

USB drives may last a little longer, especially if they're not used multiple times and are stored properly.  But we have no gaurantee that future computers will have USB ports.  Remember floppy discs?  (If you don't, they were a type of square plastic disc that was used for all kinds of digital storage.  Now they sit collecting dust because computers have moved past that technology.)

In 100 years, when your grandchildren are sorting through your belongings, will they recognize that stack of photo CDs?  Or will they assume it's a pile of outdated software?  What if they find a stack of printed family photos, or even better, a whole album full of pictures?  Those printed images will have become a treasured family heirloom!

This is the 8x8 boxed album that comes with the least-expensive collection!  No matter what your budget, you'll get a treasure book to pass on to your children.

So what's the best way to preserve your photographs for generations to come? Prints made at home on newer ink jet printers can last a surprisingly long time.  If you use the same brand of ink and paper that are made for your printer, they can last 35 to 100 years.  Unfortunately, cheaper brands of papers and inks will drop that number to 10 years or less.  

The lab that I order all my prints from uses Kodak Professional Endura Premier paper.  It has an archival value of 100 years on display, 200 years in dark storage.  Those are the minimum number of years that they'll last, and most likely it will be much longer!

I feel so strongly about passing down the images of our lives to future generations, that I offer a 50% discount for wedding clients to order their prints from me within the first month after their wedding!  No, I don't make a lot of money.  But I want you to have something precious to pass on to your grandchildren.

Our albums are really amazing.  I did a lot of research and decided to partner with GraphiStudio in Italy for our albums.  They are hand crafted, and the quality is outstanding!  You really should take a minute to look at their full product line here.

So, are prints and albums an outdated choice in this modern, digital age?  I think we could say with certainty that they're not only a wise choice, they're the gift we leave to our future.



Patty Deatherage(non-registered)
Great article. I would add acid free labels for the photos...sadly I have grandparents albums with no idea who most of the people are! Thanks for the reminder.
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