Prints or digital files? (Winnipeg Photographers)

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We take more photographs now than ever in the history of time. Look at these facts:

  • Facebook said in May 2015 that two billion photos are shared on its systems every day, by 1.4bn users  – a 730bn/year run-rate.
  • at least 2 trillion photos will be shared this year, and possibly 3 trillion or more. Spread across roughly 2bn smartphone users, that’s only 2-3 photos per day per person,
  •  estimates of the total number of photos ever taken on film range from 2.5-3.5 trillion. That in turn would suggest that more photos will be taken this year than were taken on film in the entire history of the analogue camera business.


There is no doubt that we are taking more photos than ever; an average of 2 or 3 pictures every single day!

There are times, however, when we decide to hire a professional photographer; when we want  some beautiful, emotive images to capture our families in a moment of time.

So we do our research and find that special photographer to photograph our children at different ages.

We make sure when we are looking for a photographer that we find one who will sell us a DVD of the images. We do sessions every year; the photos are amazing and we buy all of  the DVDs. We keep the DVDs in a special place to print the images later or we download the photos onto our phones and computers to share with others.

Let’s say that we don’t print those images but when our child is 18, we decide to put together a set of prints or a photo book of them growing up. We take the DVDs out of our drawer and pop them into our computer’s drive. Nothing there. We try another; the pictures are all faded and grey. We look for them in the computer that we used 15 years ago. The hard drive is empty. We panic and realize that all of our pictures are gone.

Not possible you say.

Yes, it is possible and very probable. Look at this:

  • “…an investigation by a Dutch personal computer magazine, PC Active, has shown that some CD-Rs are unreadable in as little as two years, because the dyes in the CD’s recording layer fade. These dyes replace the aluminium “pits” of a music CD or CD-Rom, and the laser uses that layer to distinguish 0s from 1s. When the CD is written, the writing laser “burns” the dye, which becomes dark, to represent a “1″ while a “0″ will be left blank so that if the dye fades, there’s no difference; it’s just a long string of nothing to the playback laser.”


  • But wait, you think, I also have hard drives backing up my pictures. Sadly, that is no guarantee. Look at these stats:

    Hard Drive Reliability Stats – Failure Rates 2013-2015

    According to the chart Backblaze created (zip file availablehere), which shows hard drive failure rates for 2013, 2014 and 2015, 1.5TB drives had the biggest failure rate in 2015  – 15.10%, while 2TB drives had only 1.88% failure rate.

    Here are the hard drive failure rates for 2015:

    • 1TB – 8.66%
    • 1.5TB – 15.10%
    • 2TB – 2.87%
    • 3TB – 4.33%
    • 4TB – 2.18%
    • 5TB – 3.84%
    • 6TB – 2.00%
    • 8TB – 3.41%
    • All Drives – 3.10


This ad from Fuji film says it all:


Yes, hard drives do fail. It isn’t a question of if they will fail, but when they will fail.

  • What about those USB storage sticks that everyone has now? Think about this. When was the last time you saw a computer that loaded a floppy disc or the last time you played a VHS tape on your tv? Can you guarantee that your USB stick or your DVD will be accessible? No, of course you can’t.

vhs tape

So what is the answer?

The answer is simple. It is to make prints. Prints do not suddenly disappear. Make prints and put them into an album. Make photo books. Show off your pictures and don’t use electricity to do so.

Share prints with family and friends and have prints of your children to show them when they are grown up.

As a photographer, I like my clients to have prints and so I provide both prints and digital files. I want you to have those memories in a print form to share with your family and friends. I want the prints to be there for generations to come to view.

picture frame

I sell the digital files because that is what most people want. I sell the prints because I want clients to have the finished product of my work. I sell the digital files in the hopes that clients will make the prints. I sell the prints because I know that my clients will have the prints.

They might not have the digital files.

The final word: MAKE PRINTS! You will never be sorry.