Tips for Using Digital Images
Don’t let your photographs die a JPEG death!
Katie, my best friend, and I browsed the Target aisles to pass the time. We’d both finished a roll of 35mm film from our fifth-grade trip to the cities. Our matching $10 cameras were strung around our necks, hers purple, mine teal green.
Now, we waited for the one-hour photo lab to develop our treasured memories. Flipping through books and magazines, we chatted about our trip and how embarrassing it would have been to throw up on the bus.
Katie checked her watch and looked at me, eyes wide as she grabbed my arm and pulled me toward the front of the store. Giggling like only ten-year old’s can, we took our packets from the cashier and immediately tore them open.
The sharp smell of the chemicals hit my nose as I ran my hand over the smooth glossy paper. The first two prints were of a blurry bus full of kids, the rambunctious boys, arms outstretched, breaking the rules. The next were in hotel room, Ann & Beth jumping on the bed and one of all of us making funny faces.
I showed Katie as she flashed me a photo of our teacher caught off guard. For 24 colorful printed memories, we laughed and recounted our adventure, the funny thing Lindsay said and all the snacks at the Twins game.
We’d later spend time swapping photos, placing prints into photo albums and cementing the memories into our subconscious forever. I still have those photo albums.
Digital World Truths
In our digital world, we’ve strayed from physical photographs being something cherished. Gone are the days of cataloguing prints in an album for all to see. Now, images live on our phones, on our computers and in the cloud. Rarely do we print and display them.
I’m a strong advocate of printing and I’ve compiled a list of ways you can start organizing and displaying your photos. These tips are for professional and personal photographs alike.
Printing & Displaying your Photographs
1. Classic small prints
The easiest place to start is with small prints. It’s inexpensive and easy. Think 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10. Yes, 8×10 is small! Your were conditioned to think it was big from JC Penny back in the day. Don’t believe me? Take an 8×10 and hold it over your couch…it’s tiny.
The best part is, you don’t have to print EVERY photo. Pick 10-15 of your favorites from an event or a summer or whatever and get prints made. Printing photographs gives them meaning by becoming a tangible thing you can hold. Frame them, place them in a photo box or let your kids plaster them around their room.
My personal recommendations for printing are mpix.com for online or Costco for picking up. You DO need to have a membership to use Costco, however. Other options for pickup include Walgreens or CVS, although I’ve found the quality to be less.
Pro Tip: If printing images from a professional photographer, be sure to uncheck the option to “auto-correct” the image. Auto-correct will mess with the color and specific edits you paid your photographer to make.
2. Larger Wall Portraits
Print your favorites (professional or not) big and use as art in your household! Frames and canvas lend themselves to putting a professional finish on your big photographs. I recommend 16×20 or larger. Go way outside the box and create a digital collage in Canva or similar and print/frame that!
3. Print Albums
Naturally, this leads to albums, like the classic ones with sleeves that you slide the print into! They still exist! There’s something nostalgic and wonderful about these. Being able to flip through your memories without messing with technology is healthy. Grab your fav at Michaels or your local craft store and organize away!
Scrapbooking had it’s heyday about a decade ago, but there are still many people who love to physically design pages. I’m talking about using papers, stickers & embellishments to design a page that’ll perfectly display your images. Digital has stolen our basic urge to create and scrapbooking is a great way to reclaim it.
Scrapbooking is perfect for kids as well. They will astound you with their creativity. Plus, using scissors promotes dexterity and organizing items to fit within a page promotes spatial awareness. Kids will learn as they create and they’ll LOVE to look at their scrapbook for years to come.
Pro Tip: Head to Facebook Marketplace or Ebay to score tons of supplies for cheap!
5. Memory Books
If scrapbooks aren’t your jam, design a book online to have printed! There are countless places to design and print a book, the most recognizable probably being Shutterfly. I personally find the design software on the Shutterfly site difficult to use. Hop around and read reviews! Mpix.com, Artifact Uprising and Blurb are my favorites for personal books. Birthdays, vacations, recap a year, etc. are all ideas for utilizing these books.
One year, I designed each of my nieces an ABC’s of ______ book. It was 26 pages, with a letter a the top of each page and different pictures that went with said letter. For example, for the letter B, I used photos of us at a baseball game. It was time consuming, but super fun to create. Seeing their faces as they flipped through was worth it!
6. Tangible Display Objects
Ready for something that’ll make a great gift? Create usable items that display images. Mugs, magnets, or key chains are perfect for parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles.Necklaces, lockets or bracelets are great for kids (siblings, cousins or friends could have matching items!). When I was younger, my cousin Michelle & I had necklaces that broke down the middle and we each got a half (remember those?!).
The point is, digital images are best enjoyed when offline! Try one of these to get started showcasing your memories. Your images will thank you for saving them from a JPEG death! (haha!)