Magic Monday: Digital vs. Print. What is best?

I have spent an interesting two weeks with the aftermath of my grandfathers unexpected death.

Part of my participation for the funeral and viewing involved putting together a photo montage slide show and printing images to frame for display.

I learned a lot in this process.  And will be making some major changes to the way that I do things, according to what I discovered.

Let’s talk briefly about DIGITAL vs. PRINTS.  And which is better 🙂



Hands down, it was easiest to work with digital images given the time sensitive situation.  It was wonderful to have the opportunity to conduct computer searches with key words, find images, and work them into the media format I needed.  All photographs that pre-dated digital (which for a 77 year old is A LOT), required laborious scanning and digital organization.  It was great to have those images finally digitized to ease useability for the future.

Ease for web use.

Digital files can be used so easily for personal blogs, social media, digital scrap booking, and a myriad of other easy ways to share your pictures.

Ease for editing.

Yep.  Its fun.  You control the look of the final image all yourself!



While trying to find digital images of my Grandfather, I had the “pleasure” of searching my mom’s entire computer photo library of the past ten years.

I saw A LOT of images.  TONS of images.  I was reminded of the doubled edged sword of digital photography.  On one hand you don’t have limitations in the number of images you can take–which leads to an opportunity for more images–and on the other hand, again, you don’t have limitations in the number of images you can take–which leads to lots of images of the same thing (some of which are definitely better than others but somehow don’t get trashed and fill up the library…) It seems to me that when I shot film, I was a little more selective with my shots, which consequently often made for better shots.


I also had the experience of seeing so many fantastic photos and memories that I had completely forgotten about, or in some cases, had never actually seen.  Only a sliver of the digital images at my mom’s have ever actually made it to print.  VERY FEW.  Therefore, its been super easy to forget they even exist.  And in my opinion, I kept thinking repetitively, “What good are all these images doing sitting on a hard drive?! Some of these should be hanging on the wall, and the rest should at least be organized into albums!”

I know I say it a lot, but I am a huge fan of PRINT.

PRO’s of Print

Another back-up.

Somehow, I have lost far fewer prints in my lifetime than digital files.  Of course my house has never burned to the ground either, BUT, I did have all my maternity photos mysteriously end up being deleted by a careless photographer (me), but thankfully, I had at least already printed several and made an album.

Constant Enjoyment

I love the images I have printed for my home.  I see them often, feel joy looking at them, and know they serve a powerful purpose in reminding me of what is most important in my life.  I even have framed images over my washer and dryer.  I have them everywhere.  And sometimes when I’m grumbly because I’m doing another load of laundry, I look up and see some smiling and laughing faces and my heart softens and I remember that my life is good.

Personal History

Despite some of the hassle of scanning the old prints to make them digital, it was so helpful to have had them organized into albums.  Much better than sifting through shoeboxes and stacks of unorganized photos (similar to the mess of digital unorganized and unprinted on hard drives everywhere).  I don’t care how advanced we become technologically, nothing replaces the family photo album.

I’m in the process this time of year of compiling all my personal photos for our family album to print.  I love blurb books (with premium paper) for their incredible price ( I need LOTS of pages!), quality, and design.  Its a quick, affordable, and beautiful solution to rescuing the files from neglect, being forgotten, and brightening our lives with the opportunity to see and benefit from them more regularly.

Con’s of Print?  I don’t think there are any if you have a good lab to use.

Which is best?  Both of course.  But like so much of life, having a balance between the two brings the greatest amount of benefit.

Next on my list to print?  My cute boys 🙂  Have a fabulous week!

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Her new hobbies include multi-tasking, journaling, and Nutella taste testing.  Someday, when she finally “makes it big”, she plans to hire someone to mow the lawn each week.  And weed.  What a luxury.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons , online photography classes, as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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8 Responses

  1. I agree with all you said and need to get to work on cleaning up and printing digital files and organizing and hanging prints. This is a timely reminder!

  2. At least you weren’t digging through rolls of undeveloped film 🙂

    So we’re in the process of printing an album through shutterfly, but the next time around we’ll have to give blurb a try as I am intrigued by their site.

    As for sorting photos. I seriously don’t know how I ever found anything before Lightroom. One of these days I’m going to import all my pre-lightroom photos and just spend a Saturday tagging and sorting.

    Question for you; do you sort your photos into separate lightroom catalogs and just maintain 1 giant catalog? I’m debating which approach to take as my collection is starting to get a little unwieldy.

  3. Hey Vince! You will need to try blurb. I think they’re quality is much better than shutterfly, personally. Their price is great too.

    LR is great for organization. I do maintain a few different catalogues. My friend Wade Heninger (who is one of the smart dudes that wrote Lightroom) says that you should think about starting a new catalogue once the current catalogue reaches about 13,000 images just to help speed things up. Since my processing power is less than great (2 gigs of RAM, oh yeah!) I usually switch up for a new one at about 2-4,000. Then again though, once I import to smugmug, I remove the originals from my hard drive to free up space. (not that I recommend anyone do that, but for my current situation its necessary. I just need a newer faster comp. )

  4. Love love love love LOVE LOVE this picture!!!!!! Now that I’ve seen Buzzy a couple of times in person, I totally can hear his little laugh when I see big smiley pictures like this of him! =)

    So cute! And I’m with you on Print. I want to PLASTER the walls of my house with photos. Just need to make it happen now!

  5. @brooke Thanks for the advice, I’m pretty sure I’ve crossed the 20,000 image barrier, so that might account for some speed issues I’ve been having. Also, drop some more RAM in that computer! If it’s an iMac they’re really easy to upgrade, just watch some youtube videos on how to do it. 2x2gb sticks should run you about $80 dollars. Of course you could always just hold out for a new Quad-core iMac 😉

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