Photos? Yep. Print those too.

Look, I get it. These days we all have smartphone cameras at our disposal practically every waking hour. So, we naturally take lots of photos. And, if you have kids or pets or just about anything more active and interesting than slowly growing grass around you take lots and lots of photos. In fact, the younger the kid or more cute the pet, you likely have lots and lots of pretty much the same photo.

And, you have plenty of storage space so you just keep snapping and the camera roll just fills up and, sure, occationally you’ll look back a day or two or maybe a week to show a friend or relative that one cute one you got of little Johnny or Sue or puppy Fido but, in general, you don’t really ever go through the roll yourself. Once you upload it to Instafacetweetok and bask in the likes and loves of those you know, you don’t ever really look at them again.

Trust me. I’ve been there. And, I’ve had many a personal consulting client reach out to me on this very subject. It’s always basically the same story:

“I have thousands of photos. I’m not sure what to do with them but I don’t want to lose them. I don’t even know where to start with figuring it all out. Help!”

I believe they are generally shocked when I tell them the same thing I’m about to tell you…

Getting started is the hardest part because it is the most work. But, if you really care you’ll do it happily… Sit down with a strong cup of coffee, nice tea, or pleasant glass of wine and go through each end every photo in your camera roll and ask one simple question, “Do I love this?”.

If you do, print it. Put it in a frame. Hang it on a wall where you will see it. Or, perhaps, gather a bunch of them and print a nice photo book for your coffee table so that you may pick it up every now and then and enjoy them.

Once you do this the first time, repeat this process every couple of months or so. It’ll be easier and quicker then. Because, hopefully, there will be less photos to go through.

So, what to do with any that don’t make the cut?

Sure, backup is a good thing. Spend some time doing a clean up of the duplicates, etc. and get a good backup plan going. I believe in that but…

Anything that remains digital only — in a virtual box — might as well not exist anyway. You likely won’t look at them enough for it to matter, nor will your children or their children, and they probably won’t even have the technology to open them in 20 years or so (see my previous rant).

But, the ones you print, on good photo paper, with decent ink? Those will be here 100+ years from now. Likely more. Those are the only ones your grandchildren and their grandchildren will ever see. So, whaetever you do with anything that is not printed doesn’t ultimately matter. Print is the only dependable and time tested backup there is. If you don’t love it enough to print it, consider it gone.

You have all of these beautiful photos; precious even. Why keep them in a box in your pocket or on your desk? Why not show them the love you have for them? Why not cherish them? Why not find a way to regularly enjoy them? And, more importantly, why not save them from becoming digital dust?

So, once again, if you care about your photos, you’ll print them.