Courtney Hales

Wedding Tips

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January 15, 2020

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Lost Memories | Why Printed Photos?

When was the last time you printed photos? With the amazing capabilities of phones these days, it is so convenient to have your memories right at your finger tips. I myself am guilty of taking tons of photos on my phone with the intention of looking back on these pictures and reliving memories. But ask me how often I sit on my phone and scroll past pictures. I will tell you the answer before you even have to ask, never.

I often speedily scroll through my photos on the hunt for one specific photo, blowing past the hundreds of photos I have taken over time. Occasionally I will stop on a photo that catches my eye and reminiscence on the story for a fleeting second. Then back on the hunt I go. The chances of me going back to that photo that caught my eye on a regular basis is zero. It’s one of those out of site out of mind things, unless the memory is brought up in conversation. Then hunting I will go again.

Its handy to have all of these photos on a little device you can hold right in your hand. Knowing they are all backed up to an invisible lock box in the sky known as “the cloud”. Chances are though, if you are like me… you’ve taken 10,000+ photos over the years you’ve owned smart phones. I ran out of cloud storage a very, very long time ago. I always tell myself that I will go in and clean out the old photos that I don’t need or I will upgrade my cloud storage. But, I never do.

It never matters, until they’re gone

I will never forget the first time my cell phone crashed. My photos weren’t backed up. I lost so many precious memories. All of the first years of my relationship with the man I am now married to, gone. They will NEVER come back. I will never be able to show my children our baby faces. Thanks to Facebook I have been able to find one or two. We took photos all the time. I lived for selfies, I am sure there were hundreds. Out of all of them, I have ONE OR TWO.

You would think after that first time that I would learn to back up my photos, but I didn’t. I have been a smart phone owner for 10 years now. I was 18 when I got my first one. Over the last decade I have done so many amazing things and made so many amazing memories. But, I have nothing tangible to show for them. I’ve broken and fried more phones than I care to admit, each time losing more and more memories. This is going to be the year that I learn though.

Why not just buy more cloud space?

Sure, the first thing popping into your mind at this point is probably to pay a little extra to have more space in the cloud for your photos. Great, that’s really not a bad idea. I highly recommend that. But how often will you scroll through your cloud? Probably the same amount of times as you scroll through the photos on your current phone, or even less.

How many logins do you have for different platforms of social media, account and online stores? I am willing to bet tons. It seems like every single place has a different requirement for passwords or email addresses. Its hard to remember them all!

I have a coworker whose phone suddenly quit working a couple months ago. No explanation, no reason. One morning she woke up and it wouldn’t turn on. She had backed up all of her photos to her cloud service but there was one problem. She could not remember which email address she had used years ago to set up the cloud account. Her cell phone company could not help her because none of the information on the phone was retrievable.

Ya’ll, she had created at least a dozen email accounts over the years and some of them she couldn’t even access anymore because the company had gone under. There was no option to go in and attempt to use the email and just reset the password on the cloud. So her photos are as good as gone. It hurt my heart to see how distraught she was over her lost memories.

How many people can enjoy your memories besides you?

Obviously you are the only one who has access to your cloud account. Most of the time that’s not a bad thing! No, I don’t want to share every single private detail of my life with every one. Nor do you. But what about those trips with friends or family?

One of the best things to do at family gatherings is look at old photos. Sometimes they spark stories that I myself have never heard. It’s always full of laughter, sometimes tears. To me its more tangible than a brick in the palm of your hand.

So many memories have been shared sitting in a circle with a stack of printed photos passing them to the person next to you when you’ve studied the image and asked your questions. I feel like I have done that more in the last few years than I would have liked to. I have put together more than my fair share of memory boards recently. But you know what? I wouldn’t have been able to do that if my people hadn’t printed their photos.

I’ve held printed photos in my hands that are almost a hundred years old and I didn’t need my great great great grandmother’s cloud password to see them! I never knew I could feel those feelings or have the questions I had until it was tangible. Seeing my ancestors in black and white, the way they dressed, the cars they drove, the houses they lived in, it was more real than a picture on a computer screen.

Life isn’t promised

Even the more recent photos, the ones that aren’t so ancient bring back so many emotions. I came into this world with lots of grandparents and great grandparents. When grandparents accompany a family to a session, I always invite them to hop into at least ONE photo. Like clockwork they always argue that they aren’t “camera ready”. My response (also like clockwork) is that in my short life I have buried all of my grandparents and great grand parents except one.

All I have left are those printed photos. When I turned 21 I lost one of my grandmothers. I like to think she was technologically advanced for her age. She had become hip to dial up and often stored photos on her computer that somewhat resembled a stone tablet used in biblical times. When she passed away you know what we didn’t have? A list of her accounts and passwords for various websites and cloud services. Thankfully she was pretty good about printing a lot of her photos so they weren’t all lost.

She went into the hospital for a simple surgery and was never able to bounce back. She was far too young to leave this world at age 69. But I am thankful that I have photos of our trips and vacations that I can hold. The mere sight of them floods me with memories of horseback riding, fishing on her boat and dancing in her living room. I can hear all of our favorite songs playing on her stereo.

Print the dang photos. Print them big! Display them with pride. Give yourself tangible memories.

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