574: Photo Prints

Do you get physical prints of photos?


Full episode script

It’s difficult to overstate the impact that smartphones have had on dozens of industries — and photography is one of the most often cited examples. The statistics I could find said that in the year 2000, Kodak announced that 80 million photos had been taken that year. And in 2017, the best estimates say that somewhere between 1.2 and 1.3 billion photos were taken. In other words, 1.12 trillion more photos than just 17 years before.

 

What I’m intrigued by is the impact this has had on the printing industry — after all, the only way to see your photos used to be to drop them off for development and see what came out. Now, people are selecting which photos they wish to print instead.

 

As Harald Johnson wrote in PetaPixel in 2013:

Research firm InfoTrends did a survey of Internet connected households in EU, and photo printing went up 11% in 2012 compared to 2007-2008. Similarly, U.S.-based online photo printing has become a big deal, growing by about 20% annually between 2007-2012 according to market research firm IbisWorld.

 

One of the coolest things to see is that photo printing is expanding — at least in styles. While your options used to be only in the size of photos or a few specialty items you had to mail off to order. Now, there’s an explosion in options, from printing photos on glass to canvas to metal to wood, or more.

 

As Daven Mathies wrote in Digital Trends:

To be sure, digital has indeed changed how we print, and there’s no going back. The number of standard 4 x 6-inch photo prints is expected to decline to 39 billion this year, down from 47 billion in 2014, according to information provided to Digital Trends by Keypoint Intelligence. Keypoint Intelligence also expects the downward trend is slowing, and will level out at around 36 billion prints by 2021.

 

Rather than bemoan the decline in quantity of photos printed, let’s celebrate the fact that digital has given us new technology and new avenues for producing high quality prints. We have the tools today to make better prints than ever before.

 

And, as one digital grandfathers and grandmothers have pointed out more than a few times — there is no completely stable digital storage media. Unless you’re constantly modernizing your digital archives, they may become very difficult to read. An archive-quality printed photo could survive well over 100 years without a need for updating — just careful storage.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.