In years gone by, the practical problems involved in producing photo prints meant that most people limited themselves to only a relatively small number. The actual film had to be sent away to be developed and then printed, the film turned into negatives and the negatives used to print the pictures. The time and cost involved in this process meant that people almost invariably limited themselves to one copy of each picture, with extra special photographs perhaps warranting a second copy. Thanks to the advent of digital photo prints things are now very different. The technology involved is inexpensive and simple enough to allow anyone to produce their images into as many different copies as they like.
All too often, breakthroughs in technology fail to deliver the benefits which they initially promise. Digital photography, on the other hand, is an example of a technical breakthrough which has brought vast benefits for the people making use of it on a regular basis. The fact that pictures can now be stored digitally means that it is now not only possible but actually simple for anyone to store hundreds if not thousands of images in a space as small as a memory card, and that turning these images into photographs via digital photo printing is no longer time consuming and expensive. One of the main plus points of digital photography, i.e. the fact that the number of photographs anyone can take is totally unlimited, does have something of a down side.
This down side lies in the fact that, all too often, people never get round to taking the time to print photos, opting to access them vie their computer or other electronic viewing devices. Whilst this is undoubtedly convenient, there’s no getting away from the fact that it lacks the emotional resonance of actually holding a solid, two dimensional object in your hand and allowing the image on it to transport you back to the moment that the picture was taken. Whilst the old methods of photo developing meant that this was in fact the only option available, they also meant that the resulting photograph, a delicate object, was something which could easily be damaged. If it was damaged, what’s more, replacing it would mean relying on having the even more delicate original negative in good enough condition to take another print from it.
Digital photo prints, meanwhile, are both quick and simple. All you need to do is log on line and, with a few clicks of the mouse, choose the pictures which need printing and then get them in your hand without any of the frustrating waiting which used to be necessary. Not only is the process simple, but it is also flexible, making it possible to amend the details of your print until it exactly meets your needs- the cropping the colour balance and the overall size can all be tweaked and modified until the final print is exactly what you’re looking for. You may have captured an image of one of your favourite landmarks, for example, and would like to have it copied and sent to friends and family, were it not for the fact that you’ve accidentally captured a family of strangers who just happened to be standing on the edge of the frame. In the past, this would have been out of your hands, but the technology now available means that it is quick and simple to re-crop the photographs so that the offending imagery is removed and the result includes nothing more than that which you want to capture.
Digital photo prints capture the best of all possible worlds. The image can be made to match exactly what you had in mind and, once it does so, it can be copied and re-copied as many times as you wish, meaning that a favourite snap of your children can be sent to as many doting relatives as you wish to send it to, without running up a huge bill for developing and printing. The upshot of this technology is that the photo prints you end up with are exactly the ones you wanted.