In the past, photo prints were limited in number due to the practical difficulties involved. The physical film had to be developed and then prints made from the negative, an expensive and time consuming process which meant that most people were limited to just one copy of each photo, with perhaps a second print of extra special shots. Digital photo prints have changed all of this, using simple and cheap technology to enable anyone to turn multiple images into as many prints as they like.
Often, technological innovations can promise much more than they actually deliver. It’s not so long since we were told that the advance of computer technology meant that people would soon be working less and enjoying much more leisure time, and that those who were working would be doing so in ‘paperless offices’. Both of these claims turned out to be somewhat optimistic, as is so often the case. After all, back in the 1950’s film makers freely assumed that by now we’d all be driving hover cars and travelling to the Moon and back on a regular basis. Occasionally, however, the march of technology can bring obvious advantages to ordinary people and digital photography is a very good example of this phenomenon.
The digitisation of the process has meant that many hundreds, even thousands of photographs can now be stored in the smallest imaginable space and that digital photo prints are as quick, easy and cheap as the old, physically printed pictures were time consuming, difficult and expensive. The chief advantage of digital photography, namely that anyone is free to take as many photographs as they like, means that on many occasions people don’t actually take the time to print photos, preferring to access them via devices such as their computer or other electronic means. Sometimes, however, especially with the most treasured photographs, it’s better to actually have a hard copy – a picture you can actually hold in your hand, taking you back to the memory it captures in a way which nothing else can quite manage.
Photo developing in the past meant that this was the only option available, and that if anything happened to damage the print another copy would have to be made, provided the delicate negatives were still in a good enough condition. Digital photo printing , on the other hand, is both simple and quick, with only seconds being needed to log online, choose the prints you want to have printed and then have them in your hand without any frustrating wait. Alongside this simplicity comes a degree of flexibility which simply wasn’t available in the past. Your images can be altered and tweaked to exactly suit your needs, making alterations of aspects such as the cropping, the colour balance and the size of the final print. For example, you may have taken a fantastic photo of your children which is ruined by the accidental presence of a total stranger on the edge of the frame.
Using the technology available this could be edited out of the picture in a matter of seconds. Online photo printing puts you in charge of everything which happens to your images which, when bearing in mind the fact that they are valuable records of precious memories, is surely the way things ought to be. Once you’ve taken your pictures you can produce copies to send to friends and family, meaning that people like grandparents can now have their own picture of their grandchildren rather than having to wait to visit until they get to see one, and that friends get to see your best holiday snapshots in the comfort of their own homes.
Photo prints used to be expensive and frustratingly time consuming, calling for a visit to a specialist shop or a roll of film entrusted to the postal service. Digital photo prints are entirely different, bringing together convenience, flexibility and value for money.