By Louise Dickens
I, like many others, saw in the new year surrounded by friends, slurring the words to Auld Lang Syne and drunkenly calling my parents to shout ‘Happy New Year’ down the phone (it’s sort of a tradition).
The next morning I woke up and scrolled through the photos of the night before. Half of my friends had already uploaded theirs on to Facebook, and I smiled (and cringed) as I relived the events of the night before.
On my own camera roll, there were numerous photos of my friends – many of them repeats of the same pose – as we snapped again and again until we caught the ‘perfect’ picture.
I dread to think how many photos like this are stored on my phone. Every so often I’ll get that dreaded pop-up:
CANNOT TAKE PHOTO
There is not enough available storage to take a photo.
When this happens, I free up precious space on my iPhone by dumping all my photos on to my laptop. I don’t even bother looking at them, I just take comfort in knowing that my memories are safe and that I can starting snapping away again.
I’ve done this again and again, until it’s got to the point where I’ve now amassed thousands of photographs… and I have no idea what to do with them.
I think we all understand the importance of photographs, which is why we take and hoard them like we do. We all feel the same pangs of nostalgia when we see photos from our past, and yet we keep them hidden away in digital files, where we can’t enjoy them.
If the whole point of photography is to remind us of our favourite memories – then uploading them to my laptop and never looking at them again is completely pointless.
So, this year, I am going to print more photos.
I’m also going to go through my digital archives to sort my photographs properly. Those 10 photos of the same subject taken from slightly different angles? They’ll be whittled down to one. And blurry, out-of-focus photos of nights I can’t (or don’t want to) remember? They’ll be deleted.
Choosing What Photos to Print (And How)
Photos I will be keeping, however, will be those of my holidays and travels. I really enjoy exploring foreign cities and cultures, and the photographs I take when travelling remind me of some of my most exciting experiences.
What’s more, because I usually have a rather large selection of photos from my travels, I’ve decided I will print them into photo books, which I can keep close to hand on my bookshelf or coffee table.
I recently went on a weekend break to Reykjavik, and used the photographs I took to create my first photo book.
Using FUJIFILM’s Imagine software I uploaded my photos and used a preset template to stylise my book (I could have created my own layout, but I’m far too lazy for that and the preset was to my liking). I played around a bit to tell the ‘story’ of my weekend, showcasing the vast differences between the urban culture of Reykjavik and the striking natural beauty of the landscape surrounding it.
When it arrived, I was very impressed. The layout made my photos look a LOT more professional than they were (which made me feel pretty awesome about myself, actually), and I was really impressed with the overall quality.
I’m definitely going to print the rest of my travel photos into photo books now.
However, I also want to display more photographs in my home. I already have standard prints and enlargements dotted around my flat, but I want to try to be a bit more creative.
Looking around my flat, I noticed that I don’t own any canvas prints – so I decided to print one of my more ‘arty’ photos on a canvas frame. Here’s the result:
I wasn’t expecting the colours to be so bright and vivid – so I was quite impressed with the result. I have this drab, dead wall in my hallway, so decided to hang it there to brighten up the space.
However, I think – on it’s own – it looks a little out of place. I’ve decided I’m going to print another two photos from the same day, and position them above and below to create more of a statement (thoughts on this will be appreciated in the comments!).
For me, a canvas print isn’t for the ‘everyday’ photograph. Because they are large (and more expensive than other print methods), they demand a special picture. I’d definitely consider printing ‘hero’ photos on to more canvases – photos that I’m especially proud of (and keen to show off).
Looking through the rest of the photos I took on that day, and keeping to my strict criteria, I realised there was a selection of images that I didn’t need or want to keep.
They were taken at Bedford Embankment, a place I have often visited over the years with my family. I knew my Mum would probably enjoy the photos, even if I didn’t, so I decided to make her a photo montage for her upcoming birthday:
I just know that she’s going to love this! And I’m pleased that someone else will get to enjoy my photos. Now I feel less guilty about deleting them from my laptop!
After seeing how this came out, I think I’ll print more montages from the mixture of one-off photos I have. You know that ones I mean – the random ones taken on your phone that don’t really belong to a ‘collection’.
I’m going to group these one-offs together to showcase images of my friends and family; the people who make me smile.
I’ve only made a small dent to my photo collection so far, but already I’ve found it freeing. No longer will I feel guilty about having so many photos and doing nothing with them.
Instead, I’ll be surrounded by precious, beautiful memories that make me smile – what could be better than that?
And yes, I will keep digital copies of the photos I decide to print. That way I always have a backup, and I can print additional copies if I need them.
I am going to continue to try and improve my photography – and I’m also going to make an effort to take less photos. By that, I mean that instead of taking 100+ photos on a single day out, I’ll aim to take maybe 5-10 that perfectly sum up the whole day.
This will force me to take (I hope) more creative photos. Not only will this make me take better photos, by forcing me to be more selective and creative, but it’ll also mean I won’t start amassing and hoarding large numbers of photos again…
…wish me luck! 🙂
A Small Disclaimer
I started working for Fujifilm UK in May last year. I’ve always been interested in photography, and know that working in an industry you’re genuinely passionate about makes for a much happier work life.
Being surrounded by cameras and photographs made me reflect on my own. I took a Beginners Photography Course which opened my eyes to the true beauty of photography – which initially made me look at my phone selfies and weep with embarrassment.
I have now realised that it doesn’t really matter how you take your photographs. What does matter, is photographing moments of happiness – and preserving those moments of happiness in a real, touchable print.