I was briefly lost for words.

Then, I tried to explain to her that this is 2021 and that no one prints images anymore. We have whole different kinds of digital storage options. We have Cloud storage (10-year old’s from Generation-Alpha are technologically way more advanced than we Generation-X). We can access these images whenever we want to. Why print your images?

Then, she replied, dad, I don’t even remember some of these places. I wish you had printed them so that I could see them more often. Hello world! Where do you keep your memories in 2021?

The importance of printing photos:

A Printed Photo Is for Generations We have this photo in our family of my maternal grandparents posing for the camera, a few days after their marriage. The photo was taken probably around 1930 or something. We always had that image framed on a wall at my dad’s place.

I never thought anything special about that image until one day, I happened to stand at the exact same spot where that image was taken. Realizing that this is where some 90 years ago my maternal grandparents stood and smiled at a camera, gave me goosebumps.

That photo has lasted for four generations. Hopefully, my grandchildren will be able to see that image too. That makes it five generations. On the other hand, I don’t have any printed images of me from the last 10 years! Except, for the passport photos.

What if the cloud images get lost or destroyed or someone forgets the password I leave behind? Will my grandchildren be able to see how I looked? Will my own daughter remember how her dad looked when she grows old?

We Are at Risk of Becoming the Lost Generation

In 2021, we are the most photographed generation ever. Unfortunately, we are also the generation that is likely to be lost forever; because we don’t print that often.

It is scary to note that 42% of users no longer want to print their photos. On top of that, nearly 70% of users do not even have a photo album. Many of the Gen-Y and Gen-Alpha haven’t even seen a photo album.

A lot of people, especially those who are not technologically proficient, feel confident that they can store all their photos on their computer hard drive, and that way they are safe. These days nowhere is safe. The thought of someone locking me out of my own computer with all my images in them, or asking me for a ransom to allow access is enough to wake me up in the middle of the night.

Not to mention the risks associated with a malfunctioning or broken computer and or a corrupt hard drive. But then I don’t store any of my photos on my computer. For me printing photos is better than keeping them on a computer.

Digital Storage Is Never Without Inherent Risks

Digital storage is never without its inherent risks. Data outages, data corruption, lost passwords, cyberattacks, you name it. The digital world has more vulnerabilities than our own home. So, why do we put so much faith in these services to safeguard our memories?

Then there are the unpredictable hassles. Server downtime, DDoS attacks, and security breaches. The very thought that someone can steal all your photos and that of your family is a nightmare. While I am not completely against these services. They are the reason why we take more photos and why we are able to share our life with friends and families, many of who might be living on the other side of the planet. But the very fact that we have that convenience prevents us from printing our photos.

That Memory Stick in a Drawer

I was cleaning some of my old drawers when I found this old memory stick. Flash Drive as they call it. Inside were some photos from an alumni meet from my school. I forgot where they were and all this time they were sitting in some corner of a drawer. The point is, what good are these storage devices – memory sticks, external hard drives, and memory cards when they can be easily misplaced. Not to mention that these devices are prone to corruption. So your images are always at the risk of getting lost forever unless you have a second backup.

A Photo Was Always Meant to Be Printed

The importance of printing photos comes from the basic reason that a printed photo has a much more personal feel to it. You can hold it in your hands and even smell it. It is a personal and tangible thing. You can emotionally connect to that photo.

When you look at a photo on your computer screen it does not evoke a similar response. Yes, you still feel good looking at a picture of your grandparents or your niece on your computer screen, but it is never quite the same thing as a printed photo.

It is an irony of the times we live in. that despite the availability of so many printing options, we rarely make one.


Technology is ever-changing. But human emotions basically remain the same. Deep down we still cherish something that we can hold with our hands. Like a printed photo. A digital photo can never invoke that same feeling. So, it should not be a question of why print your photos or a question of digital photos vs printed ones. The real question is why shouldn’t you print your photos?

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