Photography in the 21st Century and Silver Halide Paper

The Latest Trend in Digital Photography
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thanks to high quality smartphone cameras, practically everyone has become a personal photography enthusiast. The photo industry estimates that around 2.5 billion people globally have either a standalone or smartphone digital camera. That doesn’t include the people you often see using iPads®, or other tablets as a camera. People use those cameras all the time! 

This equates to a huge number of pictures taken annually. At its heyday, it was estimated that film users took nearly 100 billion photos a year.  In today’s digital world, it’s easily four times that number: 400 billion and growing rapidly.

But what are those 400 billion pictures all about? When film was the only means of photography, we had to think twice about taking a picture because film, as well as processing and printing, cost money. With digital it’s all “free” and  so we are “free” to snap away. Granted many digital images taken are probably junk. They may or may not be deleted right away. A few are precious keepers. Many times we don’t know how precious a picture is until long after the shot was taken. 

It’s not just consumers with smartphone cameras. What about those precious memories that are captured professionally through, for example, school or wedding photography? A wedding today can easily yield over 1000 images. If those images are simply handed to the client on a DVD, what happens next? Unfortunately, for many in this situation the answer is nothing.  No prints, no wedding album, just a DVD or thumbdrive. When the bride and groom sit down with their children’s children on their 50th wedding anniversary to look at the wedding pictures, what will they do?

Now is the time to take action. Preserving those pictures in a technology independent format is where silver halide color photographic paper shines. KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Premier Paper has the longest dark image stability of any silver halide paper, exactly what is needed for long term preservation. It will show minimal changes due to the temperature in the environment (i.e., heat) for 200 or more years. It is virtually impervious to atmospheric pollutants and the image will not be harmed by humidity. There is no doubt that prints made on ENDURA Premier Paper paper will be enjoyable at the 50th anniversary celebration!

Let’s go back to the 400 billion consumer pictures taken last year. How do we determine what should be printed and preserved for generations? How do you sort through the thousands of images stored on your phone, computer, portable hard drive and DVDs? It’s a real issue for many people. While it might seem a hurculean organizational task, all it requires is a little time and a good categorization scheme.

Consolidation

The first step is knowing what you have. Consolidating all of your images in a single location (i.e. a computer or portable hard drive) is a good idea. Make sure to keep the original source material as you’ll want a back up in case there’s a technology issue sometime down the road (another good reason to think about printing the images that matter most). Three easy starting point categories where you can group images together are Everyday Events (the casual snapshots we take all the time), Moments in Time Events (birthday parties, school photos, sporting events, vacations) and Life Events (weddings, birth of a child, graduations, etc.).

Naming

When you import your images, take some time to ensure photos have tags and consistent naming conventions. A naming convention can be as simple as the date, event and what’s in the photo. Example: 2017-4-21_Jack and Jill_Wedding_Bride_and_Groom. As you’re naming, it might be a good time to take a few minutes and delete some of those junk photos. It will save on memory and down the road it will make it easier to find the images that matter most. For large groups of photos with a common theme (for example from a life event or vacation) create a folder with the date and theme and leave the image file names unchanged. Then put the best of the image files into the folder.

Selecting the most important images to preserve

As you name your photos and folders, you might think about including an easy rating system to indicate which images you want to preserve on paper and which images are ok to leave on digital media. A “1” at the beginning of the image name, might represent a must-print photo, a “2” might represent an image destined for a photo book or online gallery while a “3” might indicate an image you want to keep on digital media as part of a larger visual story.

Here’s a helpful hint: trying to organize your gigabytes of past photos can be a daunting task so start your new organization scheme with the pictures you will shoot tomorrow. And keep it up. Then as you have time, work back to get your older photos into the new scheme.

While any image can be preserved on silver halide photographic paper, you’ll probably be looking most at the photos in your Moments in Time and Life Event categories. ENDURA Premier Paper is really the best option to meet those long term preservation needs. When it’s time to share those memories with loved ones, make sure you have something tangible that can be enjoyed. Future generations will thank you.