The Psychological Reasons You Should Print Your Images
It is amazing how much photography has evolved over the years. How many of you can remember a time when you would hand a ‘Roll of Film’ into the camera shop for printing, and come back in a day or two to collect the images?
Today we are spoilt with new technologies and digital formats that allow us to view our images, edit, and print straight away.
However, as we become more tech savvy, we are becoming lazy. We rely too much on the digital storage of our images, and are becoming disconnected from the real world.
A survey conducted on my Facebook page revealed, 89% of people don’t always print the photos they capture.
Printing our photos not only helps us to connect back to the real world, but has many benefits – physical and psychological.
We all know that photos brighten up a room, but it’s what physical photos do for the human brain that is most important.
If you’re holding out on printing your photos, here are 3 psychological reasons you need to start printing and displaying your life story.
1. Connects us to our own history
When we print our photos, we are communicating our lives, our traditions, and our milestones. We are telling a visual story and leaving a physical legacy.
Our rich history, across the world, is preserved in print. By displaying photos on the walls, people can see, touch, and depict a story time line – creating a historical connection.
Your ability to learn more about a person or place is unprecedented when it is on display. You can learn more about who they are, where they have come from, and their growth over the years.
If you visit many hotels you will see a timeline of their growth, the hardships, and the celebrations over the years. A perfect example is The Brekkie Creek Hotel, one of Queensland’s oldest hotels, showcasing their history dated back from the 1890’s. The hotel displays over a century of its history, including flood devastation and recovery.
2. Develops stronger feelings of ownership
Having a memory on the wall, not only tells your family history, but it gives a sense of pride and ownership.
The psychology of human behavior tells us we value things more when we own, or anticipate owning something. When we own a physical object, we are more likely to develop meaningful feelings of ownership towards it. They become an extension of ourselves. (Jarrett, The psychology behind why we value physical objects over digital)
Therefore, displaying photos that are connected to you and your family, naturally develops a sense of ownership.
Owning something visual and tangible helps to make you feel complete.
3. Helps with Memory Recall
There is a strong connection between human memory and photos. Photos are preserved information on past experiences and events – also known as memory storage. When photographs are viewed, it triggers a memory recall.
Joshua Sarinana, a neuroscientist, explains memories of experiences rely on a brain region called the hippocampus.
“If the hippocampus were to be taken out of your brain right now, you would be stuck in time and memories of new experiences would rapidly fade away. The hippocampus functions to create a seamless story of the self.” (Sarinana, Memories, Photographs, and the Human Brain)
Sarinana goes on to explain that a study was conducted with participants who had hippocampal damage. Half the participants were given a collection of daily photos of their experiences to study at the end of each day. While the other half recorded their day through a journal. The results found that the participants shown the photos had greater levels of recall.
It has also been proven that physical prints being shown to Amnesia patients is more effective than digital methods. Many patients that have been given printed photos help them to remember who they are, as well as their family and friends.
The Psychological Effects of NOT Printing Your Photos
Before digital photography and hard drives, we relied on negatives. However, relying too much on technology to store your life’s journey could have devastating effects if it fails.
What if you were like one of my clients, who lost everything in the Townsville floods 2019?
They had no backups, all gone. Luckily, I had some backups on clouds from their photography shoot.
Imagine you are a parent of a sick child, who sadly passes away.
Imagine all the photos you took of her were stored on your iPhone and not backed up, and your phone was later stolen. This is a true story. Could you imagine the devastation you would feel, having only memories and no visuals of your little girl?
How would you feel if a Cloud server or all your hard drives crashed?
How would you show your life’s adventures, and what would you pass onto your children if you didn’t print your photos?
Our Photographic Future
Have I convinced you why printing your photographs are good for you?
Photos are memories of your life. They tell a visual story of your history and develop a sense of ownership.
If photo printing ceased into the future, where would our photo memories go – you can’t hang a hard drive on a wall.
It is pretty clear that printing photos are good for the human brain. However, I do recommend that digital and print should complement each other.
I believe it is important to take advantage of our new technologies and keep multiple backups of your photos.
If, by chance, you lose your prints – you will have digital copies backed up. And vice versa, if you lose your digital copies – you will have the printed versions.