I saw on the news the other day that Boots the Chemist is closing 160 photo and film processing centres within its stores. The news article made reference to the fact that this is due to the demand for film processing drying up, but in reality, let’s face it, the demand for film processing dried up years ago.
I think back to a time when I was growing up, with my trusty 110 camera in hand (look it up if you’re younger than me), which cost me something in the region of £10 from, yes, Boots. It was a brilliant piece of kit – so simple and almost indestructible, just perfect for a clumsy pre-teen. I remember dropping it about a hundred foot down the Malvern Hills whilst on a school trip, where one of my schoolfriends found it and brought it back to me – slightly scuffed but completely unharmed! Imagine doing that with your DSLR.
Back when I had my 110, film processing envelopes for Bonusprint and Truprint would come whizzing through the letterbox every week, and better still, there was a wealth of dedicated film processing shots available in even tiny towns such as the one I grew up in. I still have some of the photos I took then – still in the photo envelopes they came in, which tells me that my processing shop of choice was the rather unimaginatively named ‘Foto Processing’. Oh, the delight of sitting outside the shop, waiting for your photos to be ready! This thrill didn’t wear off, even when I graduated to the dizzy heights of my 35mm compact film camera. It was just so exciting to burst open the envelope and rifle through the shots, even though they were just of things I probably photographed about a day ago.
With digital photography, the immediate gratification of being able to view your images the moment you’ve taken them has done away with that excitement. However, that’s no reason not to print your images. The reality of the Boots issue is that, whilst film processing has fallen away to a niche element, photography is more popular than ever. However, fewer and fewer people are printing their wonderful images. You might think, so why should I when I can view them on my computer? Here’s a few reasons why.
A great photograph looks good on a monitor, but looks amazing when professionally printed. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how great shots look when I get them printed. To quote a client of mine, ‘The images look amazing in print and now they’ve
been enlarged there are so many details that we didn’t even notice before…YOU ARE A STAR!!!!’ If you can afford it (and it doesn’t cost much), get them printed through a professional lab, not a photo printer at home. Honestly, the difference in quality is well worth it.
Secondly, digital photography has lead to people taking more and more photos, but in reality, viewing them less and less. There’s just too much choice with hundreds, or thousands, of photos stuck on your hard drive. This is just a crying shame. Get some printed up, framed, and enjoy them. That’s why you took them, to remember the memories; so don’t hide them away.
Finally, I get so sad when I walk into homes which have no personality. Personal pictures, in frames or on the walls, add that wonderful element of personality which shouts that ‘this home is yours’. I’m the last person for clutter, but a few great images in each room, nicely framed, in my opinion, turns a house into a home.
So…. what are you waiting for? Don’t let the art of photo printing die out, just as film has to all but the most hardened enthusiasts. My 110 has long gone to the camera shop in the sky, and my 35mm compact was knocked out of my hand and broken by a mean girl, but I still remember the joy that they brought me, particularly when I opened those envelopes to view my rather poor attempts at photography. So, print, print and be happy!
It really was a perfect day and all went so smoothly despite the showers! I am really thrilled with the photographs and Belinda's pleasant, calm and friendly manner helped calm my nerves in the morning whilst getting ready, the group shots and couple shots around Wells were orchestrated quickly and effortlessly meaning that we could get on with having fun with our guests, and the reportage shots that Belinda took will remind us of the day, the atmosphere and our best friends and family for years to come.
Thank you so much Belinda!
Laura Lee Gibbs