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Print Photography in a Digital World

Updated on April 2, 2018
Kathleen Odenthal profile image

Kathleen is an entrepreneur who runs her own photography studio, Life in Pixels Photography. She is passionate about small business.

The PRINT Movement - What It Is and Why It Matters

What is PRINT. The Movement?

PRINT. The Movement is a much needed awareness campaign designed to highlight the importance and the value of print photography in an increasingly digital world. Whether that be through albums, wall art, framed prints, or other professionally printed portrait art, this campaign was created to address an increasing epidemic for both photographers and consumers- and that is a lack of appreciation for non-digital art.

Backed by industry partners that help professional photographers prosper, such as the prestigious Professional Photographers of America, PRINT. The Movement helps promote the value and importance of printing photographs in our world today.

Why is PRINT. The Movement Important?

Despite the fact that consumers are taking more and more photographs than ever before, the quantity of prints being produced is continuing to deteriorate at an astonishing rate. What will these people do when they misplace their phone, or when technology changes and the storage devices they had been using to save their photographs on suddenly become irrelevant? In an instant, they can lose years and years of irreplaceable memories.

Technology is changing so fast that a majority of photographs captured only six to seven years ago are stored on devices that are no longer supported. Sadly, this means that many of the memories captured today won’t be around tomorrow!

We can change this!

The Impact of Print Photography on Self Esteem

Did you know that print photography has been proven to boost self esteem and aid in the recovery of people with mental illness?

In 1975, a study was conducted in Tennessee by professors at Tulane University. The study consisted of a group of fourth graders who were given Polaroid cameras to capture photographs of themselves expressing various emotions and poses.

Once a week for five weeks, the children each worked on their own scrapbook, consisting of the images they captured. Throughout the course of the study, instructors would perform tests to measure the students' self-esteem. The final results showed that over the five week study, the students' self-esteem increased by an average of 37%, just from working with photographs of themselves.

But how can family photography, specifically family portraits, help boost a child’s self-esteem?

The study conducted at Tulane University was just the beginning of the investigation into the impact of photographs on children and self esteem.

David Krauss, a clinical psychologist based out of Cleveland, Ohio has spent much of his career investigating the link between portraits and self esteem. Since the 1980s, Krauss has been one of the earliest pioneers in using family portraits to help mentally ill patients learn to manage their disease.

“I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level” -Krauss, 1983.

That quote is an excerpt from one of the books co-authored by Krauss, titled "Photo Therapy and Mental Health". It is considered to be one of the founding texts for the use of portraiture in psychotherapy.


Another pioneer in the study of photography's use in psychotherapy is Judy Weiser, psychologist, therapist, and author based out of Vancouver. Weiser believes that portraiture shows children where they fit in their family, and encourages a sense of belonging. It gives them a sense of meaning - a sense of importance.

Weiser is known as the creator of "phototherapy", an approach to therapy that utilizes art, particularly portrait art, to help promote the healing process.

Phototherapy is a multi-purpose therapeutic tool, with widespread benefits including:

  • Increased self knowledge and self awareness
  • Improved relationships with family
  • Improved ability to engage socially with others
  • Stronger conflict resolution skills
  • Improved visual literacy skills
  • Increased sense of belonging

As you can see, portraits aren't just a way to preserve precious memories, they are also a great way to promote a positive sense of self, strengthen family bonds, and encourage a sense of belonging, not only between family members, but with all members of the community.

When was the last time you printed photographs of your family?

See results

"42% of people between the ages of 30 and 44 will likely look back and wonder where photos of their childhood, holiday get-togethers, relatives and friends have gone decades from now? Why? They no longer print photographs or create photo albums. In fact, 67% store their photos solely on a computer or phone." (2015 nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America).

How You Can Make a Difference

Nothing compares to seeing, feeling, and experiencing portraiture through print. Time and again, we hear from clients that the print products we deliver to them are so much more meaningful than images just stored onto a disk or sent through an online gallery.

If you haven't had the first-hand experience of working with a print photographer, it is something I cannot recommend more. It doesn't even have to be us! Just find someone who values portrait art and the beauty that comes with tangible heirloom products that can be cherished for generations.

If you have experienced the beauty that is print photography, then I urge you to join THE MOVEMENT and help others see the value of printing and preserving family histories in photos.

How Can You Get Involved?

People are taking photos more than ever, but the end product? They are nearly all digital and very few end up as tangible prints. That’s why PRINT. The Movement was created.

Begin by making the switch yourself. Be a cheerleader for the power of print! "Statistics show that a staggering 53% of consumers haven’t printed a photo in more than 12 months, 70% don't have photo albums, and 42% no longer print photos at all. We are essentially raising a generation conditioned to not print photographs. It's time to change the trend and spread the message by printing your favorite photographs and storing them in beautiful albums." (2015 nationwide survey conducted by Professional Photographers of America).

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