I won’t be making a groundbreaking new observation about modern life when I say that families today tend to document their lives photographically more intensely than ever before and yet they often have less physical evidence of said documentation than ever before as well.
As recently as when Ari was born (so nearly sixteen years ago. Eek. How did that happen?!) I had a fairly cruddy digital camera, but most of my photos of my newborn were taken with my film camera, the workhorse Minolta my Dad had used to take pictures of me when I was a kid. So, of course, the only way to actually see the pictures was to have the film developed. And I made endless treks to the local drugstore to print out doubles so I’d have plenty of photos to stuff album after album with, to put in frames all over the house, and to send to two sets of first time grandparents.
With each new baby I upgraded digital cameras, and, somewhere along the way, I lost track of the Minolta (it’s still around somewhere, but I’d have a hard time telling you exactly where). I haul out my “real” digital camera frequently, and of course if it’s not around my iphone is. I have plenty of pictures of my kids.
And yet, somehow, the latest framed photos of my kids always seem to be running about four years behind.
So I decided to DO something about it this year. By golly.
This is only phase one (I have big plans both for the small hallway downstairs and probably the one upstairs, too), but I started with ordering prints of and framing the “family portraits” I’ve been doing a good job of making sure to get every year since Abe was born. I still haven’t gotten around to actually paying a professional to take pictures of us, but I do drag everyone out at some point in the fall and force them to look agreeable for a picture for awhile until I’m reasonably sure I have a decent one.
Obviously, this is not going to be a post with a fun tutorial or anything. Step 1: take photos Step 2: order prints. But I did want to advocate for finally getting around to ordering prints of all your cherished family photos (or, you know, at least some of them. Because I bet you have a lot). It makes me happy to see them every time I walk in the room. (The room is the recently revealed den, by the way). And to put in a completely uncompensated, un-asked for, unsponsored plug for the place I ended up ordering from, Mpix.
There’s surprisingly little information out there about the best places to order photos online. I think because so many people rarely get around to ordering them. And a lot of the articles I did find comparing places to order prints focused mainly on the ease of using the website, or on price, or on what fancy products and services they offered instead of on quality. Those kind of reviews have their place, too, of course, but in this situation the only thing I cared about was getting high quality prints. I wasn’t looking for super cheap prices or a flashy website.
But I’ve ordered from Mpix in the past and been pleased, and I did find this quality-focused article from the New York Times that ranked MPix highly, so I went with them.
And I’m so impressed with how my prints turned out! As for the other stuff, the photos were not as dirt cheap as a Shutterfly sale, but they were very reasonably priced, and I found the website perfectly easy to navigate.
I bought frames at Michael’s when they were half off, and now I have recent family photos right there on the wall in my den.
Just like old times!