Your Instagram Isn't Good Enough: Your photos Beyond Social Media


Remember that photo you took? The one that you can’t help but look at over and over.?The photo that when you see it you wish you could live that moment over and over? The photo of your child’s first day home from the hospital? Or from your honeymoon on that beach? Or from Grandpa’s last Christmas? Or from any other moment in your life that you’ve taken a photo, good or bad, that captured a significant event, person, or place? The answer is most likely a resounding no.

We believe that because our photos are so ubiquitous that we are doing a good job documenting our lives, creating little bookmarks in our lives that we can later revisit. The problem with this line of thinking is that we aren’t really interacting with these photos in the way we used to, or more importantly, the way that would most benefit us.

We see a photo and then scroll and see another photo and scroll, and another, and so on. This bombardment of photos leaves us with little time to be affected by the photos we see, we have little if any emotional reaction or connection to a photo when viewed in this manner.

Your Instagram Isn’t Enough

I recently read a post on Instagram from a man celebrating his son’s birthday, the caption that accompanied a photo of the little boy read “one day when my son reads this post he will know how much I love him”.

At first I laughed at the absurdity of the thought that this little boy would one day grow into a young man, who would log on to Instagram (what’s social media going to look like in 15 or 20 years?) and search his father’s account so thoroughly that he would find this particular image and think “I knew my dad loved me!”. I stopped mid-laugh because I had suddenly realized how sad this was.

Our social media feeds are living things, they change in an instant and we aren’t reviewing them the way we think we will. And when we are they aren’t offering the same type of connection or emotional response we would get from seeing our photos elsewhere.

Why You Should Print Your Photos

Printing your photos does something truly remarkable. There are several theories as to why we react to print differently than we do with digital photos but there is no denying that there is a visceral response to seeing a photo in a tangible form.

There are so many options available to us for printing that there’s no good reason not to do so. The options range in price and quality, there are options for any budget. Online consumer print options like Snapfish and Mpix are cheap and easy. Polaroid, Fujifilm, and Canon each make portable photo printers specifically for printing small prints directly from your phone. And there are so many desktop photo printers available on the market it’s nearly impossible to keep up. These are all options you should consider for printing your own photos, each with its own benefit.

Which Photos You Should Print

Print Kid’s Photos

Your children aren’t following you on social media! And even if they are the effects they would get from seeing their photos in print, on display in your home will far outweigh anything they may get from your social media feed. I’ve written about how important it is that your children see photos of themselves here (How your family photos impact your child’s self-esteem) and here (How photos can relieve school anxiety).

Beyond the benefit to your children, the joy you will get from having these photos on display will be immeasurable.

Print Photos of Special Moments

It’s a good idea to print your photos regardless of whether or not you have children. The benefit of having your photos printed are numerous but the most important one, in my opinion, is that they are reminders of what we enjoy about life.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, leaving little room for reflection on what brings us joy. Having your photos easily visible around your home or office will help you remember those vacations or holidays more easily. Walk by a beautiful beach photo you took and you’ll likely remember that vacation and quite possibly even have a wave of the feelings you had on that vacation sweep over you. If only for a brief moment these pleasures will undoubtedly be worth it.

Delete Your Instagram?

No! At least not for any reason discussed here. I personally think Instagram is a wonderful way to share our experiences, even if it’s just a superficial connection. I enjoy social media and use it with the understanding of what it offers me.

Your Printed Photos

Whichever print option is best for you is completely personal. For our family we use all three to varying degrees, depending on the situation and particular photo we are printing these options keep us covered. I sincerely hope you decide to start printing your photos, I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Jacob ShelbyComment