What a beautiful...CD on your wall?

By Marianne Drenthe

Photography, or the everyday version of it, has become commonplace. Virtually everyone loves taking photos and do a somewhat decent job at it.

However there are times when you want to hire a Professional Photographer to create extra special images for your family.  You want to display some incredibly beautiful, emotive images that capture who your family is at this moment in time, you want those photos to represent something spectacular, you have this vision of gorgeous albums, a stunning framed portrait in your foyer, an outstanding gallery wrap canvas hanging over your fireplace mantle.

You begin calling to interview photographers and inevitably you explain to them that you want to print these images yourself.  You’re looking for the photographer that will create those beautiful, evocative images for you, unique to you and your family and you want them to hand over the images for you to print.  Somehow you’ve come to believe that getting the disc of images is best because you control the process and it’s cheaper to print yourself.

What?!  Come again?

CD FRAME.jpg

This scenario is very representative of the photography market today.  Somehow people have been brainwashed into believing that digital files are the best option when, in fact, they are not.  Digital images are MEANT to be is a temporary method of storage: all too many things can go wrong with digital media leaving you in a lurch with a ton of images that were never printed; images that will never be displayed in your beautiful home; images that will never be archived and made permanent.  Lets face it, for many people, after you get back your disc from said photographer, the disc goes in the drawer to never see the light of day…maybe JUST MAYBE to be unearthed (if you’re lucky) in a year or two with an “I meant to print some of these…” utterance.

Imagine…

You look beautiful. Your hair is falling just perfectly. Your makeup is flawless. Your kids stayed out of the mud and they are smiling on cue and genuinely. Your husband is happy and looks amazing. The sun is shining and the trees are flowering. It is the day you couldn't have even imagined and your photographer took the most beautiful images to prove it was real! Your family was perfectly captured in their element and you will have these pictures to look back on for a lifetime!

Well. You thought you would. You figured it would be easier to just get a disk... you can print out these precious memories at your own leisure. You've paid your money and received your disk. Let the nightmare begin...

You go through the process & expense of hiring a photographer and end up purchasing the disc of images.  Then you figure you’ll “get to it later” and don’t bother printing up those photos for yourself.  That disc then stays in the drawer for a period of time.  Years have passed but the time has come! You finally take that disc of images out of that drawer and put it in the CD tray of your computer to get them printed. In the CD goes as you wait…and wait.  No images found.  Hmmm…  You hit eject on your tired old computer and pop out that CD tray.  You then make sure the CD is inserted properly, close the cd drawer and again…waiting…waiting.   POOF your images are gone!  They are nonexistent.  This particular CD-R from your daughter’s newborn session doesn’t even show any data on it!  You go through the explore process to see what files are on that disc to find out there are none.  There is no data on this disc!!  Now you freak out.  You compose yourself long enough to remember the photography studio that took these particular images and you call the photographer to order another disc to deliver to your home ASAP.  When you finally find and call the number it is no longer a business number.   Then you go online to find that photographer only to find that they are now out of business nowhere to be found!  You have no way of getting a hold of that photographer.  You once had all these amazing images of your daughter (never backed up, never saved as prints) but now you can’t even access them!  You went to this photographer for the first two years of your daughter’s life, frazzled and more than a bit freaked out you start pulling CD-ROM out for each and every session from those two years and poof!  one after the other the images on each of those CDs has somehow disappeared!  It’s the photographer’s fault!  It’s a defective disk!  The photographer is a scam artist!  A thousand thoughts whirl in your head when the sad reality is:

THAT DISC WAS NEVER MEANT FOR LONG TERM STORAGE

Sounds implausible?  It isn’t.  It’s actually a well known fact that CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs are not meant as a long term storage solution.  Neither are USB keys or hard drives, no electronic storage system is infallible, that’s the truth.

It's true! The Myth of The 100 Year CD-Rom

But wait!!  That can’t happen to you…your photographer doesn’t burn images to a CD!! So this scenario isn’t possible.  The photographer you use, well they’re smart (and so are you) for choosing to put images on a USB key.  Those have to be fool proof – right?!

No.  USB storage is a very recent phenomena and knowing how technology evolves chances are that the USB storage key you received from your photographer will go the way of the floppy disc within ten years, give or take.  Think hard now, when is the last time you’ve seen a computer with a working floppy drive?  Can you guarantee you’ll still have a working computer with a USB port in ten years?

Family Memories by Judy Reinford Photography