Which came first, the printed or the digital?

Which came first, the printed or the digital?

Imagine you are starting on a photo organising project, which collections are you inclined to tackle first?

  1. The dusty old boxes and albums of physical photos and memorabilia or
  2. The digital images scattered across multiple devices?

We all know that the digital camera entered the average family home in the early 2000’s, so of course the prints came first….right?….those memories are more distant….we should do them first????

There is no right or wrong answer as this is a person choice, BUT in our professional opinion your digital collection is at greater risk.

How often have you heard a family member or friend or even just a story from an acquaintance that has lost physical photos through natural disasters, fires, floods, or theft?  We would make an educated guess that it is not nearly as often as you have heard of someone who has lost some or even all of their digital images.

I personally (touch wood) have never had anyone I know lose a printed photo collection through natural disaster.  There is the exception of my grandmother’s collection that was divided across her 11 children when she passed – so they are not so much lost as displaced.  But unfortunately I can think of 3 friends that have lost digital images in some capacity and of course many of our clients have approached us after a data loss.  We see social media posts similar to this one, at least every other week.


The oldest printed photo we have handled in our office was from 1867 and it was in mint condition.  We are confident that many of the undated prints we have handled have been even older.  Printed images when stored correctly stand the test of time!

Who has had images stored on a floppy disc or other outdated media that they can no longer access?  We live in a world of rapidly changing technologies that has led to digital images and associated data being lost or corrupted.  Then of course there is hard drive failures, viruses etc.

As such we recommend that the first collection you should approach in any organising project should be your digital images.

For our comprehensive advice book in for a free chat to see if our coaching is the right fit for you.

We give you the strategy and skills to help you more effectively and efficiently manage your photos AND keep you motivated and accountable to get the job done!

  • Yvonne and Dirk Reitsma
    Posted at 22:58h, 21 November

    When next you hold a Digital photo filing seminar would like to attend again please

  • Yvonne and Dirk Reitsma
    Posted at 23:00h, 21 November

    so enjoyed our previous seminar with you earlier in the year. However, have been unable to date to ‘sit and do’ the serious culling. Life thus far has just got in the way.. Would like to therefore readdress the concern. Thank you!

    • Mara
      Posted at 13:09h, 30 November

      Yvonne we are working on our 2017 schedule for public seminars at Sutherland Library and SGSCC. Keep an eye out for our newsletters for an event calendar. Perhaps our eBook would be a good reminder for you. They contain check lists to guide you through a project just visit our store online or you can contact us directly to schedule a one on one session