Digital Photography Suitability

Should I still print all my images?

Trying to treat digital photography the same as conventional photography is doomed to disappointment. Image prints either at home or in photographic laboratories are simply too expensive.

Most of the images from digital cameras will stay digital for their entire lifespan. Born of a digital camera, growing up on a PC, spending their old age on a cd-rom and occasionally being reassembled from bits onto a PC display.

It is common now for PC displays to support true color and be capable of providing photographic quality rendition of images that look really good on 17″ and 19″ screens.

Well if we don’t generally print our images any more how do we share them?

The electronic world is providing more and more options every day. We have:

  • email, direct distribution of your photos to those most interested.
  • free web sites where you can upload your photos and tell your friends about them
  • personal web sites

What the Internet gains in speed of distribution it loses in quality. The image has to be practically destroyed with size reductions and JPG compression to get it down to around 20Kb for transmission over the Internet.

It does have its place. It is a great way to share images quickly with people who have no long term interest in the shots. Its a bit like passing the photographs around the office after you get them back from the processing lab.

It is inadequate where you want to share quality ‘prints’.

How do I share quality prints?

The paper print replacement of the electronic era has to be the cd-rom. The cd-rom can contain over 1,000 quality JPG images at a production cost of a couple of dollars.

What do I do with my thousands of images?

Digital cameras with no direct processing costs, immediate image previews and low image storage space are going to increase the number of photos we take and keep several times over.

What do we do with all those images? The production cycle is something like:

  1. Photograph is taken
  2. Preview checked for framing, exposure and general quality. If not adequate then back to step 1
  3. Image transferred to computer
  4. Image manipulated in image editor until satisfied. This may result in the production of one or more offspring
  5. Master image and offspring archived to cd-rom

Somewhere in this process there has to be included a method of finding an image again, a method of viewing selected images only.

Our opinion at CyWarp is that a cataloging program must be used to describe the images, record their location and to retrieve them. Accordingly we have produced the CyPics program to do precisely this.

There is an issue with offspring and tying them back to the original master. Our image cataloging FAQ suggests one simple alternative.