Snap Happy: Why printing out your photos is good for the soul
We take more, yet print out fewer photos than ever. Are we missing a wellbeing trick?
As a kid, I used to love sitting down with my Nan and going through her holiday snaps.
For my non-travelled eyes, photos from her trips to Spain and Canada were the height of fascination - but it wasn't just looking at the pictures, but hearing what it was like, who she'd met, what that exotic item of food had tasted like, in her own words and voice.
Today, probably much like yours, my Facebook feed is flooded with images of people's latest jaunts, and travel photography is one of the best things about Instagram. But it's not the same, is it? And it's not the same when your own photos are left to languish forever on your phone or in cyber space.
As Scott Hardy, CEO of Polaroid, says: "A photograph isn't a photograph until you print it, otherwise it's just pixels and data."
And pixels and data could never match the feel-good factor of hitting pause for 20 minutes of calm (or snorting laughter) while you slowly browse through a photo album with a cup of tea (or wine).
Plus, the momentary buzz of racking up 'likes' when you post your snaps on social media, pales in comparison to the thrill of finally getting your processed photos back from Boots or one of those mail-order developers, in those delightful paper envelopes.
My friend Leah is an avid printer-outer of photos, ensuring holidays, special occasions and even highlights from nights out live on in proper albums. "It reminds me of being a kid and looking at old photos of family. I want my family to be able to do the same [in the future]," she explains.
"There's something personal about holding them in your hand and showing people, rather than looking at Facebook. And who knows when Facebook will go down, and you lose every memory that's on there?"
It doesn't just have to be about photo albums, either.
"Displaying photos as part of your home decor will instantly add a more personal touch to your living space. Photo frames and displays are also a more accessible way of viewing our favourite memories; encouraging us to put down our phones and interact more with our immediate surroundings," says Rachel Escott, marketing & creative content manager at Red Candy.
"There are now a million creative ways to show off your fondest memories, from square frames for Instagram snaps, to standing frames for rooms where you can't drill into the walls."
Does remembering that amazing adventure you had a few years ago always give you an instant buzz, or perhaps there's a night out with the girls that always makes your heart glow when you think about it?
Print a photo, stick it somewhere you'll see it every day. Whether hung on walls or balanced on shelves, those happy vibes will always be just a glance away.
"While most of our images are stored digitally these days, nothing beats the feeling of walking into a room and being surrounded by happy memories," suggests Anne-Laure Couplet, Maisons du Monde's global brand director.
"Try a new spin on the traditional photo frame with a memo board, or photo montage frame to display different snaps together. Mix with postcards or other holiday trinkets to create a real scrapbook feel."
If there's a snap you're particularly proud of, or just really love, turn it into art.
"Framing all sorts of items has never been easier with websites, online kits, courses and tons of inspiration on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Things in frames make wonderful wall decoration and can uniquely personalise a home with family memorabilia adorning the walls... every piece will tell a story," says Duncan McDonald, managing director of All About Framing (diyframing.com).
"If you love something and want to show it, then get it framed!"