Why dontcha print?

A recent consumer study from InfoTrends/Cap Ventures reveals that while digital shooters take many more photos, they don't print as much as owners of film cameras.

This is hardly surprising. Digital photography gives the consumer options they didn't have before. With digital, taking additional photographs at a scene add very little cost - hence people with digital shoot more. With digital, online sharing (e.g. web-albums, email, blogs) and digital media (e.g. CD-ROMs) is a popular, convenient and low-cost way to share photos with friends and family - hence, people with digital print less. These are new options, whose availability are closely tied to the switch from film to digital. With film, these options were not available. Each additional film frame carried the additional cost of film stock, development and printing, and if you didn't want pester your friends by putting them through the ordeal of a projected slide show - making and handing out prints was the only way to share your photos.

After switching from film to digital about a year ago, I find that I am sort of typical for the consumers profiled in the study. I take a lot more photographs, and I still make prints - but much fewer.

The main reason for this is that digital makes being selective possible. It is usually impossible to determine if a film frame is worth keeping from the negative alone. In addition, consumer oriented film processing is priced so that after-orders are much more expensive than ticking "two full set of prints" when submitting a film for development. So I always ordered two full set (2x36 prints from a standard 35 mm film), and just threw away those copies that were uninteresting. With digital, I get a chance to rewiew on screen before I order prints - and just order prints of the few "keepers" that exits in a batch.

Hey, shooting digital saves trees!

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