Set Your Photos Free

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

For years and years, my husband and I lived with no photographs or art work on our walls. (I’ve explained before about my previous inability to commit to choosing artwork). We just never got around to putting up any nice photographs and it’s not that we didn’t have nice photos to display, because we did. And sometimes I would take the time to scroll through my images on the computer and end up with a great big smile on my face as I recalled all the great memories we were making together. But as with so many people today, our photos just ended up trapped on our many devices or stored in a lonely little folder on the computer, waiting to be opened once or twice a year when we stumbled upon them.

It wasn’t until we got married that I decided something needed to change. I knew that if we didn’t get some of our wedding photos printed up immediately after the Big Day, they too would be left to gather dust at the back of the cupboard on the beautifully packed CD that the wedding photographer provided. So I bought a really large multi-aperture photo frame, had a variety of my favourite photos printed and hung the frame in the hallway where it could be seen by everyday.

I can’t begin to describe what a difference this made to our home, which at the time was a soulless, magnolia rental. It really helped us to stamp a bit of personality onto the place. Just 18 months later we moved into the flat that we now own and within three months we welcomed our first daughter. We took so many photos once she arrived. Hundreds and thousands of photos. OK most of them weren’t the kinds of photos that I would want on display in my home. as I looked knackered in most of them. But then we did have those utter gems that I wanted everyone and anyone to see.

So my next project was to get a gallery wall up in our hallway. I made a folder full of potential images, narrowed down the selection and then got them printed on canvases. And I loved it! Seeing those beautiful family photos on the wall each and every time we leave the house just makes my heart sing. We only did half the wall as we wanted to leave space for more photos down the line. Then in January this year we completed our gallery wall with photos of our second daughter.

Weirdly, of all the home projects we’ve done since we moved in, I think the gallery wall has to be my favourite one. Ok it hasn’t changed the way we use our home, like our garden decking has. It hasn’t made our home more user friendly, like our kitchen makeover or our bathroom renovation did. But it has definitely changed the connection I have with our home.

Seeing those family photos hanging on the wall every day gives me a sense of belonging and helps me to feel grounded. It also helps me to feel a deep sense of gratitude that I get to share my home with a wonderful husband who means the world to me and two gorgeous little girls who surprise me and make me proud every single day (the surprises aren’t always good surprises by the way. The time I found my youngest sat in her bedroom with her entire face and most of her body covered in a thick layer of sudo cream, was not a good surprise!).

It really makes me feel sad that our photos are increasingly becoming trapped on our digital devices. I mean how many photos do you print these days? Do you remember the excitement of getting a new roll of film developed? And then the disappointment that most of them were awful? Remember how you used to get the old photo albums out to reminisce with family and friends? How many physical photo albums do you have these days? Do you even bother to make them any more?

I made a photo album for my grandma of our wedding, but never got round to making one for us. When my grandma sadly passed away late last year, my dad returned the album to me and it was so wonderful flicking through those pages and reliving all those memories. My girls loved looking at different photos and had hundred’s of questions about our special day. It’s made me realise that we need to print more photos. What good are they just sat on a hard drive somewhere or in the cloud? Kids these days should experience the joys of printed photos and making albums.

Jessops in Sainsburys Torquay - new photo gifts

And this has become the mission of leading high street photography specialist, Jessops whose bold new direction sees them opening new stores designed to inspire their customers to ‘set your photos free’ from smartphones, cameras, memory cards and social timelines. Last month, I went along to the opening of one of these new stores in Torquay and I was really impressed. In a radical move they had removed all the cameras from the store in favour of showing great ways that we can turn our photos into beautiful gifts or products for the home.

Jessops in Sainsburys Torquay - new photo gifts

More than 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram each day – yet we keep forgetting to print our photos. With our new store we want to inspire customers to finally release their favourite photos from the cameras and phones they are trapped in. For many, one of the most thoughtful and sentimental gifts you can receive is a favourite photo presented beautifully in a frame. It is this idea that lies at the very heart of our new store concept. We are incredibly excited about the reopening and hope customers will pop in to try out our new gift printing services.

Scott Worger, Retail Director, Jessops

Jessops in Sainsburys Torquay - new frames

The store was full of beautiful frames, scrap books, albums, and canvases, but also more unusual things like make-up bags, puzzles, notebooks, place mats, mugs, cushions and blankets that can all be customised with your favourite photos. It gave me so much inspiration and now I’m even more convinced of the value of freeing our photos. My girls would love to have photo place mats to eat their dinner off, especially if they’d taken the photo themselves, maybe a cute selfie?

Jessops in Sainsburys Torquay - new photo books

I’d love to know how you feel about this issue. Are your photos relegated to a digital archive somewhere or do you print them out and display them at home?

This isn’t a sponsored post by the way, in case you were wondering. I just went along to the opening of my local store and really liked the bold new direction they are heading in.

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  • I try to print a photo book every year for the very reason that if I don’t I’m scared I’ll lose all our memories of the adventures we’ve had. Usually we’ll give one to each other for Christmas or a birthday. It’s always nice to look through. It’s interesting to see all the options apart from albums. I think the kids would love one of those cushions with a picture of our dog on it!

    • Fiona that is such a lovely idea. I had such good intentions to print a little album for my children for each year but I haven;t managed it so far. I really must get round to it!

  • As I was skiing down a mountain while recording in video on my phone, the memory error message came up – memory full. How? I thought. Parked somewhere on the side (away from deadly snowboarders) and checked my photos. 12,000+ PHOTOS. I am not kidding. We go on holidays and I never print an album. We go to events and the photos stay on an archive… I am so bad at this. My goal this year is to print 5 photo albums for the last 5 years… Stay tuned!

  • It’s SO true, how many photos I used to print out and put in photo albums and yet I haven’t done it for years. That said, we’re really not fans of people photos at all (even of us on our wedding day!) so it would be more landscapes and holiday pics for us (plus the furbabies of course!)

  • Such a clever approach from Jessops. I still use film cameras but not as regularly as I used to. My favourite photos have all been taken with film cameras. However, in the digital world is also fantastic to be able to print the shots you love. I like how many of their frames are square-shaped, like an analogue Instagram grid. By the way, love the new logo!

  • This post has really inspired me. I want to display a lot more photographs in my house, your right we post so many on Instagram and places but hardly have any in physical form!

  • I have special occasion photography up – weddings etc. but don’t tend to have candid photographs up. I have started making photo books of our Summer holidays as I realised that I used to love trawling through photo albums as a kid, but it will disappear if the photo’s only ever live on my computer. My son loves seeing pictures of himself and its a great way to have conversations about things we enjoyed or miss from our holidays – – mostly he says the pool! I should do more with the thousands of pictures I take though…….

  • It’s a shame we’ve moved away from photo albums – it was always so nice looking through them. I like the idea of digital photo frames but sadly they have a bit of a naff reputation. Love the idea of setting photos free in many different ways.

  • Totally agree we need to set them free. We have a family gallery on our stairs all in black and white but with yellow, grey and gold frames. We also have some of my husbands travel photography in our living room. It’s so hard now but def worth the effort x

  • Most of my photos are stored on a hardrive i should be printing them really as nothing beats holding an actual photo to look through it x

  • You’ve made me realise just what we are missing out on. We have a beautiful photograph up on the wall of our children as toddlers – but one of them is now looking at universities and the other is doing GCSEs! They take dozens of selfies and photographs of each other every single day and I never see any of them (I’m too old for Snapchat, apparently). You have inspired me. I’m going to spend the weekend going through the thousands of pictures on my laptop and taking new ones of our gorgeous teenagers. Then I’m going to get the teens to be creative with them. I am really looking forward to it.

    Love the new logo!

    • Oh Karen that sounds awesome. What a great idea to get the kids involved. We’re really lucky that my best friend is a professional photographer so we will get regular family photo shoots done. You just can’t beat that.