Lisa and I have been discussing the apparent dwindling of photo albums from the marketplace. We're wondering if people are not printing and buying albums to store their photos, and that would be a rather sad situation, given other "advancements" in photo technology over the past several years.
1. Pictures are much worse looking than they were 20 years ago. People take awful photos with high megapixel cameras, mostly because they hold the cameras out in front of themselves and move all around. Also, have you seen the tiny little lenses used on these cameras? Anyhow, the photos generally are not as good as they were when even idiots had 35mm idiot cameras as big as most of the digital SLRs of today.
2. We have tons more pictures. Even though most of our pictures look awful, we can afford to take as many as we want, since memory is cheap. Film was not, and every photo had to be developed. Today, we like to think we'll retouch the pictures and only print the good ones, but that takes way more time than anyone wants to spend on the pics. However, I'm thinking most of us have realized how bad most pictures are, so we're not printing them, and that might be why people aren't buying as many photo albums.
3. What, you're not printing at home? For years, I kept wanting to believe that the next super-awesome printer I was getting was going to print pictures like the ones on the box. I kept thinking ink was going to be less than processing. I kept thinking I could buy photo paper that was just as good as the stuff the processors used. I wasted more time and money trying to save time and money by printing at home. The results are generally disappointing, it's just as expensive as some of the deals online, and it's time-consuming.
4. Digital albums are the way to go, right? Probably not. Facebook or similar sites degrade your low-quality photos even more. Other sites limit your storage or are cumbersome to navigate. Not to mention all the organizing you'd have to do to really make those albums viable for viewing. I think many of us have accounts with online photo sharing sites, and we probably don't use them much either.
5. Is it all synched? How may devices do you have that can snap a picture? I think we have around ten. Some are attached to computers or older cameras, but the one thing all of the devices have in common is that they have almost nothing in common. They all save to different locations or cards, and then it's up to us to organize them. Then put them in the right online album or share them to the right people. Basically, all the convenient ways to take pictures has led us to creating isolated pockets of pictures sitting in devices for (sometimes) years: I just found a picture I snapped on Lisa's camera of her in the hospital right before James was born. That's four years that a grainy 1 mp photo sat there for no reason.
Overall, the idea is that we have many more pictures that sit in many more locations that look much worse than the ones from before the advancements of digital photography. But Lisa won't give up on printed photos, and now she wants more photo albums, but there does not seem to be the competition there once was for decent photo albums. Even when we do find some overpriced albums, we've only got a few years left for the 4ft wide by 6ft tall bookshelf to actually store those albums.
So, nobody looks at our digital photos and nobody really looks at all those albums, so I start to wonder why I even have the pricey camera and bother to take the pictures in the first place, at least until I spend the time to find one of the kids. But even that takes 20 minutes, and if I don't want to spend that time each time, I can rename the pictures or tag them, which takes even more time up front and then I might as well just hire myself as a file archiver as my main career.