January Journalling – The Joy of Printing Photographs

Collection of photographs mollie makes

Words: Sian Lewis Photographs: Xanthe Berkeley

Enjoy printing your photos

Times have changed since the days when, post-summer holiday, we’d queue up patiently to pick up precious prints taken on a disposable camera and carry them away in their sealed envelope to pour over on the kitchen table. Would that sunset shot turn out nicely? How many pictures of our feet did we accidentally snap this time?

The gratification of photography is no longer delayed, and we have the ability to take endless, instant photos on digital cameras and smartphones. This means we don’t think twice about taking 50 pictures of the dog from slightly different angles, just in case we want to Instagram one later. But although the simple pleasure of printing pictures may appear forgotten, some creatives are working to revive it and we’re all for it.

A journal isn’t the same without pictures, capturing your year, achievements and best bits so here’s some advice from the pictures experts on how you can make the most of your pictures. (P.s. check out our DIY journalling blog post if you need to make the thing in the first place!)

Collection of photographs mollie makes

Xanthe loves to create photo ‘capsules’ filled with mementos.

Brand new tools

Ironically, it’s new technologies that are helping people re-discover printing. Susie, of lifestyle blog Old Fashioned Susie, and photographer Xanthe Berkeley met through the Mollie Makes collaboration raffle at blogging convention Blogtacular, where creatives were paired up at random.

They’ve been working together, picking and printing their favourite summer photos and encouraging others to do the same using the hashtag #printingmyphotos. Their aim is to see digital images transformed into something beautiful you can hold in your hand.

Caroline South, whose blog Scraps Of Us is a joyful medley of colour and photography, loves to order prints. “I still get excited receiving an envelope of pictures in the post. Printed images feel so different somehow, and a photo that you can handle is something special.”

Caroline likes to print her pictures using online labs such as Photobox, Huggleup and Social Print Studio, whilst Susie uses apps to print straight from her phone (try Lalalab) and advises keeping prints filed and organised to avoid drowning in a sea of film.

Half the fun of printed pictures is displaying them. Xanthe collects charity shop frames and mixes them up. “I’m also a fan of sticking photos on the fridge or mirrors – they act as little memory triggers.”

Susie likes her prints to surprise, too: “I lean them on the mantelpiece, leave them in trays in the hall or put them up on the wall as an impromptu gallery with the kids’ artworks.”

Cheerz will print polaroid-style versions of Instagram pictures, which look lovely pegged up on ribbons, or you could make your memories into magnets.

Collection of photographs mollie makes

Glue, stamp and doodle a unique album or journal – Xanthe Berkeley

Getting crafty

Your snaps are the ideal element to craft with, too, and scrapbooking is an easy way to start. Shimelle Laine is addicted to creating themed books. “They’ve included everything I’ve lived through. Student days, travel, adventures in the kitchen but often with the perspective of memory, like documenting my grandmother teaching me to bake. Now I have stacks of baby photos to scrapbook, and I’m enjoying finding a new voice to write to my son as he grows up.”

Amy Tan’s website, Amy Tangerine, shares her love of documenting life in photo scrapbooks that mix printed images with text, textured paper, paint and stitching. “You know how when you’re little you dream about having super powers? Well, I always wanted to have the ability to freeze time. I think that’s what taking photos allow us to do – pause, appreciate the moment, and share it with others. The process of scrapbooking lets me relive those moments in a fun, creative way. We live busy lives, worthy of recording.”

It seems that our compulsion to print and save photos is all about savouring memories and documenting the passing of time. Caroline loves the idea of future generations looking back through her special photos. Xanthe prints pictures so that she can “hang sun-filled moments on the walls of our home to help us through dark winter months.”

For Amy Tan, prized photos are a simple necessity. “Life moves fast, and our memories matter.” And that’s is why journalling with pictures is so important to us here at Mollie Makes!

Collection of photographs mollie makes

Pegs, washi tape and mini-bunting = a fun gallery wall – Xanthe Berkeley