Social media offers lots of cool features and has obvious benefits—it can help us stay in touch with old friends, find events in our areas, or even plan special occasions (like weddings!). And of course, sharing photos online via Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms is a popular way to preserve memories by putting them somewhere they can easily be found and viewed. But are there drawbacks to relying on social media as your primary method of photo storage?
Below, we’ll take a closer look at why so many people have given up traditional methods of photo storage in favour of using social media—and why that might not always be the best idea. We’ll also look at some tools you can use as an alternative, so you can make sure your magical wedding memories truly last a lifetime.
The days of big, bulky photo albums sitting on bookshelves in homes are largely behind us—but why? The first reason should be pretty obvious already: the more memories you put into a photo album, the more space it takes up in your home.
Creating a physical photo album can also seem like a lot of work—especially when you compare that process to uploading your snapshots to the internet. Facebook, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms allow you to select, upload, edit, and post multiple photos at once in just a few simple clicks or taps. For most people, that convenience is enough to say goodbye to laminated pictures and leather-bound books entirely.
Finally, actually making physical photographs can be a bit of a pain—using an actual camera (i.e. not the one in your phone), then paying to have them developed and making a separate trip to go pick them up afterwards. Plus, there’s the cost to consider. You might be able to avoid paying someone to develop your pictures if you print them at home—but then again, you’ll need a high-quality printer for that, and unless you already have one, those aren’t exactly cheap either. Meanwhile, uploading photos to Instagram is free.
So, to recap, many people have migrated their photos to social media because:
It helps save physical space
It’s less labour intensive
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well… yeah. Social media also has its fair share of drawbacks, and some of those create compelling reasons to look for other photo storage methods—especially when the photos in question are particularly personal or meaningful the way engagement or wedding photos are.
We’ll cut right to the chase. Here’s what’s not so great about storing your photos exclusively on social media: you’re putting a ton of trust in the companies that own those platforms to keep your precious memories safe, sound, and accessible.
The first reason why that might not be wise has to do with security. When you upload a photo to a service like Instagram, the data gets stored on the company’s servers. If anything happens to those servers (a hack, an accident, etc.) there’s a possibility that your data—in the form of your beloved photos—could be lost.
But wait, there’s more! You’re also assuming that these platforms won’t voluntarily alter the content you’ve uploaded or your ability to access it. Right now, Instagram and other such companies give users free access and allow them to keep the rights to whatever they’ve uploaded. Of course, Instagram’s terms and conditions also include this gem:
“We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a licence to use it.”
Which means your wedding photos could potentially appear in ads for the platform or other promotional materials without your explicit consent—and you wouldn’t even be entitled to royalties.
Oh well—at least it’ll still be free, right? Yeah… assuming they never change their terms and conditions, which companies do all the time. So, just because the service is free to use now doesn’t mean it always will be.
Looking back at all that, you’ve actually got more than a few good reasons not to put your wedding photos (or other precious moments) up online:
What you upload can be lost in an incident if you don’t have backups
You may be granting social media companies rights to use your photos by uploading
Your ability to access those photos might change in the future
Now that we’ve looked at both sides of using social media for photo storage, you might want to consider a few alternatives. At the very least, you’ll likely want a backup method for storing your photos so that you’re not trusting absolutely everything to the company that owns your chosen social media platform. Here are a few ideas:
Sometimes, the old ways truly are the best. Printing out physical copies of your photos creates an object you can keep no matter what happens to your online data—and photo printing is actually a lot easier than it used to be.
Unless you insist upon using film to shoot, you won’t need to bring your photos to a developer anymore—almost any print shop will have the technology to print your digital photos in high-resolution on good-quality paper or cardstock. That means you don’t necessarily need to break the bank on a home printer, either—don’t worry, fellow millennials and gen-z-ers, we see you.
Canvas or Posters
Making physical prints of your photos also gives you tons of cool design choices. No need to make everything fit in a photobook—why not make your best memories literally larger than life by putting them on a canvas or poster?
Again, it should be easy to find a print shop in your local area that offers large-scale printing. Many print shops even offer 24-hour shipping, saving you from having to go and pick up your posters by yourself.
Finally, if you have images on Instagram you want to take offline, a photobook is a smart idea. This Instagram photobook from MySocialBook.com is a great solution that’s easy to use and easy to set up, for example.
Photobook services can sync with your social media account of choice (most are compatible with multiple platforms) to create instant photo albums you can order physical copies of with the touch of a button. It’s a more convenient and cost-effective way to get a gorgeous memento that will look great on your coffee table or mantle and become a conversation piece instead of taking up unnecessary room.
Go Social or No Social?
Ultimately, the choice to store your photos online (or not) is up to you—there are valid arguments for choosing either route. But we strongly recommend using one of the options above to make physical copies in addition to anything you put online, if using social media is the choice you make.