These days everyone seems concerned with security in their digital world. How do we keep our image catalogs and documents safe and away from prying eyes or bad actors? Storage media tend to become outdated and unsupported after a few years. Remember those floppy disks, zip drives and micro drives? DVD’s and thumb drives seem to be next in line for the digital museum. The “cloud” has taken over as the new storage of choice with Apple, Google and a parade of other tech companies offering gigs of personal storage for free. Yet on some level clouds become the digital equivalent of the two car garage that has no room for any cars. You know you’ve got a lot of “important” stuff out there, but you tend to forget what you really have, you can’t put your hands on it in quickly if you wanted to, and it’s always one move away from being forgotten and left behind or inadvertently tossed in the trash.

As photographers in the digital age we all too often provide our clients with digital files and leave it up to them to determine the best way to display them and keep them safe. Digital delivery is certainly the most expedient and often the most economical option available. Too often professional photo book and prints are left for a la cart purchases that come later or, sadly, never.

Sure for your clients it’s great for them to know their wedding images are up in the cloud somewhere safe from fire and flood, but they’re probably also safe from ever being seen again too. As a pile of several hundred images they’re safe from ever really telling a cohesive story of their wedding day. They’re safe from being celebrated on their tenth wedding anniversary or being displayed again at the weddings of their children and grandchildren. In short, they are safe from ever being special. Instead they end up being no more precious than the picture of the chicken Marsala they had at the restaurant last night: posted to some social media page and forgotten about an hour later.

That’s why a professional photo book is so important and why you as a pro photographer can and should promote them as such. Think of it as your duty, part of your job. You don’t pay a building contractor to drop a pile of lumber off on your lawn and not put together the room addition. Publishers don’t pay novelists to hand them a dictionary instead of a manuscript. Why should you do this as a photographer?

A professional photo book is still the only real deal when it comes to backing up memories. It tells a story and becomes a family heirloom from the day you put it in your client’s hands. It’ll occupy a place of honor in their home and in their hearts and not get lost in the cloud somewhere or shoved in a box next to a salad shooter in the garage. Oh, and you won’t need a password to look at it either.

At you next client consultation, ask you clients how they prefer to back up their memories.