Sacrilege! Last week I threw out a large professionally framed family portrait that had been in my family for 40 years. Must have cost someone a bundle, but I didn't want it's 1960's faded vibe displayed on the walls of my modern-ish home or taking up precious storage space. It felt wrong to toss a treasured (at one time) family photo, but it was possible thanks to one thing - an 8x10 of the same image, unfaded, neatly tucked into a folio. I could happily hang onto that one without angst.
It was a learning experience - specifically, I learned that wall portraits won't be the family heirloom most people think it will. It won't be cherished forever by your children and grandchildren. Instead it may end up passed around like a hot potato until the last in line who wants to say 'no thanks' overcomes themselves and pitches it. The takeaway is: most people don't want to display large old family portraits, but will keep small, easy-to-store prints for generations. This leads me to the point of the post: invest in a quality ALBUM. Albums are small, meant to be handled, the pictures won't fade since they're stored closed, are relatively classic in their design, allow for a series of pictures rather than just one, and last but not least, will last much longer than any technology you're currently storing images on. Bonus: thieves will pass your albums on their way to your computer! No one steals printed family photos ;)
So the next time you hire a professional photographer, consider asking them to make an album the priority. Albums will be pulled out and enjoyed year over year over year, so purchase one that feels good and will last. All those pictures together tell the story of your family like nothing else, and truly memorialize the sweet children who quickly grow into men and women, and the people who will leave this world before us. If you have to choose, invest the money in a good album rather than an expensive framed portrait. It'll likely stay in the family beyond your lifetime and not be relegated to the attic. You, your children, and grandchildren will be glad for your wisdom ;)