Photos Then And Now: Let’s Look At How Our Appreciation for Photographs Evolved Through The Years


The history of photography came a long way. It began with the light-sensitive material discovery in the 19th century, followed by the film processing printing, came coloured photography, then to the hail and behold digital age. Photography, one of the greatest and most important human inventions, has evolved tremendously since its first recognition. 

In today’s digital age, the said art is continuously changing and has become a significant part of one’s life. Photographs are used as a celebratory item that represents one’s valuable memory. With the sustained popularity of digital photographs, is there a possibility that a photo’s value lessens with every hundred shots a person takes on average a month? In this article, we’ll discuss how photographs were treasured then and now. 

1. Family photos and portraits


It was somewhat a tradition that families take portraits during important occasions. Before digital cameras and mobile phones came into existence, families would go to photo printing shops and have their portraits taken. This happens once or twice every 5 years or more, for update and record as a display in each home. 

When film cameras were introduced to the public, people would use them to capture their loved ones in gatherings and special occasions. Afterwards, they’d have it printed in professional photo printing shops for film processing and have it framed or kept in albums. Since a single film roll can only take limited shots, people tend to capture moments scarcely, making sure that every shot taken is a special one.

Owning a film camera back then was deemed as a luxury. This old perception made it more significant for people to take shots of formal photos instead of ones where people are in candid moments. 


With the high of mobile phones, it is nearly impossible for families to reach a point of portrait scarcity. With the glorious power of digital cameras and mobile phones, you won’t even need to wait for a special day or occasion to photograph your loved ones. With modern-day photography, shoots are done every minute of every day whenever you want to. It’s easy to get by when you’re missing a loved one, just by looking at their stock full snaps on your mobile phone.

2. Going to photo booths and photoshops 


Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, photo booths and photoshops became a trend and fad. Most especially for teens and people in their 20’s. This is because quick photo printing was in and people would only have to wait for an hour or two. What makes it more interesting is that they provide free props and costumes for you to try and use in your shots. On top of that, their choices of where you’d like your photos to be printed are pretty enticing.

Printed photos on card-sized calendars, wallet-sized shots, or even photos printed on plates. Want your photos as stickers? Sure. Photoshops and booths made it so easy for people to avail their services, with a creative and effective strategy. Plus, people used their shots on whatever medium it was printed on as a trend. Gone are the days that they were once perceived as a luxury. 


Of course, photo companies never missed out on any trend concerning pictures. As time passes, companies also evolved and came with better marketing developments. There came photo booth apps, social media applications, and websites for people to use. All these provide convenience and accessibility to everyone. And all you need is your smartphone. 

With these instant digital photography means, people have gradually withdrawn their interest in cute wallet-sized shots and numbered photo booth snaps. Slowly being replaced by on-the-go shots, inclusive of unlimited filters to beautify every shot in a blink of an eye. What more can you ask?

3. Polaroids and their hazy, dreamy film shots


In 1948, polaroid cameras were considered the Apple of their time. It was coined as the “picture-in-a-minute” camera that enticed not only people from the UK – where it was invented and developed by Edwin Land but also from people all around the world. People loved how it provides you instant results of your shots, unlike with film cameras. Polaroid became the photo printing shops’ competitor at that time.  

Polaroid’s history did not come easy. It was faced with court trials because huge and established corporations tried to copy their innovative camera. It took years, almost a decade before it was resolved. In the 1800s polaroid’s sales declined, and people leaned back on its photography craze. 


It was the late 2010’s when polaroids became popular again. Teens rediscovered the “picture-in-a-minute” camera and are admired due to its aesthetic features. Even until now, polaroids are still a thing. Polaroid films are kept and used as a mobile design by placing them at the back of a smartphone. Since people nowadays are more after aesthetic and minimalism, polaroid film’s sleek and modest photo prints make it more favorable.

Aside from its comeback, polaroids also became a digital hit. People nowadays post their polaroid film shots on their social media pages, showcasing the dreamy yet minimalist feel. Its current craze is not limited to its actual film cameras. There are hundreds of mobile applications where you can take photos and have a polaroid aesthetic shot, including its infamous white film design. Indeed, polaroids are now available in just one click away. 

4. Photo printing and collection


Did your parents own home photo albums filled with childhood photos of you and your siblings? It is most likely that people who are in their 20’s might be the last generation to possibly have one. In conjunction with the high of film cameras and photo printing, people made sure that every documented moment and occasion are kept and treasured. 

Photo albums served as every family’s collection and memorabilia. 


One’s way of collecting memorable moments is through their mobile devices. It’s easy to categorize and label the occasion of every shot. Smart devices show details of when and where every photo is taken, making it easier for people to look for a certain photo. It is rare to find people who have their digital photos taken in professional photo printing shops these days. 

With social media taking a significant part in everyone’s lives, they are also being utilised as a tool to showcase one’s digital yet memorable photo collection.

What would be the end game of photography? 

Only time can tell. With technology’s unlimited potential in continuously providing a better photography experience, we can only expect it to get better. Though digital ways make it easier to look back on special moments, some may find it more meaningful to reminisce on printed shots.

What do you like most about today’s view on photography and photographs? Do you miss how photographs seem rarer and bring a mysterious feel? Let us know your thoughts and your perception regarding today’s snapshoot experience!

About the author: 
  • Bianca Banda is an ardent writer, aiming to share helpful information and ideas effectively and engagingly. She is a massive lover of Japanese cuisine and enjoys binge-watching comedies or variety shows.
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