It isn’t uncommon for many photographers to run their business strictly as a digitally focused service. For one, it is cheaper and less time consuming. And with the ease of being able to upload full galleries on site for clients to conveniently choose the ones they want to print on their own is an incredible quality that many clients want. But what many photographers don’t know is that printing your own images can improve not only your business but your skills as a photographer as well.
Let’s find out how printing your photos can make you a better photographer in the long run.
Why Print Your Images?
- Makes you a better photographer – Printing your own images will bring light to skill, technique, and abilities of which will never be made apparent from viewing your images on a digital format.
- Gives you a better understanding of the craft – When you decide to print your own images there are a lot of things you have control over and need to give extra attention to. To gain a better understanding of how to shoot and edit your images so that the quality of the print is of the highest standard. With new technology advancement, doing your own prints is not only easier but can be better for your budget.
- Can ignite a new found love for your images – The process of prepping your image, selecting the right paper, and printing services can help you really understand every aspect of your trade. There is just something nostalgic and fulfilling about holding a physical copy of your final select.
Understanding the Many Aspects of Printing Photos
When you understand the basics of printing you can make better choices on how your images are printing. You’ll want to have a deeper understanding of the types of printers to choose from, how the type of ink can affect the quality of your print and the different types of paper that can enhance your images.
- Inkjet printers – Most common printers used when you want to print high-quality images on a tight budget. These printers can print on a number of textures including paper, canvas, fabric, and metal. Inkjet printers use four ink colors that are mixed during the printing process to make available a large spectrum of colors.
- Laser printers – Most often used by top professionals as they give the highest quality image. Images printed using these types of printers are often more true to what the images look like in digital form. The images can often hold up for a much longer period of time.
- Dye –These types of ink are typical liquids from or water soluble. The dye stains the surface of the material being printed on and can be fixed permanently by using a mordant. These inks are often cost less and provided vibrant colors that result in high saturation.
- Pigment -Pigment inks are not water soluble and for this reason, aren’t absorbed into the printing material but instead sit on the surface. While these types of ink will keep colors from fading for looking there are often quite expensive and lack the vibrancy of dye inks.
You will have a variety of finishes to choose from and no one is better than the other, it is all about preference. The most common finish many professional photographers use when printing is a high gloss paper. These types of paper often yield great vibrancy in colors. Specialist photo paper is often recommended because it allows the in to adhere to the top surface of the paper instead of absorbing into it. You can also go with a glass or semi-gloss finish which will still provide you with a nice reflective finish. Matte paper will give no shine to the finished image resulting in a more subtle look. You can also choose texture paper such as canvas prints.
Additionally, you will want to consider the weight of the paper. The heavier and thicker the paper the more durable which means it won’t tear or damage easily.
How to Print Your Images?
While you may have perfectly edited your image for digital use, the process for prepping your images for printing can be a little different. You want to ensure you optimize your images to be printing. There are four main factors you want to technically assess before printing.
- Color Saturation – Pay particular attention to colors that may be over saturated or need to have a boost in saturation. Red hues can be problematic when printing whereas pastel or colors that lack in saturation can result in very dull shades of color. You want to ensure the colors are vibrant and bright by calibrating your monitor or neutralizing your workspace so you can properly balance the colors.
- Contrast – Images will often appear brighter on the screen then they will when viewed as a print. You want to keep this in mind as you adjust your contrast. You may need to increase it slightly to ensure that your print is like your view on your monitor, this can take a little trial and error when you first start printing your own images so be sure to keep track of how much you need to increase the contrast to a point that you are satisfied with.
- Sharpness – Just as with contrast sharpness can also appear different on a computer screen than on a print. You will want to increase the sharpness for images you plan to print so they are clear and details are crisp.
- Sizing and Resolution – You want to avoid pixelation in your prints, which can be difficult if you are planning to do large scale prints. You may need to adjust the resolution for your images, large scale prints that you don’t need to have the highest quality should be set to at least 300 DPI, for fine art large scale prints you will want to set this higher.
There are a number of ways you can go about printing your images. Many may think that print your own prints means setting up your own printing and printing them yourself. On-demand professional print services are actually the best way to go about getting your images printed. You get the opportunity to work with professionals who really know what they are doing and who can help you out as you learn more about printing your own images. Some option includes:
- Local shops – Can often print smaller size images and can have limited equipment that won’t usually yield a high-quality fine art look you are hoping for. These shops can be convenient and some may have the proper equipment to produce fine art prints so it is best to call around and ask. The best thing about local shops is that you can work with the technician face to face.
- Online print services – While you won’t get the face to face contact online print demand services are one of the most common and convenient ways to print your images. You still get to have complete control over you the final print and can often receive the final print in just a few days.
- Specialized printers – Artist-run centers can be an ideal option if your city has one. A technician is there to help with your print job the first few times but after that, you are left to do a majority of the printing process yourself. These can be a bit more than your budget intends for you will often need to pay a membership fee and hourly rentals fees.
- At home – You can choose to do everything from your own home or studio but this can cost you a great deal more than you are able or willing to spend. Quality printers can be expensive and are often limited to smaller size prints. Going with a printing service can actually be more cost efficient and when you find the right service you can often have a short turn around time from when you place an order to when they are done.
Additional Tips Printing your Images
- Have a budget – Before printing your images have a clear budget in mind and don’t be afraid to ask for a quote. Choose a budget that is right for the images used. If you are selling the prints you want them to be of the highest quality so your budget might be more if you are just printing to display images in your own or for a gallery you can lower your budget and choose a different paper or finish.
- Ask for proofs – You don’t want to OK a print job before you have had a chance to see the quality of the color and overall print. Ask for proofs of your images before you move ahead to a full print job.
- Take note of specs – Always keep track of your printing specs so you know which ones to use for future use which can save you time
Printing can expand your business by allowing you to sell actual prints and have them hung in galleries or local businesses. But poorly printed images won’t get you the attention you want or deserve, so always be sure to create test prints, try new papers, and continue trying until you create the perfect print.