Why Printing Your Photos Will Make You a Better Photographer

23 thoughts on Why Printing Your Photos Will Make You a Better Photographer

  1. If you only distribute your photos “digitally” (on websites), you never know what the viewer sees at the other end, because you have no control over the brightness or darkness, contrast, color cast, etc. of their combination of CPU and display. In other words, you have no control over how flat or harsh or blown-out or plugged-up, or too blue or too red, etc., your images will look.
    On the other hand, printing your images on paper gives you complete control over the results, and, when you show the paper prints to other people, under controlled lighting conditions, they represent EXACTLY what you intend for them to look like.
    If you are serious about being a visual artist, you MUST take ownership of what you end up showing to the world. Producing your own prints is part of that. Along with developing your skills in basic techniques such as image manipulation and color management.
    If, on the other hand, you are a weekend snapshooter, well, then Instagram will work for you.

  2. “Printing your photos is half the fun of photography”.

    – and until you get the whole color matching/paper handling/final print preparing process right, can be also said it is half the frustration of photography ;P

  3. I always enjoyed printing and holding physical copies of my work. I don’t have a working printer at the moment unfortunately. Although, printing a photo in the dark room, and watching as your photo appears as it soaks in the the developer my be a moment of pure Zen….. Im lucky that I was taught both digital and analogue mediums and techniques….

  4. I love getting my photos printed. It gives me a chance to experiment with metal or acrylic. One of my concerns has been color accuracy. I use color calibrated monitors, and of course the print shop is color calibrated. Showing it online, there’s no guarantee what someone will see. If it’s on an iPhone or Android, the sun is going to affect the brightness of that image. Also, many people use TF panels (monitors) while I use an IPS panel. That’s going to affect viewing angles as well as color accuracy. The only way I can guarantee someone sees my work the way it’s meant to be seen is by printing it.

  5. Love finishing an image, nothing in photography has more effect than a well done print! Digital photography sadly has distanced many photographers from the pleasures of actually finishing and displaying a vision.

  6. I am an old fashioned former film photographer and to me if the image is not printed by the photographer then it is simply commercial work (nothing wrong with making a living!) or if not sold a temporary snapshot and not the complete or enduring example of the photographer’s art. Taking the image has been called nothing more than accumulating data. Processing the image from the RAW file is the actual creation of the image. Printing completes the cycle and brings the final product entirely under the control of the the artist. Even if a photographer does all the post-processing him/herself the final print is the final statement of the artist’s intentions. I personally enjoy all the challenges of digital printing as it makes me a better photographer as the article states. Another reason for an artist to print their own work is it leaves a legacy for future generations that no digital image can match. I see amazing work online, I only hope it gets printed so it lives on. I fear a future with a cultural black hole if no images are printed for posterity. The future will revere and respect those that leave them examples of their work. I am certain the digital images we create today will disappear from the world’s collections as technology changes. If you have ever had a data loss from a failed hard drive you will know what I mean. Backups are great, but they are no more permanent. I am only an average photographer, but my work will live longer than many other better photographers simply because I print with 200 year archival paper and ink. In my personal lexicon, a photo is only a photo if it is printed. Otherwise it is simply an image. Yes printing is expensive and difficult, but good photographers rise to the challenge and create enduring work. I spend far more on paper and ink than I do cameras and lenses but I also have hundreds of my own prints. To me that is what it is all about.

  7. It was only when doing prints that I realised how off my monitor was. The mismatch of gamut with the printing company made the work a real grind, actually. Now I need a decent monitor like the Eizo they use but I’m not THAT rich. Any recommendations?

  8. More than a few times, I’ve printed out a photo that I thought was “great but not my best”, only to think “wow, that’s way better than I thought!” when I printed it. LOL

  9. I like making photographs Darkroom, or from scanned negs. Its just mood for me A quiet day puddling around or a wonderful day with off white Hannemuhle Bamboo papers scaling as I wish. Always coming from a neg, except for colour work.

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