Nestling quietly (and invisibly) on your computer hard drive are wonderful images you’ve captured. How often do you actually see them, so you can enjoy the fruits of your efforts? How often do these images give you the repeat pleasure of reminiscing about when you were somewhere special—or with someone special? When do you take the time to actually enjoy your images? How you captured them? The delight in the surroundings? So much pleasure and delight, foregone—perhaps even forgotten?
The printed image shown above, printed on A3+ glossy paper, is just beautiful—and tangible. Importantly, I know that it is mine: the flowers were put there by nature, of course, but everything else was done by me: seeing the potential, composing the capture, taking the image, doing a bit of work on the image, enjoying the whole process and, finally, doing the print. It happens to sit in my workroom, and each time I look at it, I revisit the enjoyment of each stage.
I also have a zillion images on my hard drives, but I try to pick up the few gems that I capture so that I can make the most of them.
Printing adds a whole new dimension to our photography and helps us to really appreciate our special images. We can see and appreciate them regularly. Bringing them into the physical world can stop them from getting lost on our hard drives.
Here are a just few thoughts on why you should seriously consider using prints selectively to help you get the most out of your photography. Let’s just do the practical bit first.
Print at home or printing service (online or photo shop)
As with most things, it just depends on you and what you need.
If you only want to print, say, 4×6 sizes for record-keeping purposes, simply ordering prints online will be cheaper, once you factor in the cost of ink, paper, how frequently you print, etc. The negative side is that you get what you get, and you must wait a few days to get the finished product.
Once you move up to A4 and A3+ sizes, the costs will be closer, but now you will probably be printing regularly as part of your photography and really enjoying doing so. You will have control over everything—types of paper, special inks, etc., and can produce superb prints. It can also be very creative as, if necessary, you can amend prints as you go. As I mentioned, it can become a most enjoyable part of your photography. Watching your completed print emerging from the printer can be a great experience—almost as exciting as watching your print emerge in your developer print tray in the darkroom!
Digital images on your computer are ephemeral. How often do you actually look at your pictures? When you print an image, it becomes real and you can keep it visible. Prints are tactile—something one can feel!
This makes it easier to mount in a frame or in an album, where it will be looked at and enjoyed. Family albums are an excellent investment. When did you last sit down as a family and look at images on a screen? Albums can be picked up by anyone—kids, grandparents—and enjoyed at any time.
Albums on children growing up or special events or holidays are always of interest, rather than images scattered over a hard drive. Especially if they are on Dad’s computer.
If you are printing A4-sized or larger, you really begin to take the time to review your images, as it will cost a bit. A great discipline to add to your enjoyment!
You look at your images more carefully, which can help you improve your photography.
Once you begin to print images at a reasonable size, you will find that your appreciation of your own photography develops and you will become more creative.
You are really beginning to discover the second half of the photographic process, which is what you do with your special images.
You might print an image at A3+ size, frame it and mount it on a key wall somewhere. It can become your image space and you can change the image every two months or so. Your family will also see why you spend time on your photography.
Family images displayed around the house help family members keep connected and remember special occasions, too.
I could go on talking about the benefits of printing your images, but here is one last thought.
Consider making personalized greeting cards. A5 size is great: just select an appropriate image, print it and include a personalised message. The possibilities are endless and they are always very well received! Also, they cost less than commercial cards!
Give serious consideration to adding printing to your photography—it can be great, practical fun!
Enjoy your photography!
About the Author:
Roger Alan Lee is a passionate photographer, course leader and cruise ship workshop leader. His aim is to enthuse others with his courses and his ebooks, which are “for people who don’t want to drown in detail—just take good photographs.”
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