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Five key reasons to print your photos

6 minute read

In the era of digital photography, photo printing is no longer commonplace – but it should be. Here’s why you need to print your photos.

The advances that have happened within the world of photography over the last 20 years are astounding. It’s not just photography, either. It’s a digital age, and that means many older practices are being left by the wayside.

We’re not here to lament days gone by, though – the modern age is fantastic. We’ve got the world at our fingertips and we can send our photos out into an audience of millions in just a few seconds.

But what if we were to take the best of both worlds? The joys of a physical photo in your hands, but better and more easily done than ever before? Well, of course you can. And you should. Here’s why.

They’re permanent

Realistically, if you store your digital photos correctly, they should be permanent as well. With that said, files can be corrupted, an SD card can be lost and cloud passwords can be forgotten.

What’s harder to lose is a book of photographs, or a large photo print for that matter. If printed to a professional standard, a physical photo should last a lifetime, as long as it’s well cared for.

You can show off your photos

Instagram and other digital photo-sharing platforms are great for many reasons, with an immediate reach to a hugely broad audience being top of the list. There’s something else to photo prints, though.

Seeing a collection of photos in a book or even a canvas on your wall just seems more tangible and real than a picture on a screen, and sharing your work with friends or family in such a way is incomparable.

Much like the previous point, this isn’t a one or the other thing – we’d encourage you to do both! Share your photos online and build a digital presence, but the really special ones deserve a place on the wall.

 

Photo print

Image This seascape scene is printed on hemp print media from Hahnemühle’s Natural Line (credit: Will Cheung) 

You’ll try harder

A lack of motivation is easy to fall into, and the result is uninspired photos – that’s if you’re taking any at all. There are many ways to deal with this, and one of those ways is having something to work towards. This could be an ongoing photo project, or it could be filling a book with photos.

On another level, if your goal is to have photos worthy of printing and displaying, you’ll set your sights higher, pursue great shots with more intention and stay committed.

They make nice gifts

We published a feature recently about photographing your own Christmas card, in which we covered photo printing to a limited extent. We also talked about why a personalised card makes such a nice gift. But here, we can take it one step further.

Cards are nice, but photo books (homemade or otherwise), canvases, postcards and more all make for thoughtful and personal gifts, too. Almost any photo can be used on one occasion or another, so there’s not even a need to go out and take photos purely for this if you don’t want to.

Winter months are the perfect time to get a Christmas card photo ready for the end of the year, so make sure you read our feature in good time to prepare!

 

Photo print

Image This atmospheric scene is printed on Fotospeed’s Art Fibre 300 using an Epson XP-970 (credit: Will Cheung)

You can sell them

Selling your photo prints is only one step further from giving them to friends or family, and it’s really not an unrealistic goal. You could sell your photo prints on your own website, or on dedicated sites like Etsy.

Remember that digital presence we mentioned earlier? Here’s where the two go hand in hand. Starting small is fine, and maybe it’ll stay that way, which is fine – this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. In addition to passion and some small side earnings, though, there is money to be made. Many people make a living selling artwork of all varieties online.

How to print your photos

When it comes to actually making your photo print, there are a number of ways you can go about it. The cheap and easy approach is a generic high-street store. There are countless superstores that offer photo printing, some for as little as a few pennies per photo, so if cost is your sole concern, this is the option for you.

The second choice is photo printing through an imaging specialist like Jessops. You get what you pay for and prints are actually only marginally more expensive than many high-street alternatives. There’s also a much wider range of options, including larger sizes and more unusual print materials. If you’ve taken more care capturing your photos than the average casual photographer, it makes sense that you’d want more care taken when it comes to your prints.

The third option when it comes to photo printing is to invest in a printer and use it at home. Though it’s more costly upfront, buy prints for long enough and eventually you’ll be investing a good amount regardless. More importantly, with many options you have much greater control over the final outcome, with many printers offering custom profiles.

One drawback is that the majority of home printers – even those specifically for photos – aren’t capable of making prints larger than A4.

Where to go

If you are considering printing at home, you can find some great purchase suggestions in our recent printers and papers Buyers’ guide. You can also find tests of printers and papers in the First tests section of our issues, all of which are available to read for free via our Issue library.

Are you already deep in the world of photo printing? How do you go about it? Do you use a printer or paper that you think deserves a place in this feature? Let us know on InstagramTwitter or Facebook!

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