The transition to digital was probably one of the best things ever to happen to photography. It has made photography more accessible, easier to learn and the tools that we have to both capture and process our images allow almost limitless possibilities.
Digital platforms such as Twitter and Instagram allow our photography to be shared with a worldwide audience, instantly. But for many photographs, being published on social media is the last step in their journey. A few lucky photographs will however be transformed into a print that can be held in the hand or placed in a frame to be admired.
You may think those photographs that become prints are already award-winning images or made by professional photographers selling prints. Yes, this is true to a certain extent, but I believe everyone can benefit from and enjoy, printing their photography at home.
In this blog post, I’m going to share with you 5 reasons why you should print your photographs at home. You too can discover the joy of printing!
It may seem odd to assert that your photography will improve simply by creating a print, but after you’ve processed an image and shared it on social media, how much time do you then spend looking at it?
More often than not the sharing of an image on social media is the final stage in that photographs life. The image is shared and if we are lucky it gets a few likes and some positive comments. What happens to your photographs after that? Most of them will sit in a digital archive somewhere never to be seen again.
Having a selection of your photographs in printed form will mean you will spend more time looking at them. Our lives are full of digital devices and displays, so giving your eyes something different, something real to look at, is a vastly different experience.
The more time you spend looking at your images the better a photographer you will become. Looking at a print helps you to look at your images differently and more critically. When you stand back and look at your print you may find yourself starting to spot technical issues or how you might be able to improve your composition.
Improvement comes from taking the time to truly look at your images and there is no better way to do that than by holding a print in your hands.
Spending time with your prints will not only improve your photography, but it is also an enjoyable way to view them.
For most photographers, creating a photograph is both an enriching and exciting process. My landscape photography often provides me with memorable moments. Watching the sun break over the brow of a distant hill to bathe the landscape in that special light you only get at sunrise is one of the great pleasures in my life. It’s also the reason I manage to get up at 4 am!
The thrill of pressing the shutter button and seeing a wonderful image appear on our camera is something we all crave. But what if I said you can keep that feeling going all day?
One of the first things I do with my images is to process and print them. Even if it’s a rough edit, the thrill of being able to make a print from an image you only captured a few hours ago is hugely rewarding. I can sit down with my morning brew and say “I made that”. What better way to celebrate your photography than by printing your work straight away.
You can even take it to the extreme and take your printer on location as you can see in this video -
When you first started taking images, learning the craft of photography probably seemed very daunting. Do you remember trying to work out how the exposure triangle works? Like photography, you’ll also need to learn how to print. The good news is that printing is a natural expansion of your existing photography skills.
While there is a lot to learn, and it all may seem a bit complicated, it’s easy to get started. You don’t even need the latest or best printer to start your printing journey. You just need a little enthusiasm to take your photography skills to the next level.
An easy way to start would be to use papers from the same manufacturer of your printer. For example, Canon print drivers already have profiles loaded for Canon papers, making it straightforward enough to get great results.
The real fun starts when you start trying out different paper types such as those from Fotospeed. A great way to try out different paper types is to pick up some of the Fotospeed Test Packs. These are a cost-effective way to see which papers you like and how they impact your photograph when printed.
Expanding your paper choice is just one part of your printing craft. Soon you’ll be learning about calibration and profiling, print mounts and even framing. Knowing that your photography craft extends from capture to print can be hugely satisfying. If some of that sounds challenging then there are some amazing support resources out there such as the Fotospeed Facebook group Photography and Printing Tips and Tricks.
Even if your photography is a pastime or a hobby, or you don’t plan to sell your photographs, you can still find a home for all those beautiful prints that you make. Knowing that you planned a shoot, captured the scene, processed the raw file, crafted a beautiful print and that someone is displaying your work is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have from your photography.
Even in this digital world, people appreciate the experience of looking at an image in print form rather than on a laptop screen or mobile phone. I’ve given prints as gifts a few times and the comment I always get back is how much better the photograph looked in printed form.
So when you are searching for that next birthday or Christmas present, ignore the safe option of a CD or pair of socks, and craft a print from one of your photographs. You can learn more about giving the gift of photography in the video below.
Finally, and for me, probably the best reason to print your photographs is that they simply look better printed. I am fortunate enough to use a high-end photography monitor with excellent colour reproduction, but nothing beats how my photographs look in printed form. There is something uniquely special about looking at a photograph you have printed.
Whether you hold the print in your hand or you look at it on a wall, viewing a print is a richer experience than looking at a photograph on a screen. For many photographers, especially those who edit on laptops, making an A3 print will be the only way to see their photograph in a large format. Just imagine the thrill of seeing the photograph on your laptop being transformed into something you can hold in your hands and share with people.
I promise you that once you start printing your photographs you won’t consider the photographic process complete until you have hit that print button.
If you haven’t guessed, I’m a bit evangelical about printing at home. If you’re still on the fence though, why not check out this talk I did from the Fotospeed stand at The Photography Show.
If you want to see more of my photography and the videos I produce on printing you can find me at