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Hi all,

 

This is a follow up question on the other thread about the Canon Pro 100 printer. I am wondering if I should invest in a dedicated photo printer, rather than an all-in-one scan/print/copier for work and photo purposes.

 

So my questions are:

 

Why do you print photos?

 

For what purpose?

 

What do you do with them?

 

(as opposed to just having a vast digital collection and uploading them to add to your Alamy portfolio)

 

Thanks,

Kristin

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I sometimes print off small pics for birthday cards.

 

Anything more than that is extremely daunting. A whole new world of stuff to get wrong....🥴

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I have an event printer which, as well as being a massive money maker at events, is also used for printing pics off for people who see their pics in various newspapers. I also, reluctantly, print off pics for my GF - reluctantly because she doesn't pay.  Bah.  Media is very cheap, as are mounts and bags, which are needed for a professional 'look'. 

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2 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

Hi all,

 

This is a follow up question on the other thread about the Canon Pro 100 printer. I am wondering if I should invest in a dedicated photo printer, rather than an all-in-one scan/print/copier for work and photo purposes.

 

So my questions are:

 

Why do you print photos?

 

For what purpose?

 

What do you do with them?

 

(as opposed to just having a vast digital collection and uploading them to add to your Alamy portfolio)

 

Thanks,

Kristin

 

I think doing some printing is useful for really seeing how your photos work on paper.  And printing showed me that yeah, I tended to have darker images than was apparent on the screen.  And you can decorate your house with them (but the ones on my wall were printed by the pro photographer's shop in Jinotega).   A dedicated photo printer will use more colors, can print pigments which are more light-fast, and can generally print larger or on more surfaces (canvas to glossy paper).  I've given some away.  If you get good at printing, you can sell them.  However, you spend some money getting set up.  Where I am, I can get standard copies and document prints fairly cheaply at a place two blocks away, and photo prints at a place maybe five blocks away, both easily in walking distance.   You might look for a place that rents time on a printer.  Dunno how available that would be in Berkeley, but seems to be more likely there than in Jinotega, Nicaragua.

 

My favorite print size is 16 by 20/24.  You can really see a photo at that size.   8x10 is as small as I'd like to print.

 

How often do you print anything or scan anything?   A laser printer can sit idle with fewer complications than a ink jet, though some people have suggestions for making those more reliable in the other thread.  

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I could turn the question on its head and say why not make your own prints? Why go to all the trouble of taking and processing pictures and then only ever viewing them on a screen, particularly as I know a lot of people only ever see their work on low end screens despite using high end cameras and lenses?
 

For me, making prints is part of the whole photographic process and has been ever since I had my first darkroom many years ago.. The magic feeling of seeing my first print appearing in a tray of developer was quite an experience. These days I love the tangible feeling of having a new print come out of the printer. i just really enjoy having full control over the entire process. I love being able to look at my work plastered over the walls of my house where I have dozens of my own prints, mounted but not framed. It is my personal art gallery. Having loads of prints, many of landscapes of places I have been over the years has been especially uplifting during the lockdowns, not being able to travel. 
 

I also use my prints as portfolio material, mainly to show potential wedding clients at wedding shows, which are not happening right now obviously with lockdown.  It is generally cheaper to get prints done in a lab if clients want to buy prints though. Most people don’t care if the prints are on archival baryta paper or basic photo paper. 

 

Digital printing is a real skill though if you want to match the image you see on screen to a print. That forced me to learn the dark arts of colour management many years ago and is basically essential if you want to do it properly. You don’t need to understand the theory but you do need to know how to use it. Fortunately nowadays it is a lot easier than it used to be. The steep initial learning curve is well worth the effort I think. I use various papers between A4 and A3+ sizes. My favourite papers are the various Permajet baryta papers which are similar to old fibre based photo papers but I also use matte and textured art papers. So in summary, I mainly print for my own satisfaction and it is satisfying. 

Edited by MDM
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I've printed my own Christmas cards for at least the past 30 years and some of my friends and relatives have kept the whole set (which is more than I have).  I think they would be massing at my door with pitchforks and flaming torches if I stopped now.

 

I also have prints plastered all over my walls - nothing quite like watching an A3 or A3+ print creeping out of the printer.  Almost as good as watching a print appear in the developer tray (I toyed with colour printing but never got on with it).

 

Many moons ago I tried selling prints from my website but gave up after a while - too much hassle.  Got fed up of people expecting an A3 archival quality print for a tenner.

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3 hours ago, Colblimp said:

I have an event printer which, as well as being a massive money maker at events, is also used for printing pics off for people who see their pics in various newspapers. I also, reluctantly, print off pics for my GF - reluctantly because she doesn't pay.  Bah.  Media is very cheap, as are mounts and bags, which are needed for a professional 'look'. 

 

Now I must ask what is an "event printer" and what kinds of events?

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1 hour ago, MizBrown said:

 

I think doing some printing is useful for really seeing how your photos work on paper.  And printing showed me that yeah, I tended to have darker images than was apparent on the screen.  And you can decorate your house with them (but the ones on my wall were printed by the pro photographer's shop in Jinotega).   A dedicated photo printer will use more colors, can print pigments which are more light-fast, and can generally print larger or on more surfaces (canvas to glossy paper).  I've given some away.  If you get good at printing, you can sell them.  However, you spend some money getting set up.  Where I am, I can get standard copies and document prints fairly cheaply at a place two blocks away, and photo prints at a place maybe five blocks away, both easily in walking distance.   You might look for a place that rents time on a printer.  Dunno how available that would be in Berkeley, but seems to be more likely there than in Jinotega, Nicaragua.

 

My favorite print size is 16 by 20/24.  You can really see a photo at that size.   8x10 is as small as I'd like to print.

 

How often do you print anything or scan anything?   A laser printer can sit idle with fewer complications than a ink jet, though some people have suggestions for making those more reliable in the other thread.  

 

I would love to print some of my photos large scale. There is actually an artist coop place near me that has tools to do this yourself, but I may have to pay a membership fee to get access, and take a course.

 

I never print photos, but that just seems like I haven't gotten to that stage yet because I just started taking my photography seriously recently.

 

I scan things quite often, however, for various reasons, including old photos.

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1 hour ago, MDM said:

I could turn the question on its head and say why not make your own prints? Why go to all the trouble of taking and processing pictures and then only ever viewing them on a screen, particularly as I know a lot of people only ever see their work on low end screens despite using high end cameras and lenses?
 

For me, making prints is part of the whole photographic process and has been ever since I had my first darkroom many years ago.. The magic feeling of seeing my first print appearing in a tray of developer was quite an experience. These days I love the tangible feeling of having a new print come out of the printer. i just really enjoy having full control over the entire process. I love being able to look at my work plastered over the walls of my house where I have dozens of my own prints, mounted but not framed. It is my personal art gallery. Having loads of prints, many of landscapes of places I have been over the years has been especially uplifting during the lockdowns, not being able to travel. 
 

I also use my prints as portfolio material, mainly to show potential wedding clients at wedding shows, which are not happening right now obviously with lockdown.  It is generally cheaper to get prints done in a lab if clients want to buy prints though. Most people don’t care if the prints are on archival baryta paper or basic photo paper. 

 

Digital printing is a real skill though if you want to match the image you see on screen to a print. That forced me to learn the dark arts of colour management many years ago and is basically essential if you want to do it properly. You don’t need to understand the theory but you do need to know how to use it. Fortunately nowadays it is a lot easier than it used to be. The steep initial learning curve is well worth the effort I think. I use various papers between A4 and A3+ sizes. My favourite papers are the various Permajet baryta papers which are similar to old fibre based photo papers but I also use matte and textured art papers. So in summary, I mainly print for my own satisfaction and it is satisfying. 

 

That's a great answer. I do like the idea of just printing things, as a habitual part of my practice. I just love the process of working with photos in whatever way I can, so I think it would be a fulfilling activity to unleash them from the camera and computer (yuck). I have lots of empty wall space. They would make excellent gifts. And I know of at least one local exhibition that might display them if I submitted them. I could make postcards too.

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2 minutes ago, The Blinking Eye said:

I would love to print some of my photos large scale. There is actually an artist coop place near me that has tools to do this yourself, but I may have to pay a membership fee to get access, and take a course.

 

If that's a route available to you, then take the course (they would want to make sure you knew how to work their printer) and see how much you print.  Getting a medium grade six color printer here would require paying serious money on FedEx shipping and about a third of the cost, including shipping, on duties and taxes, so I'm better off leaving  printing to the local pro studio.  But having access to a coop eight color printer that was decently maintained and used enough to not have ink clogs would be nice.

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7 minutes ago, MizBrown said:

 

If that's a route available to you, then take the course (they would want to make sure you knew how to work their printer) and see how much you print.  Getting a medium grade six color printer here would require paying serious money on FedEx shipping and about a third of the cost, including shipping, on duties and taxes, so I'm better off leaving  printing to the local pro studio.  But having access to a coop eight color printer that was decently maintained and used enough to not have ink clogs would be nice.

 

That sums it up nicely. I think I would have to commit to doing it. Maybe I'm ready for that. Or maybe I need to just take more photos and beef up my portfolio for a while longer. The thing is, I need a work printer immediately. I'm thinking I may separate the two goals, and eventually get two different printers. The photo printer can wait.

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9 minutes ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

That sums it up nicely. I think I would have to commit to doing it. Maybe I'm ready for that. Or maybe I need to just take more photos and beef up my portfolio for a while longer. The thing is, I need a work printer immediately. I'm thinking I may separate the two goals, and eventually get two different printers. The photo printer can wait.

 

A four color scanner/printer is going to be significantly cheaper.  A photo printer can print text, but that's not a tremendously economical way to go.

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1 hour ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

Now I must ask what is an "event printer" and what kinds of events?

 

These are dye sub printers - a technology specifically for printing large quantities of images very quickly at events such as graduations or any event where people might buy prints on the spot.  The general term is event photography so not really home printing although the printers could be used for that obviously. However, the max print sizes are usually pretty small from these printers and the quality and longevity of the prints is not supposed to be as good as prints from pigment inks from quality inkjets. I have never used one so can't speak firsthand but they are unlikely to be what you are looking for. 

 

As the Col says, event photography can be lucrative. It usually involves two people - one taking the pictures and the other printing, putting the pics in slip mounts and taking payments. Inkjets are the thing for personal home printing - nowadays the quality can be unbelievably good. 

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5 minutes ago, MDM said:

 

These are dye sub printers - a technology specifically for printing large quantities of images very quickly at events such as graduations or any event where people might buy prints on the spot.  The general term is event photography so not really home printing although the printers could be used for that obviously. However, the max print sizes are usually pretty small from these printers and the quality and longevity of the prints is not supposed to be as good as prints from pigment inks from quality inkjets. I have never used one so can't speak firsthand but they are unlikely to be what you are looking for. 

 

As the Col says, event photography can be lucrative. It usually involves two people - one taking the pictures and the other printing, putting the pics in slip mounts and taking payments. Inkjets are the thing for personal home printing - nowadays the quality can be unbelievably good. 

 

Thank you!!! It sounds like a fun gig. If it were at an amusement park or carnival or something like that.

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Before you jump in and buy your own printer I'd recommend trying out the online printing options, or even the local minilab particularly if you get to know them. These use the standard chemical printing process that's been around for many decades but nowadays the best labs will supply a digital reference file so that you can check that your monitor is in the right ball park with respect to colour management and the Fuji or Noritsu machines that they use are excellent. The choice of paper surface is of course very limited, probably just glossy or lustre, but for many applications they can be fine, I know of at least one photographer who sells his work this way. Once you know the lab and the prints are looking how you want them to be then you can experiment with different sizes, the lab will offer fixed sized prints in a large range of sizes but you can specify that your image isn't cropped if it is not quite in the same proportions. These prints, even large ones, can be very inexpensive compared to the true cost of printing them yourself on a high quality inkjet.

 

Edit:

Also because they are relatively cheap you can experiment with borders by adding them in Photoshop et al. So you could order a 9"x6" image but pay for a 12"x10" print if you get my meaning, ready to go on the wall. You can even do B&W.

Edited by Harry Harrison
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11 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

Hi all,

 

This is a follow up question on the other thread about the Canon Pro 100 printer. I am wondering if I should invest in a dedicated photo printer, rather than an all-in-one scan/print/copier for work and photo purposes.

 

So my questions are:

 

Why do you print photos?

 

For what purpose?

 

What do you do with them?

 

(as opposed to just having a vast digital collection and uploading them to add to your Alamy portfolio)

 

Thanks,

Kristin

 

Hey Kristin,

I would only consider going down the photo printing at home route if you're thinking of monetising your photos by selling physical prints. Buying a a printer that can print good enough quality pictures is expensive, the print cartridges are very expensive, the paper is not cheap either.

 

The key question, if you're not going to try and sell physical copies of your photos (which I think someone has to be an absolutely top photographer to be successful), is when would you ever print enough photos at home to make the huge expense of printing worth it, when you can get small numbers of photos printed at a professional studio for much less money?

Steve

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8 hours ago, The Blinking Eye said:

 

Now I must ask what is an "event printer" and what kinds of events?

An event printer is essentially a scaled down version of a printer you see in photo shops.  Quality is outstanding, media is very cheap and printing speed is fast.  I can print a 6x4 in 8 seconds and bigger sizes in around 12 seconds.  Here in Ireland, before COVID, I was doing tractor runs, vintage car runs, horse trots, agricultural shows, sailing events, etc, etc.

7 hours ago, MDM said:

 

These are dye sub printers - a technology specifically for printing large quantities of images very quickly at events such as graduations or any event where people might buy prints on the spot.  The general term is event photography so not really home printing although the printers could be used for that obviously. However, the max print sizes are usually pretty small from these printers and the quality and longevity of the prints is not supposed to be as good as prints from pigment inks from quality inkjets. I have never used one so can't speak firsthand but they are unlikely to be what you are looking for. 

 

As the Col says, event photography can be lucrative. It usually involves two people - one taking the pictures and the other printing, putting the pics in slip mounts and taking payments. Inkjets are the thing for personal home printing - nowadays the quality can be unbelievably good. 

That's exactly it, although in my experience the longevity is good.  I usually do events on my own, apart from the occasional big event.  The mark-up on prints is eye wateringly good! 🤑

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1 hour ago, Steve F said:

 

Hey Kristin,

I would only consider going down the photo printing at home route if you're thinking of monetising your photos by selling physical prints. Buying a a printer that can print good enough quality pictures is expensive, the print cartridges are very expensive, the paper is not cheap either.

 

The key question, if you're not going to try and sell physical copies of your photos (which I think someone has to be an absolutely top photographer to be successful), is when would you ever print enough photos at home to make the huge expense of printing worth it, when you can get small numbers of photos printed at a professional studio for much less money?

Steve

 

What's your experience with colour management with these professional services? I've used one of the well-known UK consumer companies for mugs and calendars for xmas gifts, and though I had low expectations, I was still disappointed.

 

Getting the colours "right" on a home printer can be a very difficult job - and I've spent many a miserable hour swearing profusely at my failures - but at least when it goes wrong, it's up to me to put it right, and my workflow is now rather more satisfactory. 

 

As for the all-in-one devices, I suspect they are OK for non-critical, non-professional use (e.g. A4 wall decoration for your own home, giving a few 6x4s to friends) though it's a long time since I've used one myself.

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I print birthday and Christmas cards regularly and they are generally met with appreciation by the recipients. People in particular, seem to like birthday cards on which the image is personal to them. Printing your own can also be cheaper than purchasing commercial cards.

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1 hour ago, Colblimp said:

An event printer is essentially a scaled down version of a printer you see in photo shops.  Quality is outstanding, media is very cheap and printing speed is fast.  I can print a 6x4 in 8 seconds and bigger sizes in around 12 seconds.  Here in Ireland, before COVID, I was doing tractor runs, vintage car runs, horse trots, agricultural shows, sailing events, etc, etc.

That's exactly it, although in my experience the longevity is good.  I usually do events on my own, apart from the occasional big event.  The mark-up on prints is eye wateringly good! 🤑

 

Yes it sounds like a great way of making money. I've thought about it but I think a lot of it is sewn up already with events companies and the like. I might consider it seriously in the future. 

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1 hour ago, RCS said:

 

What's your experience with colour management with these professional services? I've used one of the well-known UK consumer companies for mugs and calendars for xmas gifts, and though I had low expectations, I was still disappointed.

 

Getting the colours "right" on a home printer can be a very difficult job - and I've spent many a miserable hour swearing profusely at my failures - but at least when it goes wrong, it's up to me to put it right, and my workflow is now rather more satisfactory. 

 

As for the all-in-one devices, I suspect they are OK for non-critical, non-professional use (e.g. A4 wall decoration for your own home, giving a few 6x4s to friends) though it's a long time since I've used one myself.

 

The big pro labs tend to be very good for colour management and they are not expensive. For example, Loxley have very detailed instructions and provide ICC profiles. They also give a free set of test prints when you sign up. You have the option of getting them to do the colour management or not (you do it). With their test prints I found that there was no visible difference between my colour managed ones and theirs. 

 

A major benefit of home printing is what you learn about colour management including  the brightness of the monitor. Most monitors are set ridiculously bright in the factory settings which leads to images that are often too dark. That was the first thing I learned many years ago before I ever used a colour managed workflow or did hardware calibration.

 

 

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I have an Epson XP-8500 which I got cheap and is marketed as a decent inkjet photo printer for enthusiasts. With some decent gloss paper and the high quality printing option it does produce some very nice prints. I mainly use it to create prints from the various holidays I've been on as I do occasionally like to have a physical copy. In a pinch it could be used to produce a couple of prints for paid work, perhaps, but would I use it to run a business - absolutely not.

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2 hours ago, MDM said:

 

The big pro labs tend to be very good for colour management and they are not expensive. For example, Loxley have very detailed instructions and provide ICC profiles. They also give a free set of test prints when you sign up. You have the option of getting them to do the colour management or not (you do it). With their test prints I found that there was no visible difference between my colour managed ones and theirs. 

 

A major benefit of home printing is what you learn about colour management including  the brightness of the monitor. Most monitors are set ridiculously bright in the factory settings which leads to images that are often too dark. That was the first thing I learned many years ago before I ever used a colour managed workflow or did hardware calibration.

 

 

Thanks for this, and also to Harry Harrison for his insight. I'll take a look.

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1 minute ago, Jose Decio Molaro said:

I have many photos that I photographed since the 80's, printed, many that I photographed at the time of digital I already lost. I print some because of that.

Very good point, I still have my grandfather's prints and photo albums from getting on for 100 years ago, and unusually many of his negatives, prints will outlast digital for sure. I'm pleased to see that my niece goes to the trouble of having a book printed to celebrate major occasions, or even just holidays.

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