Ansel Adams compared photography to a musical performance. “The negative,” he said, “is the score. The print is the performance.”
Digital photography has seen prints taking a second seat to screens. Wouldn’t it be great if a high-quality print could be given to a client during the photo session as a reminder of the finished work to come? Well, it can be done with today’s tech. Best of all, it’s easily done wirelessly.
Power of the print
Color or black and white prints are powerful reminders of the great experience people have in front of a photographer’s camera. They build anticipation of the finished, post-produced work that the client will receive in a few short days.
Prints are easy to display in the home or home office. A magnet holds a photo print on the refrigerator. A piece of tape sticks them under computer monitors. Importantly, people love prints when they are hassle free.
On-site printing challenges
There are some serious challenges to printing photos on location. The biggest one is that inkjet printers don’t travel well, if at all. Usually, when an inkjet manufacturer sends a printer out for review, they don’t want it back because it costs too much to refurbish it after the return shipping.
Best practice says that after moving a printer, it ought to have new profiles made for each paper stock used. This, of course, won’t work on location. Inkjet printers usually only handle sheet sizes 8.5-by-11 inches and larger. Their feed trays have limited capacity too.
Connecting printers is easier now than ever. At least that part is not much of a challenge.
Wireless dye sublimation printing
Dye sublimation prints are very stable, very good and there are no liquid inks involved. As a matter of fact, they don’t use ink at all. The prints are made by transferring the image onto the paper by heating a ribbon containing the colors.
This process uses only four colors — cyan, magenta, yellow and black (aka key or K). CMYK is the system used by large volume and size printing presses to print brochures, magazines and books. Since all of the colors are kept on a ribbon, problems associated with inkjet printers go away.
Best of all, printers are available that are rugged, transportable and wireless. The printer I show in this article was provided to me for this and upcoming articles.
DNP wireless printing
The printer uses an included USB-B cable to connect to a computer or the Wireless Connect Module (WCM). This module provides wireless connectivity for iOS and Android devices as well as for Windows and macOS computers. The included USB-A to B cable plugs into the WCM. The WCM also has an Ethernet port to connect DNP printers to hard-wired networks.
The point is that with the WCM, I can print photos from my iPhone, from my client’s phone or from my computer wirelessly. My clients love making a few prints of family favorites while they are having makeup done.
Prints make more sales
Dye sublimation prints from devices like the DNP printer I use have been used in photo booths for years to give patrons instant memories of events they have attended.
Now, during the pandemic where crowds no longer happen, dye sublimation printing is finding itself being very well received in entirely new situations. My clients particularly like getting small prints of interiors I shoot for them and of behind-the-scenes photos I make with my iPhone. Occasionally, they might take a photo with their phone and want a quick print.
As I mentioned, I encourage them to print a few of their favorites from their phones while I am setting up the next shot. This is a service that I happily provide them often for free as a way to build loyalty. A single 6-by-8 inch print only costs a quarter. 10 prints are still less than buying a cup of Starbucks — and they last longer, too.