Do you ever print your photos? Not just post them on social media, but real tangible images printed on beautiful photo paper? If you don’t, then perhaps you should. Consider these reasons why you should print your photos.

Lost art

There are various reasons for printing your photos — digital can be lost or compromised, cheap prints fade and get damaged, good quality prints can last you decades or longer. There is something simple yet satisfying about seeing your images printed. If you are old enough to remember pre-digital age, the joy of intentionally taking images. You had to be intentional as the film was not cheap and you only had so many images to captures; 12, maybe 24 or 36. Then you waited while the prints were developed.

If you were lucky and had access to a dark room to print your own. I remember we had one at school and there was nothing better than sitting in the dark waiting for the magic to happen before your eyes as the paper soaked in the various solutions. Or picking the photos up once printed and seeing what was good and what was not. In the digital age, we seemed to have lost all that.

Why prints?

We can take great images with the technology available to us these days, but more often than not we don’t print. Even on your smartphone, we can capture amazing memories and yet we seem to only share them with family and friends in low resolution, compressed images online. Not that this is a bad thing, that’s the beauty of digital images and social media, immediacy. But once they have been captured what do we do with these images? Generally, we store them on our computer somewhere and they are forgotten until we need them.

If you are an enthusiast or photography hobbyist, you probably take your camera everywhere; holidays, events and gatherings. Then what do you do with them?

Choosing images to print

The next stumbling block for some of us is choosing which images to print. I guess you need to decide WHAT you wish to do with your images. I have now been creating big beautiful coffee table photo books for the holidays, full of only the best images from a trip. Full page, beautifully printed stunning landscapes. I have them handy for friends to pour over and from time to time I pick one up and go through with a big happy smile on my face while all the memories come flooding back.

I also print a brag book of my favorite studio shoots for the year, as these can be shown to clients as a high-quality portfolio. Again I say only use your best images. If you are unsure, don’t print. If it makes you smile, print it. Now, these books are great for smaller images, A4 size or smaller. What about larger prints. Do you want to frame them and hang them on the wall? Consider the area you wish to hang your print. How much room is there, what is your décor or color scheme like, will the image suit it?

Getting the right look

Once you have worked out the amount of space, the size you wish to print, will the images chosen suit your décor, it’s down to technicalities. Will your chosen image print well. If you choose a print service like Xpozer, they have a E-course and advice from experts all about getting your images from the PC to the wall, with their 4 pack solution.

I was recently asked to get a few images printed from Xpozer, so in another post, I will totally cover just how easy it is to use this great service.

How big is too big?

While you may have the room to hang something that looks like it belongs in the Lourve, is your base image large enough to print that big? The people from Xpozer mention on their website that 80 ppi (pixels per inch) is the minimum for a 30-by-45 inch print. My images at 30-by-45 inches were 120ppi, which should be sufficient for a print this size. I also saved in sRGB and JPEG, keeping the overall image to about 20MB.

If you have cropped your image, or your megapixel rate on your camera is smaller, you may not be able to print this large without upscaling the image with third-party software. There are numerous options for doing this, however, I prefer to work within my own images. In the past, I have not printed quite this large and usually print about an 8-by-10 or 11-by-14 inch (300 ppi) for competitions, exhibitions and even as gifts. Prints that I have sold have been up to A3 in format and about 200-250 ppi.

Always double check

Once you have your image, you know it is suitable for large print, you know exactly where to hang it once it arrives and you are about to upload and click send … STOP! I cannot say this enough, double-check your images. Check them on another computer. Are they too dark, too bright, are there marks or errant objects? Are there any sensor spots? While these seem small and innocuous on a computer screen, they become VERY noticeable on a large print. Enlarge your image to 200% and go over it in a grid pattern. It also pays to look at night and day, the light is different and something might show up more.

This may seem like extra work but consider this. These are beloved images, these will take pride of place on your wall. Perhaps you have been fortunate to sell one or two. Would you want substandard work hanging on your wall or someone else’s? So take the extra few minutes to double-check. A single sensor spot, while it may not be obvious to a guest, may in time drive you to distraction. But perhaps by then, it is time to replace the print with something new.