In a world of digital media files, why does printing photographs still matter?
Whatever camera you use to make a photograph, a print is still the ultimate expression of your creative vision. Plus, they don't need power plugs to survive.
First, let's discuss the nostalgia of prints...
Forget what you've learned about the technical aspects of photography and remember why we press the shutter in the first place.
We photograph to remember ... to capture a moment in time that allows us to control both what we see and what the viewer takes away from the shot. Printing photographs allows a much more meaningful way to observe, improve and appreciate all the effort that goes into the work.
A printed photograph becomes a real object. It's something you can hold and touch, rather than an image among thousands you can see on a screen.
A print will last a lifetime
One of the best parts about printing a photograph is that prints typically withstand the test of time. Most professional papers are guaranteed to last at least 100 years, and a quick Google search for "photography from the 1800s" shows that your prints will probably last even longer.
Now, compare that to digital files and think about how technology is constantly changing. Remember floppy discs? VHS cassettes? Zip Drives? Even CDs/DVD's are on their way out. Apple has been ensuring this for years, as Macbook Pros don't even come with disc drives anymore.
With prints, you'll be able to leisurely enjoy your work for years to come ... without the worry of computer crashes, hard drive backups or rapidly changing technology. Sure, your negatives will still be digital, but at least you'll also have something tangible.
Prints help you grow as a photographer
Prints are also the best way to receive feedback on your work. If you are looking to improve and receive critiques on your photography, the easiest way to do so is by showing someone your prints.
Holding your printed work allows a fresh perspective where you will be able to notice different facets of your work that you might have missed before. Parts that are too dark, too light, dust, color variation...these are all things that might be overlooked on a computer screen.
Plus, a print will help you determine if you have correctly calibrated your monitor.
Printing matters as a professional photographer
As a professional and full-service photographer, there are many benefits to being able to produce high quality prints of your work. Let's explore a few reasons why:
Making prints for your clients shows that you care about their customer experience. Providing their images in their final polished form also shows that you are a full-service photographer, which is a rarity nowadays.
Image a scenario where a potential client wanted to see photographs of a wedding you shot. Instead of only being able to provide images on a screen, you can dazzle them with prints that they can physically hold and appreciate. It shows you care about your work, and are willing to go the extra mile to give your client what they want.
As a photographer, offering printed photographs gives the opportunity to make additional income instead of just making money from session fees.
Quality control is essential for a full-service professional photographer! When you make prints for a client, you can control the quality of the finished product ... as opposed to leaving it up to your patron to produce their own (potentially off-color and low quality) prints.
SUPPORTING THE ART INDUSTRY
Above all, printing your work supports the intricate web of the art industry ... much of which is still locally-owned. In addition to getting a physical print, you are supporting businesses that help artists connect with clients, expand their trade and, above all else, continue doing what we love to do.
So, Why Do Prints Matter?
While the world seems to be propelling into a digital age with access to hundreds of thousands of images at a moments notice, it's important to remember what photography really stands for.
Photography is more than just a paycheck. It's the act of capturing a moment in time and preserving that memory for years to come.
When you take the time to learn how to be a professional and full-service photographer and improve your trade, you show that it's more than just about pictures, it's about loving what you do- and every client wants to see that in their photographer.