Why Make Your Own Prints?

“I don’t care if you make a print on a bath mat, just as long as it is a good print.” Edward Weston

With all the great on-line photo labs out there, why would anyone take the time and make the effort to make his or her own prints?

Well my friends, here are a few good reasons:

1) Total creative control. What could be more rewarding for a photographer? You set the color in your
digital SLR for creative color, and you fine-tune your exposure with the +/- EV setting, so why not have total creative control over your prints?

If you calibrate your monitor and printer, and use the correct ICC profile, what you see on your monitor should be what comes out of your printer.

2) A good way to relax. Put on your iTunes and experiment with different cropping, color and brightness options.

3) Be proud of the complete process. Look at your printing session as the final step in your creative photography process. When your print comes out of your printer, you can say, with a big smile, "I did that."

4) Sell "custom, signed, hand-printed" images. Hand-printed and signed images sell for more than machine prints.

5) Immediately see the effects of using different papers. On-line labs offer many different papers, from metallic to matte. Many different paper styles are available for home printers, too. My advice is to experiment with different papers to see which one best suits your photograph.

My main printer: Canon IPF 6350 (on left).
Here's a tip on printing: Don't Drink and Print. Coffee, Coke, beer, wine and so on affect the way we see color. So if color is important 2 U, don't drink and print. Age, being tired and your emotional state also affect how you see color.

If your monitor and printer and not calibrated, now is the time do so. I use the ColorMunki:
ColorMunki Photo - Monitor, Printer & Projector Profiler

Explore the Light,

P.S. Here is a video I made on using the ColorMunki and on HDR photography.