Sunday, February 8, 2009


I've been wondering about prints a great deal recently.  I don't print very many of my images and wonder what other photographers are doing.

"Back in the old days"  B&W film was developed and then a contact sheet was printed.  As much of an art as "Seeing" in B&W is, evaluating contact sheets is probably very close.  However, all of the negatives were printed at least once even if very small.  Negatives were (still are) stored in a sheet of some sort, they were a paper type previously and now are clear plastic.  The contact sheets were stored with the negatives.  Pretty good system actually.

Now with digital we take a lot more pictures.  The image files display nice and bright, clear and large on the computer screen.  Much easier to evaluate and with the software available much easier to adjust the images as well.  That being said, an overwhelming majority of images never "See the light of day."  Also, it's a real chore to browse photos with another person.  Finding the images one wishes to show inside a folder, inside another folder, in yet another folder on a hard drive etc. Often distraction or boredom arrives before the images are found. While it's quite true that DAM software like Aperture or Lightroom can fix this problem they require some discipline around keywording.  More often than I would like to admit I've had trouble finding a particular image.

I believe I make a hundred or so images a year.  I have 2 printers at home and will also quite often use Costco and now Adorama.  They each have machines that are the equal of most custom labs and they also offer printer profiles for their printers.  With the profiles it's quite easy to get a print that's a good match with what the screen shows.  I have prints all over the house in folders.  Yes I know, folders of prints vs folders of digital images but I do look at them. I also use folios.  I like the ITOYA art profolio.  They come in many sizes and I find deals on these on line.  It's a good way to display images I think.

I've also made a few books.  I should probably do more of this.  Although the cost of the books seems high initially the actual per print cost is quite reasonable, the quality is good and improving.  

Still, if I consider my 4 star and 5 star images which I have double stored and also saved to DVD, few are printed.  

To have 5 star images not printed I'm guessing one must expect to be "Discovered" after they go.


obakesan said...

well, I don't know about you, but I scan most of my images and have a good look. I think this reveals as much or more than the old contact print. Maybe it saves on wasted chemistry and paper too?

Dunno ... but I used to print so that I could see it. I think I manage to show more of my friends my images 'electronically' than before. Perhaps its not as good as some of the best darkroom prints I made, but sometimes its better


I have boxes and boxes of print images from our years of travel that I need to scan and preview on the computer to deem the print worthiness of each and every one. A daunting task for sure and one that could put Adorama and Costco in the black if I decide to print the majority of them. Now that I have fallen into the ease of digital, I find it so much easier than scanning through tons of old images.