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Monday, 06 April 2009


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Isn't printing the whole point? Much as I like the immediacy of on-screen, I still think in terms of a paper output.

I really hate to be a quibbler, but I'm not at all sure if you're asking how often in terms of time or in terms of frames.

Not the same. I am not printing most frames, but I'm printing a lot of the time.

pax / cofused Ctein

A print is the raison d’etre of photography.

Over the past few years, I have hardly printed anything out at all, but now with a baby, I'm printing to make physical albums to send to family.

I make some prints. Moreso now I make photo books. I can pick and choose what I want, edit them a bit (straighten, lighten, crop), and then print them in MY books. I make mine through Apple and iPhoto, but there are lots of other book production services for Macs and PCs.

I'm an amateur, will never be a pro. Professionally I'm a mathemagician/programmer. Regardless, my photos are important to me. Printing them adds permanence to them.

I print photos all the time. For me, it just isn't a photograph if it isn't printed - even just as a 6x4, run off at an instant photo machine.

Aside from special-purpose stuff (usually intended to illustrate some point in an internet conversation) I don't even post photos to the web if I haven't printed them (and liked the print). If it isn't good enough to print then why would I want anyone to see it?


One word: Photobooks! Ever since I discovered Blurb, I have been making Photobooks, and am now scanning my slides to make books of trips done over the past 20 years.

I interpreted the question literally; how often do you print your photographs? (Not what percentage of your photographs do you print.) My own answer was "frequently".

But this poll, and the following 3Mp camera post, establish position for the next logical question: What is the standard destination of today's digital photo droppings: the Internet or paper?

In anticipation that this will be Mike's next post, or at least coming shortly, my answer will be, "I don't know." or at least "It depends." The advent of digital photography has attracted an enormous population of brand new keyboard-oriented, Internet-oriented, camera owners into photography. The honest response from this group wold likely be that the Web, or at least electronic sharing, is the primary destination for their images.

This response, however, might be deceptive. Most commercial photographers and photographic artists would definitely respond that various forms of printing remain the destinations for their work. Even many casual family snappers with those Kodak Easy Shares might say that their local big-box store prints their snaps and that they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with electronically sharing their snaps.

So the answer to the expected next question is it depends on who you ask and how you ask.

well if i had the budget/better printer i would be printing more! … sigh

Another quibble. What exactly do you mean by how often? More often than you would have with film or less often? Or do you mean simply frequently vs. infrequently.

Depending on the meaning, the answers could be a measure of say, the number of times a year respondents get their digital files printed. It would be interesting to find out if we've all switched to fewer trips to the printers with more prints being made on each trip relative to our film days.

Or it could be a measure of the proportion of total frames to keepers, in the old film/paper parlance. I would venture to guess that this ratio has increased for all of us(cf. Ctein's article yesterday) so the comparision is meaningless.

Or do we make more exposures per scene/setup now than before, and even discounting for that effect, has digital made us more selective in our decisions to print?

For me, a first-class photograph is one that is worth printing. And a print is the most important stage of a photograph's lifecycle.

I have a running argument about this with my dad. He sees his photos as best presented electronically. I keep stressing how printing connects you to the tradition of the art; and also that it connects you to the future through its relative permanence. So far, though, no impact.

I print occasionally, mostly family stuff for family members that want something tangible. I also print my best shots to have hardcopy backup, and enlarge up to A4 some of them to hang them on the wall.

I would print more for myself but I'm not knowledgeable enough to make the prints resemble closely enough what's on the screen - and that is the whole point of printing to me. Somehow my expectation that a photo printer with a correctly selected profile, paper, etc. would do that wasn't fulfilled.

I don't often have BIG prints made from my digital pictures - but I do have one of those small Canon dye-sub printers which I use to churn out 6x4 prints.

I think it's much nicer to look at prints than to squint at the back of a camera or look at them on the computer, and a lot easier to show your friends!

Silly me, I guess that even though I am a solid amateur, when I press the shutter it is the final print that I see, not a web post. I just never thought of it any other way.
Probably old school but my "in the box" thinking has only considered "pre-visualization " with regard to the print output. Guess I'm just old. I do have to admit that I do enjoy these digital contact sheets.

I use moo.com to make small photo cards. Once every six months or so. However, I would not want to use less resolution because I like knowing that I could print my photos a bit larger than 8X10's someday.

I make prints once or twice a year for gifts, or if I get one particularly good shot on vacation or something. Otherwise, almost never.

I find it interesting that many people seem to view the print as being the final object of photography.

For me its capturing a moment (of beauty/interest/emotion ... whatever). I get excited when I think I've captured something special, and ecstatic when I see the result was as is expected. After that I sort of lose interest - I'll show others my pictures by what is the most efficient way possible (which is usually electronic).

While I certainly appreciate a fine quality print, I just can't get enthusiastic about making them.



I'm in the "I could care less about paper prints" camp. I've only done it a few times for exhibitions and if the costs hadn't been covered I would never even consider doing it.

Paper print has little or no value to me and I have trouble understanding comments such as the one above by John A. Stovall: "A print is the raison d’etre of photography." I would argue the raison d'etre, if you wish to go that way, is an image. No matter what the form it acquires.

Yes, a fine print on quality paper can be amazing to look at but ultimately what I care about is the image, not the paper or ink or Dmax or...

I chose frequently, because we have one of those Selphy CP510 printers to print all the family pictures. It feels a bit like 'now and then' too, relative to the print-the-whole-roll days. They're not the best print quality, but it is so much fun to print some pictures.

The answer would be 'virtually never' if I have to count the larger than postcard I've done the last couple of years. I wish I did more of those.

I'm with Chris T. - a baby has gotten me to print more. As an added bonus, I throw in a few of mine with every print order, so it's not just the baby shots.

And I send away for all my prints, either Fotki or Adoramapix. Adorama has frequent sales, including a lot of $4.95 16x20s. I have neither the time, the money, nor the patience to print at home.

I print every single image that makes it past the vetting process. So far, that number is in the few hundreds. The reason is that I want people to see what I see, not what their unprofiled monitors and bad ambient lights show them.

Web images are great for showing your work to a varied and wide-ranging (geographically) audience, but only with the understanding that these digitized images are representations only, and mediocre ones at that.

I've sold hundreds of prints over the past few years - many to people who saw my work online - and the one resounding comment I've heard over and over is that the prints are so much nicer looking than their web counterparts.

mike, did you make your categories purposefully vague?
you should have had the options be, "sometimes, kinda, sorta, a little and maybe".=)
I print when I have something worth printing. which is, you know, every once in a while.

I like having the prints - whether handled by a company like Mpix or produced on my HP printer at home - but the complications are (1) cost and (2) storage space. I don't have the money for casual printing (snaps) and I don't have the storage space for archiving physical prints.

I think of my situation as being not unlike that of print-on-demand presses - there's not much reason to produce physical prints unless there is a need for them.

(Back in the days when I was using film, part of the reason I switched from print to slide film was this same combination of cost and storage space; going digital hasn't changed that.)

That said, I do have mixed feelings about my failure to have hard-copy proofs; as a historian by training, I'm well aware of the vulnerability of digital-only images to being lost to future generations. A print doesn't require special technology to view, only eyeballs.

I fall solidly into the infrequent printer camp. For those that deride electronic viewing because they're used to seeing small heavily compressed jpegs on the web, I'd like to suggest you try viewing your photos on a large HD television. Most newer plasma and LCD screens have SD slots or USB ports on the side for just that purpose. My grandfather's 60" plasma is magnificent!

I think you should have qualified your question with a qualifier to the respondants age. My guess is that most of us who grew up in a darkroom are going to see a print as the end to the photographic process wheras those who are " digital babies" no pun or slight intended, will be very happy with images on a monitor.

I print, both digital files and from negative/transparency, only when I have an image or images I am happy with or wish to take further.

I doubt I print more or less because of digital, I have pretty much always edited my film work from contact sheets.

I think you should have qualified your question with a qualifier to the respondants age.

I'll play. I'm 39. Began when I was 10, back in 1980, with a 110 camera. Never did any of my own developing, as I was working with slides by the time I was old enough to be trusted with the darkroom chemicals. Switched to digital in 2003.

As I said above, I very much like prints and their archival stability, but lack the money and room to produce and store them.

The more I print the more I want to shoot. Digital filing is just not fun.

I Print reasonably frequently, Its always easier to take an album full of pics somewhere than take a CD and hope like heck it will play on the DVD player where ever i am... Also i have 3 or 4 different services i use depending on what im doing... one outfit for big prints, one for small prints in big batches and another for doing photobooks/canvas prints...

My guess is that most of us who grew up in a darkroom are going to see a print as the end to the photographic process

Well I'm a few days short of 50, and spent much of my younger days in the darkroom. But even then, long before digital, having produced a print I kinda got a "now what?" feeling.

Running, as I did, a University Photo Society, I was involved in a fair share of exhibitions etc., and looking back at it now - what an enormous amount of effort to show your work to a few hundred (if you were lucky) people.

No, for me digital meant freedom from the side of photography I liked the least. I was only to happy to turn off the red light for the last time.



I own a Epson 9880 and a wack of media. It is supposed to be a business but it is more for my own use. I also BTW have a paper & ink addiction too. I find that it is much easier to demonstrate technique with a print. Buy glass/bodies etc but in the end the print tells all and owning a wide bed and learning how to produce images changed my workflow and made me a much better photographer.

I like prints.

I'm probably old.

I have just had a box made up to hold some nice small prints because I like to be able to pass around a box of prints rather than look at a TV screen. I don't care if they get put back in a different order:)

I have taken a few videos of the the children that have been watched either once or never.



No clarification needed.

When I shoot film, I print--maybe--an average of one or two frames per 36 exposure roll of 35mm film. That's probably a high estimate. When I shoot digital, I print a higher percentage of the images downloaded. 'Course I've already edited my photos in the camera and deleted the crappiest of the crappy pictures.

A local camera store (now out of business) had a sign, "It's not a photograph until it's printed."

I rarely make prints from digital files but I rarely made prints from negs or slides either. I would usually just get contact sheets and then stick them in the closet. Slides as well. I still have tons of crap from years ago that I haven't gone through. I don't think "a print" is the "raison d'etre" of photography as someone else indicated. That's a very subjective comment.

My wife scrapbooks. I print 4x6s all the time.

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