Photographers, Why Aren’t We Printing Our Photos Anymore?


There are several reasons why you should be printing your photos – we could literally sit here for most of the morning and create a list longer than your arm. But we won't.

We are all immersed in the digital age, well and truly. This means we're also sharing photos – from professional shots to over-filtered selfies, it doesn't matter – my point is that we're taking more pictures than ever and they're displayed everywhere for the world to see.

This is amazing. Technology has brought us closer together and the world is getting smaller (though to me, it still feels huge).

Turns out we're doing this so much so that we're switched onto “autopilot” mode, and forgetting all about actually holding a printed photograph. It's not just millennials guilty of being 100% online, all the time – those of us that grew up in the film era aren't doing much of the printing stuff either.

I'll hold my hands up to this before we get started. I haven't printed a photo (aside from sending one to my relatives every 6 months) since…longer than I can remember. Let's get into some reasons why you should get yourself some paper and print! (And don't forget to take a look at our rundown on the best photo printer for photographers too).

why you should be printing your photos
Image by Pexels

Here's Why you Should be Printing your Photos

The Reliability of Technology (i.e. your computer's hardware)

I'd like to assume we're all old enough and wise enough to realize that solely relying on your computer's hard drive to store your photos isn't a smart move. Invariably, computers go wrong. They fail, they get damaged, they get orange juice poured into them my a toddler.

Get your images backed up both on an external USB drive (HDD or SSD) and in the cloud – there are so many ways to back up your images, it's kinda (very) silly not to. With that said, my point is that why not print out some of your favorites?

This way they're available for you to look at whenever you feel like it (no digital screens to stare at and no loading time either). Unless you lose them or some other unfortunate accident, they're pretty safe.

As an Editor, you'll Only Get Better

Another great reason why you should be printing your photos is that physically holding an image can offer up details you may have missed on the screen. This could be finer quality details, the light or even the whole composition?

If you've got dust spots on your image, in print, they'll stick out like a sore thumb – and they won't look good. This will teach you to take more care and pay attention to your editing (and camera maintenance) and the finer details.

Amazingly, You'll Actually Become a Better Photographer

Can't say fairer than that? A better photographer…how come?

Small screens allow for big images to have details “hidden” that we might consider problematic once printed. This means that if we're in the practice of printing, we can see our mistakes straight-up. Sounds torturous, doesn't it?

Being aware of this will allow you stop and think for a moment “get it right in-camera” because doing it in post production isn't really the answer no is it? Being skilled in Photoshop helps, I won't deny that, but technique should be at the forefront of your photography.

It Brings your Photos Back to Life!

This is really very true. When you're holding an image in your hand you just feel a sense of pinching the memory between your fingers ever so carefully – it makes one mindful of what they're holding and what the photograph means.

As a photo captures that single moment in time, holding it in paper form really feels quite special. After all, if you're been out on locations for an entire long hard day or night, you want something to show for it – not just a digital image floating around on your various computer drives….

Get it printed and notice the difference in satisfaction emerge.

why you should be printing your photos
Image by Kaboompics

Inspiration – Especially When yours is Drying Up

When looking back over old photos you suddenly decide to print out, you'll notice perhaps what you could do better OR, you may even notice what elements of the image you love and therefore could apply to a totally different upcoming photoshoot you have in mind.

Inspiration doesn't only come from books, magazines and the internet – sometimes it's closer to home than you think…

It just feels awesome to have printed images in your hands

For the Family

Sharing a ‘story' of your family – If you've got kids (of even if you don't) having printed photos hung up around the home brings a sense of excitement and happiness as they're something familiar and happy to look at each day.

Sometimes, images of your favorite holiday destinations, your pets, flowers & plants or even dear loved ones, can bring about a sense of something really emotional inside.

Create a home filled with happy memories on the walls – On from the previous point, photos are memories and having them as reminders can often encourage us, bring us strength for difficult times or just relax and calm us because just for a moment, we're taken off somewhere…

Embarrassing the heck out of the kids – I look awesome in all my photos as a child and teen…said no one, ever! Having photos around the home can create some fun and silliness. For those parents out there, candid images they took of their child doing something they shouldn't have been can be a load of fun!

Unfortunate sunburn on vacation usually gets a bit of mileage too.

why you should be printing your photos
Image by Vladyslav Dukhin

Further Resources

Further Learning

Learning your camera craft and how to push your creativity is really the key with heading towards prints that you can be proud of.
This Guide: The Creativity Catalogue, will help make sure skills continue to grow beyond the basics and your make sure your limits are pushed!

About Author

Russell is a self-taught photographer who loves travel and capturing life as it unfolds. Having lived in the far east for a few years with some long term travel, this catalyzed his new-found passion for photography.
Lifestyle, Food, and Event Photography are areas he enjoys most.

Any suggestions on places to get good prints at? Local store (target/cvs/walgreens) photos suck, I want images like your first photo you posted of him holding the picture of the stream/field.

Check your local camera store if you still have one. If not, B&H, adorama, Mpix, nations Photo Lab are all good. Make sure your monitor is calibrated so what you see on the screen is what you are going to get back from the printer.

I still print photos & have been now for the last 12 months since I bought an Epsom 1430 Artisan, & I love it. Prints up to A3 so now I have control over adjustments & quality. I mainly use it for b&w prints & colour for my daughter who’s studying Photography at school.

Get the Canon Selphy C1200. We did a couple of weeks ago and have printed more photos since than we have in the last decade. 4×6 and the quality is just fantastic.

Very few of us can get what we see on the screen to print on paper. Many photographers don’t know how the camera works with the editing software and how that works with the printing software and hardware.
Its isn’t really as hard as it looks and it doesn’t take much of a learning curve, but most photographers are looking for a recipe and there is no set recipe for every image.
The key to getting a good print is to learn how calibration, gamuts and profiles work and how to edit within those parameters. If you don’t do that you’ll never get a wysiwig print. You can have a stunning image on your monitor, but if you don’t know the above, you can’t guarantee how it will look on another monitor let alone on paper.

Would love suggestions on how / where to print. I have done everything from framed photos on the wall to beautifully mounted albums. Would love ideas on which formats to print in and best places to print.

Love this. I write about it a lot on my blog — and I practice what I preach too. In fact, I have already begun two more future blogs on printing photos that are sitting in draft mode (to allow a bit more time in between other posts). So important.

I recently photographed a wedding using umbrellas and taking great care to produce properly exposed pics. I usually photograph in raw and edit to printer colorspace I usually get great pics using inkjets or dyesubs .I do not use srgb.The bride wanted to see the pics in a hurryI gave it to her in adobe rgb.It looks terrible on her portable devices (blown out),She is now saying her cell phone takes better pics than I did She never wanted prints!!

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