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Prints

The why, how, and what of printing your photos

flat lay of photo print products

Do you print your images? Do you ever print off all of the images from a photo session or some of the images stored on your phone? Or are they all floating around on the internet, or stored on the hard drive of your dying computer?I know that right now, digital is all you might feel you need, but I’m going to talk a little bit about why and how and what kind of prints you might want to print.

Why you should print your images:

My grandma passed away unexpectedly a couple of years ago. When she died, my mom and aunt had to clean out her home and my great grandma’s home. The thing that took the longest was going through all of the pictures. Figuring out who was who and reminiscing about what had been happening in those images. All the stories that came along with those pictures, filled us up with remembering the ones we loved and had lost. I look at pictures of my 6 year old when she was just an hours old baby and my heart aches a little at how tiny she once was. How did she change so quickly? Why is it so hard to remember her little baby face when I look at her beautiful big girl face? Flipping through those images is much easier and more likely to happen when I had an actual copy of the image. I can’t remember the last time I scrolled and clicked through all of the images stored on my external hard drive, can you?

collage of flatlay of photo prints and products

How you should print your images:

Now there are a few different ways you can print your images. Here are a few options from cheapest/lowest quality to heirloom pieces that will last for years.

1. costco/walgreens/chatbooks/shutterfly/etc

Now, before I started doing photography, I was an avid costco prints person. I’d upload all the images there and print off a bunch and stick them in frames. Or I would upload them to shutterfly when they had one of their free album sales and order and album or two. I still get chatbooks printed of all my personal instagram images because I want to have a physical copy of those images and those words, and sometimes cheap is fine! But the quality doesn’t always convey the beauty and emotion in the images because they print very pixelated or the coloring is different than what it was in the original digital image.

2. Mpix/Adorama

These are pro quality labs for consumers. They have more print options and the quality of the prints is noticeably better and will look much closer to the original digital image. These are great if you don’t want to print through your photographer but want quality images, albums, and canvases.

3. Professional Print Labs

These are what you’ll receive if you print through your photographer or order through their online gallery. I use a few different labs, but there is one that I use the most. When you print through a pro lab, you’re going to have a guarantee on quality from your photographer. If the print arrives and it looks off and nothing like what the digital image looked like, then they are going to continue to print it in order for it to look how it should. There are also calibration machines photographers can use to make sure that what they see on the screen is what will be printed by the lab. The quality is also going to be higher. The chemicals used to print at places like costco and walgreens are not necessarily monitored and maintained correctly. At a pro print lab, that’s their job. I’ve found that my prints from Costco/Walgreens/etc tend to be darker and the colors less vibrant than when I get them printed at my pro lab.

collage of flat lays of photos and print products

What kinds of prints should I order?

This entirely depends on what you want to do with them. Do you want them in an album? It looks so nice to have an album full of beautiful images from a session. Or do you want to hang them in your home? My go to print is a fine art print (basically images printed on watercolor paper) if I’m framing them. I had a client who only ordered canvases because she liked not having to deal with frames. My parents have a metal print in their home and it is so bright and beautiful in the best ways possible. Talk to your photographer about how you want to use the images in your home and they will help guide you and teach you about all the different print options out there.

So tell me! Do you print your images?

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  1. Kandi says:

    YES, to every singe wore you wrote!! It saddens me this is the most photographed generation and least amount of prints! Keep educating and getting the word out there!

  2. Christie says:

    Great tips!! And I love how you printed with the white borders too!!

  3. Emily says:

    Love this! I’m writing a similar blog now and I even bought prints from walmart – they’re awful!

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