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Thread: Questions on photo printing - options and why?

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    Questions on photo printing - options and why?

    I'm not new to the photography world by any means, but only recently have I started to move into areas where I will need significant numbers of prints, and I've run into a question. If this is something obvious, please don't laugh.

    So far, I've given sets of my work to friends who have reviewed and commented on it. They also have it hung on display, which is an even better comment. What I've given them have been standard photographic prints from my usual lab. I see lots of discussion here regarding having your work printed by other processes - giclee', other "fine art" processes, etc. Here's where i'm wondering - what is the reason, benefit, whatever, for having it printed that way versus a photo lab and traditional photographic processes?

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    Re: Questions on photo printing - options and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by KMIller View Post
    I'm not new to the photography world by any means, but only recently have I started to move into areas where I will need significant numbers of prints, and I've run into a question. If this is something obvious, please don't laugh.

    So far, I've given sets of my work to friends who have reviewed and commented on it. They also have it hung on display, which is an even better comment. What I've given them have been standard photographic prints from my usual lab. I see lots of discussion here regarding having your work printed by other processes - giclee', other "fine art" processes, etc. Here's where i'm wondering - what is the reason, benefit, whatever, for having it printed that way versus a photo lab and traditional photographic processes?
    Gliceť is just a fancy name for inkjet, but usually refers to inkjet prints printed on some sort of watercolor or other fine art paper with inks that are more or less light stable. The prints from your photo lab are likely to be digitally exposed chemically developed prints that are considered to be photographic prints. With those prints you're pretty much limited to gloss, matte, semi-matte and luster surfaces. With inkjet prints you have all those plus a whole array of watercolor, matte, textured, canvas and pretty much any type of surface you might ever want available. THAT'S why people choose that type of printing - for the variety, and that you can easily print those at your home or studio without the need for a lab.

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    Senior Member DougDolde's Avatar
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    Re: Questions on photo printing - options and why?

    I think no one can answer this for you. Personally I like making my own prints. I'm doing mostly canvas wraps and printing with my HP Designjet Z5200. If you don't make your own how can you learn to make a good print ?

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    Re: Questions on photo printing - options and why?

    Variety. It's taking advantage of technology and new processes to offer clients more options in terms of texture, thickness, material, longevity, and aesthetic. It's not really about which is better overall, rather it's which is better suited for the client given his/her purpose and preference.

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    Senior Member bensonga's Avatar
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    Re: Questions on photo printing - options and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    Personally I like making my own prints.
    I really enjoy making my own prints too and I have been doing so for over 35 years, first in a traditional wet darkroom and now in a "digital darkroom" using pigment inkjet printers (currently the Epson P800). I haven't had a print made by a photo lab for so long and can't even remember the last time. It was at least 20+ years ago, since I did not make color prints in the darkroom, only B&W prints.

    As others have said, one of the advantages of making your own prints with modern pigment inkjet printers is the wide array of fine art papers available. Differences in paper (fine art matte, Baryta, gloss etc) can really change the look and feel of a print. This is the case for color prints, but especially for B&W prints.

    For me, the process of making my own prints is at least as satisfying (perhaps even more so) than the experience of taking the photo itself. That's one reason I offer to make prints for all my friends at no expense to them. It is the final step in the photographic process. Of course, there was a certain "magic" to making traditional silver gelatin prints in the darkroom that digital inkjet printing can't replicate, but holding that final inkjet print in my hands now is every bit as satisfying, knowing I created it myself.

    Several of my friends who were initially skeptical re learning to make their own prints are now avid printers. I think if you give it a try, you will enjoy it too.

    Gary
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    Re: Questions on photo printing - options and why?

    Two issues are crossed here: lab versus home, and traditional photo paper prints versus inkjet prints. There are labs that do the latter, such as AmericanFrame.com (yes, they print and will print without a frame order), Bayphoto.com and local shops in large cities. So you can try a few prints without having to commit to a home inkjet printer.

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