I have a confession to make.
I've been an amateur photographer for some time now and I've published a lot of pictures, but I've always shied away from printing them. I think this has to do with bad experiences I had with printing family photos. They never looked quite right. Photos looked fine on my computer screen and when I printed them on my printer at home, the results where fine too. But whenever I wanted to have a family album printed at a printing service the results were mediocre to very bad. I thought that I was doing something very wrong and stopped printing my photos, apart from the occasional family photo on my home printer.
Fortunately I came to my senses and decided to try and figure out how to print great photos. I bought a calibrating set and calibrated my monitor to industry standards. After calibration I was happy to see that my monitor's previous profile had been very close to the newly calibrated profile.
I learned that it's very important to choose the right printing service. I opted for a printing service that primarily serves to photography businesses, but accepts private individuals too. Such a printing service is more expensive, but it's their business to produce high quality prints. Their business clients won't accept mediocre quality.
When I got back the results of my first order of prints from a premium printing service, I was blown away. The quality was impeccable! The colors were so rich and the paper was oh so nice.
Printed photos have more soul. A strong image on a computer screen will become even more powerful when printed. I assure you, that you will see your photos in a whole different light (pun intended :-) )
You can hang your favorite photos on the wall and look at them whenever you like. You can show them off to friends and family without opening your laptop or tablet. Photos are great conversation starters.
I'm glad that I put some effort in learning how to print quality photos. Here are some tips that might help you print quality photos too:
- Printing services geared towards private individuals very often adjust the brightness and colors of photos to produce better results for their customers. This will ruin your hard work if you've perfected your photo in Photoshop or Lightroom.
- Printing services aimed at professionals are more expensive but will definitely give you better results. (And they won't tinker with your photos.)
- Don't try to save money on the photography paper that is used. High quality paper costs more, but is very pleasing to the eye. Remember, you're printing for eternity!
- If you want to print black-and-white photos, be sure to use a printing service that offers real black-and-white printing. If you don't, you will almost certainly receive prints with a slight color cast. You'll really want to avoid that.
These were my printing tips. I hope these tips will come in handy when you'll start printing your own photos, if you don't already.