THE STAR/DPA – If you have photos you love, at some point you might want to hold them in your hand rather than just staring at them on a screen.
You can take the images to a photo lab to have them printed, but once you start printing regularly, it’s usually a good idea to invest in your own printer.
“If you only occasionally need paper photos, it’s best to use a service provider,” explains photographer Wolfgang Elster.
Picking up prints from your local copy shop or other place where you can get instant prints is much cheaper than spending hundreds of dollars on printers, paper and ink.
When it comes to photo printing services, the size of the photo, the quality of the paper and the process used all determine the price and delivery time.
There are a wide variety of options available, from fine art prints (inkjet printing on fine art paper) to museum quality (printed on durable acid-free paper).
The alternative is to do it yourself.
“I recommend everyone to get their own printer sooner or later,” said photographer Rolf Walther. It also helps amateur photographers develop their skills.
Especially for photographers who exhibit their work or need to print large quantities, buying your own printer makes sense in terms of cost.
Compared to paying for a photo lab, “those who print themselves get the same price for about a third of the price and can determine their own print,” Elster said. However, it takes a bit of practice.
“You definitely need to address the topic of color management,” recommends Walther.
Color profiles are stored in the printer itself and can be edited or created using programs such as Photoshop. This is essential for colorfast prints.
Good inkjet printers are available for around $800. For A2 size or larger, plan to spend at least $1,300.
Then there are the paper and ink expenses, the former in particular being very expensive.
“There are an infinite number of types of paper, but the differences are not that big,” says Walther.
In order to acquire the necessary expertise, Elster recommends workshops or webinars. These are sometimes offered free of charge by printer manufacturers.
Getting some training is better to go it alone with your new printer.
“When you learn by doing, you’re just paying too much money,” he said.
Anyone who has mastered the techniques and technology of printing can then experience their full artistic freedom in photography, whether for exhibitions, competitions, murals for their own home or as gifts.