As a professional photographer, I know how important it is to capture memories that will last a lifetime. However, it’s not just about taking the perfect shot – it’s also about printing it in a way that truly brings it to life. That’s why I always recommend that my clients have their photos printed professionally, rather than trying to print them on their own.
In this digital age, it’s easy to take a photo and immediately upload it to social media or upload it to the ever elusive cloud. But there’s something special about having a physical print of a cherished memory that is display on your wall to view every day or an album that you can touch, view and show off to guests whenever you want. When it comes to printing your photos, it may be tempting to take the DIY approach and print them yourself even if you are using a consumer or online printing service, but there are several reasons why it’s best to have them printed professionally through your photographer.
There are a number of reasons why printing professionally through your hired photographer is the best choice. First and foremost, your photographer will have a relationship with a professional printing company. These printers are not available to the public and only work with professional photographers, many requiring a business license to even open an account with them. These professional printers use the highest-quality materials and equipment to ensure that each photo, no matter what style, looks its best. Along with your professional photographer, their chosen printer has a wealth of experience in color profiling and color management, which is crucial when it comes to getting accurate colors in your prints.
One of the biggest factors to consider is color accuracy. Color profiling is the process of calibrating a monitor or printer to ensure that it displays colors accurately. Your computer or phone screen may display colors differently than a printer, which can lead to a huge discrepancy between what you see on your screen and what you get on paper. Professional printers have specialized software and equipment that allows them to match the colors in your photos as closely as possible. This ensures that you get a print that looks just like what you saw on your screen and what your professional photographer meticulously edited for you.
Your photographer uses a monitor made specifically for editing photos, showing a wide range of colors and using a device that color calibrates the monitor on a weekly basis to keep the monitor calibrated properly. They will take the information from their printer to create specific color profiles they use while editing. This assures that their monitor mimics the printers specific color profile along with the color profiles of different printing materials, which will effect the end result of the print( such as canvas, luster paper, fine art paper, metal).
For a professional printing service color profiling involves creating a set of instructions for the printer to follow in order to achieve accurate colors. These profiles are specific to each printer, paper type, and ink type. It is a complex process that requires specialized knowledge and equipment. Professional printers have the equipment and expertise to create accurate color profiles, which means that your prints will look just as good as they did on your photographers screen and yours as well
On the other hand, printing your photos on your own or using a cheap online printing service can result in significant color inaccuracies. Many low-cost printers use different color profiles than your professional photographer used, which can result in color shifts and inaccurate hues. This can be particularly frustrating if you were hoping to display your prints together with other photos in your home, as the colors may not match.
Another key factor to consider is print quality. Low-cost printing services often use cheap paper and ink, which can cause your prints to fade or discolor over time. Professional printers use high-quality paper and ink that are specifically designed for printing photos. This ensures that your prints will be vibrant, long-lasting, and resistant to fading. This is especially important if you’re printing photos that you plan to display prominently. The quality of the print can greatly impact how it looks in your home or office, this is where you want your art to look its best and to last.
One of the biggest advantages using professional printers other than the quality and expertise is that they have actual human experts, looking over each photo before they send it out. Cheap online consumer printers rarely offer color correction, when they do it is usually performed by automated software. A good professional print lab, takes the worry out of the process so you know that they catch any mistake before they ship it out to you. They have a level of experience that no computer program can match, which avoids the need for re-printing.We all know how asking a company to re-print a product over and over to just get it right is a frustrating process, why go through that hassle just to end up with an inferior product?
Professional printing labs use premium, high-end printers that create photo prints that are markedly different from consumer lab photo prints. For example, they don’t use standard inkjet printers, but instead use cutting-edge silver halide printers. They make these images using a digital images and developed using a chemical process that involves infusing the image right into the paper. This results in images that have more details, much more accurate and vibrant colors, and more depth in photos accentuating the shadows and highlights. These images are also sharper and less susceptible to fading or damage, which is commonly seen with inkjet photographic prints. They make Inkjet prints by just applying ink to the surface of the paper. Typical ink-jet printers have a very high acid base in their inks and papers which can lead to very quickly deteriorating prints, you get what you pay for!
By printing your portraits through your professional photographer they know exactly how to order your prints so that they last depending on how you will de displaying it. Many people do not alway put their photos behind museum-quality, anti-glare or UV-resistant glass. There are specific coatings and textures they can add to the image no matter what material they print it on so that it is protected properly. These protective coatings will shield your prints from every day wear and tear from touching or even light contact with the sun or day-light from being on a wall. Being able to enjoy the art you have invested in is important no matter how you display it.
While it may be tempting to save a few dollars and print your photos on your own, the risks of color inaccuracy and poor print quality are simply not worth it. Whether your looking at the extremely cheep options like CVS, Costco, and Walmart ( which a professional photographer would tell you to run far away from) or the not much better option of using an online printer like Snapfish or Shutterfly, you may be saving a buck but you are creating a bigger headache for the future. It is important to consider the long-term quality and accuracy of your prints.
Working with a professional photographer to print your portraits will give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your photos will look just as beautiful in 50 years as they do today. So next time you’re thinking about where to print your portraits, don’t let all of your money and effort go to waste by settling for cheap, low-quality prints – your memories will thank you for it. Trust in the professional photographer who took the images and let them handle the work they created for you from start to finish.
Follow along to view my blog post about Print lab photo comparisons!
If you live in the Northern Virginia Area ( Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Tyson's Corner, Great Falls, Falls Church, Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria, Landsdowne, Sterling, Leesburg, Herndon, Reston, McLean, Dulles, Ashburn, DC, or Southern Maryland) and are looking for a luxury photo experience contact Imprinted Photography. We will make sure that you receive a stress-free session beautiful art, so you can remember these moments forever.