As a photographer I spend a lot of time taking photos, editing, blogging, and posting to social media. To what end? Are my photos meant to be viewed for the 24-hour time period that Facebook displays them and then gone forever? The next day I scrounge up another photo to share and the cycle just continues.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy sharing my photographs online. But I often wonder if I am just adding to the noise? My desire to print my photos comes from my longing to create and share something tangible and special in this age of digital overload and the culture of "now" and "more."
Below are some reasons why I started printing my work, and why I believe you should start printing yours too.
1) It Makes You a Better Editor
When you print a photo and hold it in your hands, you start to notice details that you may have missed on your computer or phone screen (particularly if your screen could use a cleaning like mine). Dust spots in your sky do not make for an attractive printed image. You start realizing the benefit of zooming in close and panning around your image to inspect for problem areas while editing. You start paying closer attention to your histogram, and the list goes on. Check out my blog post that outlines my printing process for a more in-depth look at preparing your image for print. Especially before you print BIG.
2) It Makes You a Better Photographer
When you print, especially in a larger format, all the technical issues within your photographs will be amplified. Displaying our photographs online gives us a lot of leeway and sometimes this allows us to brush off our mistakes. Tiny screens simply don't allow for all the details, good or bad, to be revealed. Sometimes the detail is beautiful and sometimes it's problematic. Either way, it's going to show in the print.
The next time you pick up your camera, you'll be thinking "let's get this right in-camera." Because let's face it, fixing your problems in Photoshop is not always easy, or even possible, and honestly, it's just lazy photography (we've all done it)! Photoshop is an amazing tool and plenty of artists use it as a means to create amazing masterpieces, but if you're using it as a crutch for your everyday imagery; you're doing it wrong.
3) It Will Inspire You
Printing a photo, after careful selection, releases endorphins. I'm sure of it. All science aside, it makes me smile and feel good about the work I'm producing. Printing photos makes me want to go out and create more images that I can print large and share with others. Shoot, edit, print, repeat - that's a new cycle for me and I recommend it become a cycle for you too!
4) It Makes You Revisit Old Photos
If you're just getting started with printing your work and you have a huge catalog of images, it can be a lot of fun to go back into your archives. When you stumble upon a gem from five years ago and finally print it out, its satisfying. You begin to rediscover locations you've since neglected and it gets the creative wheels turning once again (see number three above).
5) It Brings Your Photos to Life - Forever
Before I started printing this is what my photography workflow looked like: take photos, edit photos, post to Facebook, Instagram, whatever, maybe blog it, and then poof - the images just went into oblivion - with the occasional online or art show print sale. That's a lot of hard work, patience, and preparation just to let your images sit on a hard drive. Print that baby out!
6) It’s Satisfying
This point echoes what I've been saying throughout this entire post. Seeing all of your hard work and dedication printed on a beautiful canvas or metal print just feels good. It's almost becoming an addiction for me... What can I print next? It's just so much fun. These are tangible works of art that you can give to relatives, sell to clients, or hang on your wall. What could be more satisfying than that?
We see pixels all...day...long. Mix it up and get your print on!
About Brady Cabe
My name is Brady Cabe, and I’m a nature and landscape photographer based on the Central Coast of California, with a passion for sharing. I’m a bird nerd, a seal whisperer, a half marathon finisher, poker shark, Milky Way fanatic, and lover of chocolate.