Should you print your own pictures?
I get asked this a lot from people that I know outside of the studio and even from customers at the studio. As much as I would like to say no to everyone, and instead you should bring your printing to me 🙂 , there are some things that you have to look at first before deciding if you want to go ahead and invest in a printer and do your own printing or you want to bring it to me 🙂
1 – Are you prepared to put out the money on a quality printer? Not just any printer will give you great prints. You need to get a printer that will do the job you want and that is to print photographs. Also, make sure that you get one that will print the sizes that you want. If you want to do 12×18’s make sure the printer will do that. To buy a 24″ printer is a lot of money for just a few large prints once in a while so make sure that you do really need that size.
2 – Have you considered the amount of ink that you will need to carry / buy? The printer may not be that much money but the ink can sure add up FAST! I have $2000 worth of ink at all times and many times a lot more so I do not run out. Plus the ink in the printer and you can have a lot tied up in ink.
3 – Are you prepared to stock a LOT of paper? Unfortunately you will be buying paper in packs of at least 25 sheets and this can be as high as $250 for a pack of larger sheets, so if you want a selection you will need a lot of packs. People call me and want to sell me packs of paper as they bought a pack of 25 and only used a couple sheets and have been storing it for years.
4 – Do you have the time to print yourself? Printing is time consuming and can take hours to get a complete order done and ready for the client. Doing nozzle checks, cleaning cycles all take time.
5 – Are you good at colors and adjusting your computer. If not then stay away as printing involves hours of monitor balancing and profile tweaking to get the best prints.
6 – Do you mind wasting prints? Adjusting, misprints, head checks, etc take a lot of paper and costs money. If you are printing as a hobby this is just part of the hobby (a hobby I was told is something that costs money and you cannot expect to make money on it, this can be true with printing)
7 – Are you going to print enough? Leaving your printer idle for more than a few days can cause issues with clogged nozzles and can cost money to run cleaning cycles or even to have repaired.
Once you have answered these questions you will be ready to decide. Printing can be a lot of fun, “like working in a darkroom in the OLD days” (Love that saying 🙂 ) it can be very enjoyable AND no chemicals to mix or smell, just make sure that you know the costs, both financial and time.
If you want to try your hand at printing I am offering a printing course in the New Year so you can work on an image then print it yourself, this way you get to see what is involved in the printing.