This article will be discussing printing benefits in collaboration with a special guest from Chroma Art Studio. They are the one and only certified ILFORD Printing Partner Globally providing digital printing and art reproduction service based in Penang.
I have been in the photography industry long enough to constantly have questions and doubt or what I am doing. The most frequent questions that would pop up in my brain are "Where does my creative process end?" and "How long do my photos get to live?". To answer that, let's take a broad look at the common creative cycle of most photographers these days. We spend most of our time to shoot, edit, share and repeat hoping that one of our photos would be viral enough to live longer than others. To a certain extend, we get tired of doing it when our efforts are constantly flush down the drain especially when a photo doesn't even "live" past a 48 hours mark. This has happen enough times to cause self doubt. As true as this may get, most of these insecurities are contribution of the "digital culture" where there are just way too many contents online to shorten the age of each content. To overcome that, we spend more and more time snapping irrelevant photographs just to produce enough contents to be on top of one another. So the ultimate question is where does this end? It never will unless you give up chasing it.
The true satisfaction from photography I believe comes from appreciating your own product for a longer period of time. Only through prints we are able to prolong the life span of these photographs, share it to the people we care and have some laughters about it. Doesn't it sounds more meaningful to you in a way than having to chase for the endless engagement over the internet? I could probably spend a whole day explaining how beautiful this experience is but let us take a look at what are the other benefits you get when you get your photos product printed.
1) Becoming a better editor
A lot more details will be brought out when photographs are printed. Dust spots, Chromatic Abberation, digital artifact from over sharpening or exaggerated colour adjustments that are out of colour gamut will show up in prints even though you usually don't see them on your average computer display. From there you will learn how to properly retouch your photos in post to obtain a better print next time. Always remember prints don't lie.
2) Becoming a better photographer
When you print your photographs large, all technical issues with your photographs will be amplified. Imagine looking at a 36" print and realise the primary subject is out of focus. How disastrous would that be and thought how could I miss that. It is not entirely your fault as softwares by default do not display our images at 100% and to make things worse viewing it at a 14" computer screen tends to hide all this crucial information away. Knowing this, the next time you pick up your camera, you will definitely be more alert and get the technical stuffs right in the camera itself.
3) Serves as an inspiration
Believe it or not, the careful photo selection process before printing releases enough endorphins to keep us feeling positive and happy for a while. Even if it doesn't releases endorphins, at the very least it makes you feel inspired from our previous creativity or even to revisit location that you have neglected just to re-create more quality images to be printed and hang on your wall. There is just so much satisfaction out from this process.
4) Relive past memories.
I can guarantee you when you are scrolling through your archived images while looking for something to print, there will definitely be images that you are particularly attached to and have a special place in your heart. I don't know about you guys but I am a big fan of revisiting old images whenever possible as it refreshes my mind and gives me a taste of "new" perspectives that I might have forgotten. It's crazy to realise how we are able to capture a certain moment or compose something in a certain way which we have now forgo. Also if you don't leverage printing as an excuse to go through your old photos in your hard drive, I think you will never find any better excuse to do it anymore.
Bonus tips to prepare for printing:
1) Check for Chromatic Aberration (easily removable them in adobe camera raw/lightroom)
2) Check for sensor dust (Zoom in 100% on your photos and check every part for it)
3) Do not oversharpen your photos (Keep your sharpening minimal or none at all)
4) Moderate colour adjustments (Remain calm with your colour sliders)
5) Calibrate your screen (This is subjective but it would be great to get it done)