Why do we need prints?

Not that long ago we took analogue photos, we thought about composition and were careful before pressing the shutter. We brought our film to a photo lab, where they were developed, we picked them up later and we glued them in a book. The best pictures you ordered in poster size and found a nice place for them on your wall.


This excitement and waiting is long gone. We live in the digital age. We make photos with our phone and see results immediately. Sometimes, on special occasions, we create photo-books online. But mostly photos are only shared via social media. Phones are rarely backup-ed and are often lost or damaged and if you don’t have a good backup strategy, your images will never be seen again….


Although professional photographers (most of the time) don’t loose their photos because they create backups on one, two or even three different devices, they often also don’t make prints anymore. Almost every photographer mails or transfer his/hers photo’s to their client, so no printing is involved.


On many photography shows there are a lot of printing companies and I often wonder; why? I found the answer in a magazine about printing I received on one of those shows and are happy to share with you. It really got me thinking.


1. Prints are (almost) forever; in the right circumstances a good inkjet print will hold for over 100 years. They don’t get lost or damaged when your harddisk crashes and you don’t have to check them regularly like digital photos on drives, which can get corrupted or fail as the years go by, a lot of people don’t know that a drive has to be used every once in a while because otherwise they will loose information.
2. Quality; a large print has more impact then you computer monitor will ever have. A monitor is only a certain size, you can of course zoom in but seeing a print in the right composition and with full detail blown up to a „proper” size is an experience that always wows me.
3. Prints present; customers are mostly more impressed by a printed portfolio than some files on a computer or iPad. Prints you cannot only see better, hold in the light, look at it from a different angle, but you can also feel them, touch them and even smell them. Different papers have different characters. Prints have more emotion than a digital file. And you cannot swipe a print for the next. A print demands attention. You also set yourself apart from the competition by showing your prints the way there were meant to be, on paper.
4. Endproduct; with digital files you are always depending on the quality of the display the client uses, and trust me they are a LOT worse than what you use to retouch and show. A print is a finished product, meaning in the right light, it will look exactly the way you intended it. Your work/art will not be destroyed by viewing it on an uncalibrated monitor.


So do yourself a favor and check your archives. Look for your very best pictures. Learn about different kinds of paper and passe-partouts or framing. Hang them next to your monitor, sit back and enjoy the print. Quiet a difference right?





Thanks to PF magazine

©Annewiek Doorhof