How to Display your Photography in Print

August 17, 2015

Photography Prints are the Ultimate Expression of a Creative Work

Working in the Commercial photography field as I do, one of the few drawbacks for me is that I deliver so much of my work as digital files. Therefore, I rarely get to see the finished work in print - let alone have any control or input once the digital file has been delivered. Yet "the print" remains the ultimate expression of the creative work and, contrary to what most people would expect, there is whole world of skill, knowledge and expertise (and artistry) required to convert even the best digital file into a superb print and the digital file itself will need to be adjusted to suit the intended output. There are many technical steps and artistic decisions to make. Mistakes at this point can render any beautiful digital image dull, boring or flat. I spent 4 years of formal photographic study and a very significant proportion of that time was devoted to the skills of print making. I'm still learning!

So Many Choices and Decisions

Some (by no means all) of these choices are;

  • Is my computer monitor correctly calibrated for colour and brightness. If not, what you see on your screen is very unlikely to be replicated in print.
  • What archival qualities are needed? Some prints won't stand the test of time.
  • How will the choice of photo paper influence the final print colour and tonal values (papers have their own varying colour gamuts and colour casts while other papers will block the shadow area or tend to "blow-out" the highlights)? Paper choices are many and varied from ultra high gloss fujiflex to metallic, regular gloss, satin, matte and a bewildering array of specialist art papers. Each type will influence the look and feel of the image differently.
  • How much do I sharpen the image?
  • Which Photo Lab should I use (they vary from cheap supermarket shop outlets through to the highly specialised Pro labs using the best (and most expensive technology).
  • Which photo process is best - (broadly; traditional "wet" chemical process or often nowadays digital pigment ink Moonrise over Miami BeachMoonrise over Miami BeachProfessional Photography Print of Moonrise over the ocean taken at the south end of Miami Beach on the Gold Coast Queensland options).

Consult A Professional

I guess what I am saying here is that if you want a seriously good print designed to last for generations and impress....then for goodness sake, please get a professional involved or at the very least, go and consult with a pro photo lab (I mean keep away from any in shopping centres for the good stuff). You might pay a little more but believe me, any extra cost will be worth it! We offer free advice (within reason) to all our clients wishing to print from our files. Ultimately, we have a vested interest in ensuring our clients  get top quality results.

We have used Pixel Perfect in Chippendale now for more than 10 years and have never been disappointed. There are other great labs but you won't go wrong if you start here. They are one of the best! Try www.pixelperfect.com.au.

What About Mounting and Framing?

I haven't even mentioned framing and mounting choices...that's another world to explore so "subscibe" for my next blog!