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We live in a digital world that has made our lives connected with technology like never before. Just about everything we do is somehow connected to a device or a computer. This has obviously made a great change in the way we view, share and send our images. As things get more and more portable, and with the birth of devices like iPad, most photographers store and show their work exclusively in a digital form. All these things are fantastic and make our lives so much easier, and I think it’s Chase Jarvis who said that it’s a great time to be a photographer because you can send pictures through “the air”. With all this in mind, there are still things that, fortunately, will never change, and by this I’m referring to the printed photograph. There are far fewer photographers who constantly print their work than there were 10-15 years ago. Other than the comfort technology gives us, it may also be due to financial reasons. It’s not as cheap as it used to be back in the day when everyone had a lab they could put up in the bathroom.
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But regardless of all that, there still is something special about the look and feel of a printed image. This entire art form, medium or whatever you want to call it was born as something entirely physical. The digital revolution has changed that and while it has truly been a blessing for our industry ,it has come at the cost of the real life feel of our best work.
However changed the times may be, I still believe in a few solid reasons why any photographer should go out and print, if not all their work, definitely the best of it.
As I mentioned earlier, there’s quite nothing like observing the details in a skillfully printed image. No matter how good today’s displays are ( and yes, I know the colors look amazing), when it comes to the graphic sense of photography ,paper wins hands down.
I’ve met a lot of photographers who show their work to clients on their iPads or via a digital slideshow Here’s the thing: when you go and meet with a potentially serious client, let’s say an advertising agency, you’re not going to get very popular if the whole staff is waiting to pass your tablet around so they can have a look at your work. Many photogs refer their clients to their websites. How can you know for sure that the potential buyer of your services has a calibrated monitor and sees the tones and highlights exactly as you intended them to be in post processing?
A printed portfolio(actually a few copies wouldn’t hurt) , removes that issue .Everyone knows exactly what they’re dealing with and instead of waiting around or taking valuable time your client may not have at that time, you could leave your book with them and pick it up in a later meeting. It also says a lot more about you then an iPad presentation .The way you arrange the images, the page layout and general aspect of the book can bring fair contribution to your success. Finally ,the people in the industry often prefer the printed version. Here’s an insight from Rob Haggart, former Director of Photography for Men;s Journal that comes to support good, old fashioned paper.
This is probably the oldest and most common use of printed photography throughout history. People have kept records of their families in albums well into the digital revolution. Nowadays, it would seem the only album families keep, or have made, is their weeding album. I believe this is a great example. Whenever your friends and family want to have a look at your wedding photos, you can just put the album on the coffee table instead of browsing through gigabytes and DVDs and this may very well have great impact on the quality of the time you spend sharing your beloved memories.
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Image credit: maigi / 123RF Stock Photo