The Best Gift a Photographer Can Give is a Print; And Here’s How You Can Do it Correctly.

The absolute best thing that any photographer can do to their images is bring it into the real world via a print.

As the Editor in Chief of the Phoblographer, we get a bunch of submissions from photographers for us to feature their work–and unfortunately I think that one of the problems for many photographers is the fact that we’re not all using the same screens. To that end, all of our images look different depending on a number of factors that are almost completely out of control. Some of those factors include the lighting around the screen that your photos are being viewed on, the screen that it’s being viewed on, etc. But with prints, there’s a pretty different story.

Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored blog post from Datacolor, but all based on EIC Chris Gampat’s real life experiences with testing cameras.

First off, I genuinely believe that the ultimate stamp of approval that a photographer can have on their own images is a print. Instagram is fleeting. Your website and the content there is fleeting. But a print? You’ll need to actively destroy a print for it to disappear. Of course, you probably don’t want to do that. In fact, I’m sure that most of you who started a few years ago don’t know a whole lot about printing except for what you get from a store like Costco, WalGreens, etc. But the results are always the same: you send a print via an online service or you give them a thumb drive and the printed photo looks nothing like what you edited it to appear as. So the moment of shining glory that should be present when your hard work becomes a manifested image is suddenly destroyed. It’s awful. It’s demeaning–and it’s often so demeaning that you don’t want to print again.

The solution? Truthfully, if you don’t want to pay the money to send your print off to a lab and get it done, then I recommend investing in your own printer. Specifically, you should aim for a photo printer–not one of those run of the mill all in one printers designed to fax an invoice over to the antiquated department over at that agency you just worked with. Then, you need to get yourself a pretty awesome product that is designed to help you make the printer output match your computer screen as best as possible. They’re called the Datacolor SpyderX and there are two versions that you can choose from if you’re a photographer: the SpyderX and the SpyderX Elite for the no frills editing/printing type of photographer.

So how do these things work? After you install a bit of software, you simply hook it up to your computer’s USB port, follow the on-screen instructions and calibrate the screen. While it isn’t 100% necessary, I recommend sticking around in front of your screen and watching it give you a bit of a light show on your computer’s monitor. The sensor inside the Spyder reads information around the room and the screen–then it figures out exactly what your screen should look like. At the end of it all, the Spyder produces a color profile that will be associated with your display’s calibration. When printing you’ll select this profile to get a print that matches what your display looks like.

Once you’ve made your print though, you’re not done. Go ahead and frame it. The bigger the print, the better it generally is and the more space it will prominently take up on a wall. 8×10 prints are nice, but why not try 17×22 and give your photo the beauty it truly deserves?

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