6 Reasons You Should Be Printing Your Photos


As a photographer I spend a lot of time taking photos, editing, blogging, and posting to social media. To what end? Are the photos meant to be viewed for the 24 hour period that Facebook displays them and then just gone forever? And then I scrounge up another photo to share and the cycle just continues.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sharing my photographs online. But am I just feeding into the noise? Part of my move to start printing my photos comes from my desire to create and share something tangible and special in this age of digital noise and the culture of “now” and “more.”

This post is written to other photographers who might be considering buying and using a photo printer. I’m printing exclusively with the Canon Pixma Pro 100 and couldn’t be happier with the results. Below are some reasons why you should start printing.


1) It makes you a better editor

When you print a photo and hold it in your hands, you start to notice details that maybe you didn’t on your computer or phone screen—particularly if your screen could use a cleaning like mine.

Dust spots in your sky do not make for an attractive printed image. You start realizing the benefit of zooming in close and panning around your image to inspect for problem areas. You start paying closer attention to your histogram, and so on.

Check out my blog post outlining my printing process for a more in-depth look at preparing your image for print.

2) It makes you a better photographer

When you print, especially big, all technical issues with your photographs will be amplified. Displaying photos on Instagram gives us a lot of leeway, and sometimes we brush things off. Tiny screens don’t allow for all the detail to be revealed. Sometimes the detail is beautiful and sometimes it’s problematic—either way, it’s going to show in the print.

The next time you pick up your camera, you’ll be thinking “let’s get this right in-camera.” Because let’s face it, fixing your problems later in Photoshop is not always easy, sometimes is not possible, and it’s just lazy photography (we’ve all done it!)

Photoshop is an amazing tool and some artists use it as a means to create amazing masterpieces, but if you’re using it as a crutch to polish turds, you’re doing it wrong.

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3) It inspires you

Printing a photo, after careful selection, releases endorphins. I’m sure of it. All science aside, it makes me smile. It makes me want to go out and create more images that I can print large and be proud of.

Shoot, edit, print, repeat—that’s a new cycle for me.

4) It makes you revisit old photos

Particularly if you’re just getting into printing and you have a huge catalog of images, it’s a lot of fun to go back into the archives. When you stumble upon a gem from 5 years ago and finally print it out, its satisfying.

You begin to rediscover locations you’ve since neglected, and it gets the wheels turning—see “it inspires you,” above.


5) It brings your photos to life – forever

Before I started printing, this is what I did with my photos: take the photos, edit photos, post to Facebook, Instagram, whatever, maybe blog it, and then poof: the images just went into oblivion with the occasional online or art show print sale.

That’s a lot of hard work, patience, and going out time after time chasing the sun and finally getting that perfect sunset at the perfect spot, just to let it sit on a hard drive. Print that baby out.

6) It’s ultimately satisfying

This point echoes what I’ve been saying throughout this post. Seeing all of your hard work and dedication printed on beautiful paper just feels good. It’s almost becoming an addiction for me… What can I print next? It’s just so much fun.

These are tangible things you can give to relatives, sell to clients, or hang on your wall. We see pixels all. day. long. Mix it up and get your print on.

Can you think of more reasons to print? Please share below.

About the author: Brady Cabe is a freelance photographer based in Grover Beach, CA, who shoots for the Santa Maria Times and the Santa Barbara News Press. He also shoots everything from portraits to weddings, and teaches astrophotography workshops. You can see more of his work on his website. This article was also published here.