How Printing Your Work Can Be Priceless

I know that many of us get caught up looking for the next piece of gear to buy or searching for our next portfolio shot, but it's possible the most satisfying thing you can do in photography is to print your own work.

Personally there are many steps in the process of shooting landscapes that I find fulfilling, but there is absolutely nothing like getting a big print of your work and putting it on the wall. 

A few years ago I stumbled upon Nick Carver's video about printing your own work and have been a fan ever since. Carver isn't a daily uploader by any means but his content is tranquil, inspiring, and unique. Working in film is a very patient process and doesn't result in the instant gratification many of us have become accustomed to in the digital age. That instant gratification has seeped into many points of our lives especially when it comes to our photography work. Going to a location countless times and waiting for the perfect light, snapping hundreds of 40 megapixel images, sitting in an office for hours editing together the perfect photo; all of that work for it to be consumed on a 4 inch screen for less than a few seconds.

I have personally struggled with these thoughts throughout my photography career and it wasn't until I started to print my own work that it changed everything. No amount of likes or shares can compare to hanging a piece of hard work on the wall. Carver inspired me with these thoughts a few years ago and his recent video is a gentle reminder to not get lost in the world of instant gratification. 

I cannot stress enough how satisfying it can be to print your own work, especially if you are ever feeling lost in the ocean of chaos that is social media. Have you ever printed your own work? I'd love to know what your experience has been so far and if it's ever helped you find new passion in your photography.

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11 Comments

Leigh Smith's picture

I like this guy... Also: I need to print...

Alex Armitage's picture

Don't hesitate! Do it!

I recently went on a printing spree. I now have prints all over (figuratively speaking) the place. The images are framed and my metal prints hanging proudly at the office. It does feel very satisfying. One thing I've learnt though, is to really scrutinize what you'll be printing. I want to print more but being a little bit more selective. Even the one mistake I made or two were worth the money and learning experience. I'm gazing at this beautiful metal print hanging near me at the moment. Ahhhh! :-)

Alex Armitage's picture

I think there is certainly a learning curve to printing. Just like in photography when you start off and shoot everything, eventually narrowing back to being more selective. Printing is the same way. Let me print this and see what happens! That's how I started and I've learned what tends to look good or not based on the style of photo.

Leif Egil Hegdal's picture

When I was dating the woman that now is my wife she asked me to make a portfolio and bring it over to show her family and friends. To me it was a whole new world to deep into understanding dimensions and how they impact the prints, I got to study the quality of the exposures much deeper and I found myself to be very critic about the quality of my own photos. Some I loved others I previous loved I now hated.

Alex Armitage's picture

You also learn you can't just slap together a couple of photos and have them look good together. There has to be reason and purpose to what you display together. I'm learning this as we speak!

David Pavlich's picture

I'm a home printer and part of that is selling my prints. I started selling about 2 years ago. I don't make much from it, but it keeps me in ink and paper. :-) I'm still humbled and amazed by the fact that people are not only willing to buy my prints, but actually hang them in their homes and/or offices. It is truly rewarding.

Printing your favorite shots is a fitting end to the work flow of a nice image. Whether you sell them, hang them in your home/office, or have them displayed at an exhibition, don't be afraid to do it! It is quite satisfying.

Jerome Brill's picture

Last year I did my first print run of a calendar. I only had only 10 copies printed and it cost a lot since I wanted quality. I gave it away as Christmas presents. You honestly do get that feeling of accomplishment from it. It's something tangible. Even a big digital tech guy like myself really appreciated it. And It doesn't even matter if no one liked the photos you took, you created something.

Sergio Tello's picture

Nick is one of my favorites photographers on YouTube. Definitely not one of those gear peddlers youtube is full of.

John Buckingham's picture

Great video! I personally would have celebrated with the Blanton's!

Printing your pictures is an addiction! Once started, there‘s no way out of it, especially if you go large. Careful, it ended me having a 32 inch printer in my basement 😅