Why You Need to Print and What to Print Your Images On

The importance of printing your own images cannot be understated. There are a number of reasons, but I believe that it mostly comes down to perspective. Currently most entry-level cameras have at least 24-megapixel sensors, however, most screens are full HD which is only around 2 megapixels in resolution. Even a 4K screen is only around 8 megapixels. Seeing your images on any screen can never truly express the image as effectively as possible whether that is due to the colors or resolution. For this reason, printing your images can not only improve your perspective but also help with regards to improving your photography.

On that basis, we know that printing your images is important, however, the question remains: what should you print on? There are so many options currently available that is can be a little confusing if you haven’t printed on different materials before. Should you pick glass, metal, paper, or canvas? It can be a little daunting, to say the least, so in my video above I compare the different materials available from most professional printers.

The image I show in the video is what I printed on three different materials: glass, aluminum, and Forex, which is similar to canvas. This specific image can be a little difficult to print even for some professional printers due to the fact there are several dark, high-contrast sections. The colors and subtle shifts between each color can also be a little difficult to print too and this is what I was looking out for and how well each material renders them.

For the full comparison check out the video above. 

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19 Comments

Yep. I'm done. Goodbye, FStoppers. This is a 14 minute infomercial. Why should I print my photos?
"Because they're bigger like that." Whodathunk? The last post that I recall from the author was vapid plug for Hurley's workshops. Promotional posts here aren't consistently labeled as being such and when they are, it's identified via a tag in the footnotes.

I get it. It's getting harder and harder to make a living as a professional photographer so people rely on hawking gear and selling education to those who aren't as equally disillusioned yet. But this is just perpetuating the downward spiral of things. I refuse to participate anylonger.

any recommendation?

Usman Dawood's picture

The video I made wasn’t sponsored or promotional. I didn’t and won’t be getting paid a penny from the company in question. The same is true for the article because they haven’t paid to have my video posted on Fstoppers.

"blabla.com was kind enough to send me a bunch of prints" "Sent me those prints, so I can show you..". So did you pay for those prints? How's this not sponsored or promotional?

Usman Dawood's picture

Look up definition of sponsored post. Being sent something to review vs being paid to review something are two very different things.

William Howell's picture

I like this video and I do not care if this is a plug, because I found the article to be informative and promotional of different printing surfaces.

I agree with printing one’s work, it reinforces the passion for my photography, to see it on a wall.

Chad D's picture

always love it when people think their photo is hard to print cause of some whatever :) hahaaahhah

sorry mate its just a pic of a skyline nothing hard to print about that

fingers are mauling the print to :) hahahahhhahahah

Usman Dawood's picture

Most professional printers I’ve worked with have had issues when it came to the darker sections of an image. The only printer that didn’t have issues with that was when I was working on a campaign for Ernst and Young, they had near perfect prints.

Also this article was more for beginners and/or photographers that haven’t printed before because as you point out most professionals already know that printing is important.

At some point all information is new.

The fingers mauling haha :p.

Chad D's picture

I think the real togs have been into printing and maintained it for a long time ?

just new digital peeps that now discovered it and are like OH I AM SO TRENDY AND COOL PRINTING NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT THIS

again I am all for printing and have been and labs are all over so printing is nothing new unless you are a newbie ?

Dusty Wooddell's picture

"real togs" and "digital peeps"?

William Howell's picture

That’s funny!

The annoying expletive deleted Indian music playing in the background... WTF are/were you thinking?

William Howell's picture

Remember how, when you were young, you’d go to the one hour photo mat and these little pictures, (printed on paper), were so cool and instantly nostalgic.

You just don’t get that feeling from a monitor. And you can print super large using gator foam backup with satin paper, dirt cheap.

Precisely because of digital, new people, [that have been shooting digital for a while now], come to see that the electronic screen is not enough.

While I like traditional gilded frame and metallic paper prints, I think that acrylic and aluminum are my favorites now.

Usman Dawood's picture

I completely agree, I remember first camera I ever used was a disposable one and I took a whole bunch of images using it and really enjoyed the whole experience.

There are far too many people that have never printed anything and I think it’s something that every photographer should do at least once.

From the three I too prefer the aluminium, it has a certain texture and look to it which I really like.

Thank you for the comments William.

Ok... Silly question... WHY THE FSTOPPER would you print a photo like this? It's just awful. Just sooo awful. Who the bloody heck cares HOW it prints? Why would you ever start an instructional video with something this bad? It's just undermines everything you have to say.

Usman Dawood's picture

I printed it because I like that photo and I had the opportunity. You’re welcome to print the images that you like, I won’t tell you not to :-).

Thomas Starlit's picture

Thank you for a relevant walk through of different print materials. I find it valuable because I often print stuff, and feel reluctant to try out new materials because I don't want so sink money into something before knowing more about it. That you mention a company name a few times only highlights that you are aware there is a thin line between product review and advertising

Lykos Terzis's picture

I think I wasted my time watching this. sorry but there are much more important reasons why you should print that what you've said ... -_-

Usman Dawood's picture

I agree there are a whole list of reasons but I wanted to concentrate more on comparing some of the different kinds of prints in this video. There are already plenty of articles that discuss in much more detail about why you should print.