Print Discussion Pt. 2 – How?

So the webmaster here again to talk some more about prints. Last time we talked about the why, now let’s talk about the how. These are my thoughts, your experience may differ.

How are you going to print the images?

There are two basic options. Print it yourself, or outsource it.

Should I print it myself?

Many people would say their home printer is perfectly acceptable, after all it printed that photo fine a few years ago. And in all honesty, you might be right. Depending on your printer it may be just fine for some small-run jobs.

You need to make sure that what you are selling is going to be around for a bit, so you need reasonable quality materials. Plenty of desktop printers are using lightfast ink, and it is not hard to find a good acid-free paper heavy enough to keep from looking too cheap. I would suggest if you plan on printing from home you look up how lightfast the ink you are using supposedly is (Epson and Canon tend to brag about it), or do a lightfastness test by printing a test pattern and cutting it in half, putting part in direct sun and leaving the other in a drawer or other dark place.

In the end, if the print holds up, and you are happy with the results, feel free to start there. If you are not happy, well then you need to upgrade or outsource. I think I will leave printer shopping for another post though.

So what about outsourcing?

If you can’t do it yourself you need to find someone to do it for you. The question of course is who. Before you get too deep into it, you need to do a little research on the people you want to do business with, and what they can/will do for you.

You will need to find someone you can trust with your images, and who will make what you want.

Either way

Determine your actual costs of production. Printing at home is convenient. The downside is that printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids on earth. So have a good feeling for how often you need to buy more, how much the paper is going to cost you, and how much of your time is spent printing. Sometimes it is cheaper to print in-house, sometimes it is cheaper to let someone else do the work. Either way you have to make sure there is profit being made.


Next time, I will talk about outsourcing your prints.