How to Get Better Printing Results

Better Printing Results


One of the only disadvantages to digital photography compared to film is the fact that you don’t automatically get a print.

If you want to share your photos with someone, hang a picture on the wall or carry one in your wallet, you must print your photos out.

There are a variety of factors to consider when printing out your photos.

How Should You Print Them?

Are these prints going to be keepsakes or are they going to be used for a homework project?

If your photos are to withstand the test of time and the elements it may require a little more money for processing through a lab. Most inkjet prints won’t last through the end of the decade.

If your photos are for a disposable project consider whether they need to be printed on good paper, on the best quality, or will you be just as well off printing them on standard paper in grayscale?

Which Methods Produce Best Results?

At the meeting I will bring in samples from home printer, online order prints, and online photo labs and let you judge for yourself.

Home Printing Factors

If you decide to print on your own printer, there are some important items to consider.

  • InkJet prints do not last as long
  • For best results Paper + Ink = $.50-$1.50 per page (more in some cases)
  • Monitor color and printer color may not be equal
  • InkJet prints are not as tolerant to the elements (water and air)

Lab Printing Factors

Professional printing labs produce the best results, but you should consider the following in your decision.

  • Most labs charge a fee to "open" the CD (place it in the computer and look at the file). Typically this fee is around $3
  • Expect to pay between $.25-$2 per 4×6 print. (not including the open CD fee)
  • The result is a true photograph (not an ink or dye based print)
  • You must take the digital image to a lab, the process typically takes about an hour.

Online Prints

Online labs such as shutterfly and clubphoto are great ways to share photos and let your family and friends pick up the tab for the prints they want. Other things to consider include:

  • Prints are delivered via snailmail
  • The process from print order to arrival is typically about four days
  • Online labs can also do great items including Tshirts, coffee mugs and posters
  • Prints usually cost the same as professional lab minus the CD fee
  • Uploading pictures can take a while if you don’t have a broadband connection
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