1: Printer vs. Printing Service? Which Printer?
I'm going to be exhibiting (and hopefully selling) some photos at an arts & crafts fair in a few weeks, and I am hoping to do a bit of this in the future. I am debating whether to use an on-line printing service (such as Mpix) or buying a printer (i.e. one that can print upto 16X24). Any suggestions & feedback would be much appreciated. Does anyone have a particular printer model that they really like?
- Joshua A. Friedman
I am butting my head against these issues, too. If you need larger than 8 x 10, the cost rises considerably. Also, the printer will never show colors as they appear on your screen. You will need a high quality calibratable monitor and a calibrating system. Paper larger than 8 x 10 and ink are very expensive. Have a printing service do your printing until you work out these details. Among Epson, HP and Canon, look at real prints from your own digital files. Don't buy in haste.
- Doug Nelson
- Lynn R. Powers
Josh: I recommend that initially that you start selling your photos by sending them out to be made. In this way you can see if your sales are great enough to justify purchasing a larger printer.
The extra cost will have to be born by you or added onto the print in order to make a profit. Remember that the cost of mounting and framing add cost also and I charge 10% over my costs in addition to the what I charge for my prints. Prices that you set will vary to what the market will bear in your area. If I lived in Beverly Hills, CA, I could charge 3X what I can in the NW corner of Washington State.
Printers: Make sure that you purchase that the printer that uses pigment ink and NOT dye inks. They are more expensive but the photos will last long after you are gone from this Earth. Also they have a better look to them.
Purchase your paper for the 16x24 inch photos in rolls to save money. You can purchase smaller sizes in 50-100 sheet packages to save money. As long as they are stored properly there is not an expiration date.
Fine art paper is very expensive. I have found that Ilford Gallerie Smooth Pearl to give the best color for my Canon i9900 printer My local processor uses it for people that prefer it as well as continuing to use it for other people that do not specify a special paper if the roll is already on their printer. They use Epson printers up to 44" wide. I do prefer Epson papers for matte prints.
I believe Epson makes 3 printers in that size range. The most expensive is designed more for commercial use and is quite expensive. For your use I would recommend the one just below that. I found Epson printers notoriously slow.
Canon makes 2 printers at that size. The iPF5800 uses pigment inks and is the better of the two and has more capabilities. (My choice if I could justify it) It will also take a larger variety of papers.
The i580 is the same size that uses dye inks and does not have the extra features. Canon printers are fast printers. Currently, I would not consider an HP printer but their smaller printers do put out some fine prints.
Inks: Per cartridge they are more expensive. However, the cartridges have 10x the amount of ink. Currently, it cost me $1.10 per ml, 13ml per cartridge for dye ink. Cartridges that are used in the iPF 5800, 135ml of pigment ink cost $0.58 per ml.
Doug mentioned being unable to match colors. I used a Dell Inspirion laptop without any difficulties. I just purchased an iMac and it took me two minutes to get the color correction needed without even using any calibration tools. I am definitely NOT a computer geek. The difference in the detail is what will be noticed most. When you view on your computer screen it is the same as looking at a slide. Paper does not let light to shine through the image and some small details may be missing in the dark areas. The same thing happened when slides were printed even when using Cibachrome.
Unless you have a full-frame camera, your photos should be uprezzed for 16x24" prints. This is where MPIX and others make it worth using them instead of doing it yourself - unless you know how to do this rapidly.
The last thing you need to determine if you can justify the extra initial outlay of money is the frequency of use. Printers HATE not being used at least for a half dozen prints per week. I was without a computer for over a month. I made five 8x10" prints of the same photo. The fifth one was perfect.
Best of Luck
Hi there! I'm photographing a family of four in a few weeks and they mentioned they'd like some shots of them hanging out around the fire. I'm looking for some suggestions as to how to approach this. Should I do it as the sun goes down, or am I better off waiting till it's darker? Should I try to use fill flash? It's a family I've worked with before and they would be patient with me experimenting a bit but I want to at least go in with a plan. I don't have any experience shooting in this kind of light. Any suggestions are appreciated - thanks!- Jennifer Young