After working in-depth with the letter-size model, the ET-8500, for the past few months, I will say that these printers truly are the most exciting photo printers I have come across in a long time. They have excellent photo quality, flexible paper handling options and superb usability, with print costs that are a fraction of those found in specialized photo printers. The EcoTank Photo printers are not for everyone—you wouldn’t use one of these for gallery-ready prints, for example—but they are perfect if you want to get into printing your photos, and want great output with minimal hassle.
Photographer/Writer Ben Long joins the show this week to explain his ideas on how to grow as a photographer, as outlined in his new book, The Practicing Photographer. In the interview, I ask him how practice can be fun. He tells me I have it all wrong. And off we go! I’m pretty sure this is a half hour that you’re going to enjoy.
We’ve been friends with Derrick for decades; he’s a great photographer, podcaster and educator in his own right, and his questions about the book are insightful and fun.
Our good friends Jeff and Kirk recently had Ben on their bimonthly PhotoActive podcast to chat about Ben’s new book:
What does it mean to really practice your craft? In this episode we welcome back photographer and educator Ben Long to PhotoActive to talk about his wonderful new book The Practicing Photographer: Essays on Developing Your Photographic Practice. We talk about why practice involves more than grabbing your camera every once in a while, about getting out of creative ruts, and the value of studying other photographers’ works.
It’s a lively and entertaining discussion on the topic; we’ve always enjoyed speaking with the guys at PhotoActive — their podcast is one of the few good ones that cover photography. You can listen to the episode directly from the PhotoActive website, or through all of the major podcast apps.
Here’s the official blurb on the book, from the back cover:
In The Practicing Photographer, Ben Long’s message is clear: if you want to become a better photographer, you have to think about practice. Musicians, dancers, actors and other artists incorporate practice into their work, yet most photographers want to talk more about camera settings and gear than they do about their practice.
The short essays contained within this slim volume are designed to help you develop your own photography practice. It lacks a single photograph between its covers, and there is no mention of a camera company, a camera type, or any other type of gear. The goal of The Practicing Photographer is to help you think about practicing your photography in a more holistic way, from field to print, and in between. The result is quite different from the standard “how to” photography book, but one that can be as important to enriching your craft.
At 124 pages, The Practicing Photographer is a small book, consisting of 53 short essays (1 to 2 pages each) that, when taken as a whole, are aimed at helping you build your own photographic practice. The book is divided into six primary sections: Practicing, Before Shooting, Shooting, Mind Games, Post-Production, Presentation. A final section includes specific ideas for practicing, as well as an essay on how to gauge the success of your practice. (See the Table of Contents for a complete list of the essays.)
The first essay in the book, “Why Practice?” can be read here on the CDP website.
Which formats will you offer, and how much will it cost?
The print version is $13.95 is now available from the CDP store; the ebook version is $9.95, and is available in ePub, PDF, and Kindle formats.
Amazon has both print and Kindle versions available for sale worldwide (Amazon link).
The Practicing Photographer, CDP Press. ISBN 978-1-7326369-4-1 (print); 978-1-7326369-5-8 (ebook).
My latest printer review, of Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO-300, has been posted over on Printerville. Upshot: it’s a great pigment-based photo printer for people looking to get into printing, and probably the best value in the 13-inch desktop market.
Over on Printerville, I posted an item about Epson’s new cartridge-free ‘supertank’ photo printers, the EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and ET-8550. Although they use six-color, dye-based inks — which some folks will dismiss — I still think they’re an important entry into the printer market, especially with regard to keeping the cost of printing affordable. The post can be read here.
I’m excited to announce that Ben’s next book, The Practicing Photographer, is currently in the final stages of production, and will be on sale here and on Amazon by mid-summer this year.
This book grew out of discussions that Ben and I had about his primary teaching message through the years: if you want to become a better photographer, you have to think about practice. Musicians, dancers, actors and other artists incorporate practice into their work, yet photographers talk more about camera settings and gear than they do about their practice. But when we talk about the concept of practice with workshop students, a light bulb often goes off, and it felt to us that a book about the topic just made sense.
The Practicing Photographer is a slim book (roughly 120 pages), comprised of more than 50 short essays designed to help you develop your own photography practice. While some of the essays are directly derived from Ben’s longtime video series of the same name on LinkedIn Learning (née Lynda.com), the majority have been specifically written for this book.
We’re excited about the result. It is quite different from the standard ‘how to’ photography book. It lacks a single photograph between its covers, and there is no mention of a camera company, a camera type, or any other type of gear. It really has been written to help you think about practicing your photography in a more holistic way, from field to print, and in between.
While we’re still finalizing the book’s content, we do know that it will be priced under $15 for the print version, and around $10 for the ebook. We’ll send out a note once we’ve ordered our first run, but if you’d like a sneak peek, we have posted the first essay in the book, “Why Practice?” for you to read. (The table of contents for the book is also available here on the site as well.)
If you’d like to be notified when the book is available for ordering, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will only be used once, to let you know that the book has been released. (If you’re already on our mailing list, we’ll send a note to you via our email newsletter.)
My old website Printerville has sat dormant for a few years now, but yesterday, I rebooted it, and put up my first new post in a decade. I’ve tried to keep the look of the new site fairly clean, and it should be a bit snappier than before. I also pruned a bunch of the old content from there, except for a few posts that still come up in Google searches.
Ben and I started the Printerville and Complete Digital Photography sites around the same time, cross-sharing relevant links. With my own ongoing interest in printing, and some of the interest I’ve seen from fellow photographers, it seemed to make more sense to bring it back, so that this site could really be more about photography in a wider sense (and more related to Ben’s books).
In the coming weeks, I’ll be moving the more recent printing-specific posts from this site over to Printerville, and new posts on the topic (including the two reviews I have in the works) will be posted over there as well. I’ll post links to the new stuff here as they’re added.
I ran a website called Printerville for a while in the mid-2000s, but a decade ago, I ceased publishing new work there. The higher end of the desktop photo printer market had matured, and companies were no longer coming out regularly with new models. For example, at the beginning of 2020, the current set of printers from Canon and Epson—HP left this part of market long ago—had been around for five years. Only in the last year has there been any activity in this space, and I wrote a little bit about that here on the site:
With those announcements, I received lots of questions from folks who were interested in the idea of printing, and were wondering about how to even start thinking about buying a printer. I’ve been sending out an email to them witha few basic thoughts regarding things to think about when choosing a printer—or whether you should just use an online print service. Given the constant interest in this topic, it seemed worth publishing here.