PhotoActive Podcast: Talking About Printing

Last week, I was a guest on the PhotoActive podcast, chatting about photo printing with the hosts Jeff Carlson and Kirk McElhearn. We talked about such things as “Why print at all?” (heresy!); why printing today—whether online or with your own printer—is better than it has ever been; and how learning about printing is no different than learning about your camera (practice, practice, practice!). It was a lot of fun, and if you are interested in the state of photo printing today, I humbly think it’s well worth taking time to listen in. It’s short—my segment is only about 30 minutes in length.

I’m not a huge podcast guy—especially ones about such a visual medium as photography—but I’ve really enjoyed PhotoActive since Jeff and Kirk started it up earlier this year. The episodes are brief, with minimal chit-chat, and they find interesting guests (who mostly don’t talk about gear, which I also love). If you want to get a taste, but don’t care about printing, I recommend the recent episode with photographer and author Michael Rubin, who spoke about how his family collected fine-art prints when he was growing up, and how it has informed his photographic life.

PhotoActive is subtitled, “A Podcast about Photography and the Apple Ecosystem,” but the Mac angle is fairly low-key. If you’re a Windows user, don’t avoid it; I’ve found most episodes are focused more on photography than the Mac, and I almost always learn something. It’s worth checking out.

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Spotify, or download it directly from photoactive.co.


[When it rains, it prints: Epson has great rebates this month on their SureColor photo printer line.]

 

January 26-28: Fine Art Printing Workshop in San Francisco

If you’ve ever tried to print a digital photo, then you know that an image that looks good on-screen won’t necessarily look good on paper. In this three-day, intensive workshop—from January 26-28—you’ll learn how to get great-looking prints from an inkjet photo printer. Through lecture, demonstration, and lots of hands-on work, Ben Long will guide you through the process of editing your images for print. In addition, you’ll learn about configuring printer drivers, using color management tools, and choosing a printer and paper. Most importantly, you’ll begin the process of developing an eye for image analysis and print aesthetics. Though this isn’t a shooting class, you’ll have some time for shooting in beautiful San Francisco, and we’ll devote a little class time to image evaluation and group critique. If you’re unsatisfied with the quality of your digital prints, and frustrated by how much paper and ink you consume to get a good print, then this is the workshop for you.

The Best Printing Apps for Your Phone

In the last decade, printing your images out on real paper seems to have fallen out of fashion. As digital has conquered the world of film, many photographers–professional or personal–no longer print out their photos. Whenever I tell people about printing out my images, they act confused; “Why would you print them out?” Yet every time I give physical photos as gifts, my friends and family absolutely love them.

Many people don’t have photo printers at home, as they can be pricey to buy and stock regularly. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with the world of printing apps; why pay bucket loads for special paper and expensive ink when someone else can send you gorgeous prints with no hassle?

There are a lot of printing apps popping up, so I’ve compiled my favorites to help you choose the best option for you. Read more »

Now available: Inkjet Printing for Photographers

While our topic of choice at this site is digital photography, when it comes to final output, I still want my photos on paper. These days, quality output to paper means inkjet printing, and in this course, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get fine-art quality inkjet prints. Whether you’re working on color or black and white, with or without a color-managed system, this course will show you how to get the best prints possible from your inkjet print. Click here to get started watching now.

Choosing the Best Resolution for Inkjet Photo Printing

The last step of any photo workflow is to sharpen and output. If your final goal is an image for the web or email, then output simply means resizing and saving your image. If your final output is to print using an online printing service, then you’ll need to follow their size, resolution, and format specifications very carefully. Similarly, if your final destination is your own desktop printer, you’ll also need to set size and resolution before you print. While choosing size is pretty simple – you just resize the image to the printing dimensions that you want – choosing a correct resolution is a little trickier. In this article, we look at exactly what you need to consider when choosing a resolution for desktop inkjet printing.

Portable Printing with the Polaroid PoGo Printer

I just spent the last week motorcycling from San Francisco to Oklahoma, (to teach at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute) camping and motelling along the way. As is usual on a motorcycle, I tried to stay on the smallest roads possible, and so ended up in some fairly interesting locations. I was probably supposed to be blogging, tweeting, and Facebooking my exploits as I went, (Karaoke night in Roswell, NM will definitely make you believe in alien visitations) but to be honest, one of the nice things about such a trip is to be out of the media bubble, not engaging in it further. So rather than trying to provide heavy coverage of my trip, I decided to simply enjoy myself. But also, I have a penchant for mail – the physical kind made from crushed wood pulp. Sitting in a forest or remote desert at night, writing letters and postcards, is a pretty nice way to spend an evening, but just because I’m using analog communications doesn’t mean I have to scrimp on imagery. Thanks to the amazing Polaroid PoGo printer, I was able to print images in the middle of nowhere!

Read more »

Choosing the Right Photo Paper

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t really feel like an image is done until it’s on paper. I find reflected color to be much prettier than the garish color that comes out of a computer monitor, and there’s just something about having a physical object that is very enjoyable. However, choose the wrong paper, and you can easily end up with a very disappointing final product. These days, paper choice is a good news, bad news situation. The bad news is that there are lots of papers out there to choose from, so it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The good news is that there are lots of papers out there to choose from, so you should be able to find something that precisely meets your needs.

Read more »

Epson, Snow Leopard, Printer Sharing, and You

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been leading a workshop built around a lab of twenty 20″ iMacs. Apple generously loaned the computers, and when I unboxed them, I found that they were all running the latest version of Snow Leopard (10.6.1). I didn’t think much of this as I set up the computers, figuring it was nice to have an OS more stable than Leopard. However, once I tried to get the two Epson R2400’s working, things got far more complicated. It turns out that, despite Epson’s release of a Snow Leopard-compatible R2400 driver, you may have trouble getting the printers to work with your Snow Leopard-based Macs. And if you want to use Printer Sharing, you’ll need to jump through a few additional hoops.
Read more »

HP announces new pro photo inkjet

HP today announced the Photosmart Pro B8850, a $550 photo inkjet with eight pigment-based inks, including dual black inks for photo and matte papers and a gray ink for better black-and-white printing. The printer, which is slated to ship in April, looks like it will be a strong contender to Epson’s Stylus Photo R1900, a similarly priced photo inkjet that was announced last week.

If you want more info on the B8850, check out the specs and analysis over on Printerville; a first look at the printer should be posted later this week.

Epson Stylus Pro 3800 reviewed

Over on Macworld.com, I posted a short review regarding Epson’s latest professional-level printer, the 17-inch Stylus Pro 3800.

The 3800 is a funny beast—it has the best print quality of any previous Epson printer, and it is priced in a place where it has no real competitor. There is no roll-feed attachment—17 by 22 inches is the largest standard size it will print on—and it doesn’t have the whiz-bang features that HP and Canon are putting into their pro-level printers, like automatic addition of paper profiles, a Photoshop plug-in, and fancy calibration tools. And, while it fixes the physical ink swapping found in the Stylus Photo R2400 and the Stylus Pro 4800, it still does have to go through a purge cycle when you go back and forth between matte- and glossy-finish paper types.

That said, print quality and repeatability are often what pro photgraphers want most, and the 3800 has that in spades.