Printing Photos at home
The affordability and continuing improvement of low cost digital cameras and mobile phones with built in cameras has resulted in more amateur photographers snapping and sharing their photos with friends all over the world then ever before!
If you use a digital camera there are 3 ways you can print your photos:
2. Order your prints online and have them delivered to your home
3. Order your prints from a local photo lab and collect them yourself
Recent surveys show that 45% of digital photographers print their own photos at home, while an equal number order their prints online and have them delivered. Consumers seem to vary their behaviour depending on the number of photos they desire.
Research shows that if they only want a handful of photos they will print them at home, if you want 30-40 prints they will order them from an online retailer and get them delivered to their home, and if they are creating large projects like a photo album or mass greetings cards then they will use a mail order company. How cost effective is printing your photos at home?
Advantages of home photo printing
The decision whether or not to print your own photos or have them professionally processed is the same issue as having your own dark room or sending the film out to be developed in a professional lab, it’s about controlling the final output. The main advantage of printing your own photos is that you have complete control over the image quality. If you are not happy with the result, you can adjust the photo editing software and re-print, learning as you go.
There is something satisfying about taking a new digital image and manipulating it until you feel that it is ‘just right’. For people who enjoy having creative control over their photos, then it is more of a control issue than a cost issue, but it is definitely worth the extra cost. If you are serious about photography, you will agree that commercially made prints can never quite match the prints you make yourself.
One way to cut your printing costs is to print the images smaller than the desired size, until you are certain that the output is what you expect. Considering that not every print on a roll of 35mm film will be exactly how you expected, likewise not every digital image will be ideal. The goal is to select the best images and then make them as perfect as possible.
To achieve the best possible results when printing colour photos; make sure you use special photo paper because it is designed to absorb the ink correctly. Glossy photo paper delivers a smooth glossy finish for everyday photos with the look of true professional prints. Premium glossy photo paper costs little more, but it has a very high gloss finish that is perfect for printing your perfect cherished photos and enlargements to display in glass frames and photo albums. Whichever paper you decide to go for, make sure you change your print settings to match the type of paper you are using.
If digital photography and printing your own photos is very important to you, inkjet colour printers will offer you the variety and colour controls that you need for the best price.
Cost of ownership
For some people, however, the price of home printing can be too high. Although inkjet colour printers may have dropped considerably in the last few years, and they often come as a package deal with some new printers, they are not that cheap when you consider the total cost of ownership. After you make the initial purchase, you then have to remember the high cost of OEM ink cartridges, and if you are mainly printing out colour photographs, you will go through them like there’s no tomorrow! You may be wondering why is the cost of ink so high? The major printer manufacturers do not make their profits on the printers, which actually return relatively low profit margins. They make the bulk of their profits from the sales of ink, toner cartridges and photo paper. Ounce for ounce, the cost of the ink inside a brand name cartridge is four times the cost of some top champagne which sells for around £280 a bottle.
In addition to the high cost of supplies, another disadvantage of inkjet printers is that the cartridge ink can dry out relatively quickly, depending on the humidity of your environment and how frequently you use the printer. OEM cartridges have a shelf life as soon as they enter the machine, which means you will need to replace the cartridge every 2 years, regardless of whether it is empty of not.
Of course, by purchasing remanufactured or compatible ink cartridges will save you a lot of money each time it comes to replacing the cartridges. Most ink cartridges will produce about 120 to 200 pages, depending on type of use.