A photograph is not complete until it is printed, right? Yet so many of us keep our images on memory cards and external hard drives never to be seen again. Though printing every single photo taken may be going a bit far, it is so important that photographers understand what they can get from photographic printing for their art, whether for exhibition, sale or simply displaying in their home.
To help other photographers discover the power of printing, photographer Bal Bhatla, a.k.a. Mr Whisper, gives some reasons why he started photographically printing his artwork.
1. Extension of your brand
Your work is what represents your artistic skill and to show this off in the best way, professional photo printing is a great option for your favourite pieces. If a prospective client can see your artwork in a tactile form on high quality paper, they will better understand your brand and they can relate to the sense of pride that you have in your work.
From my experience as a creative director in the advertising industry, I know how important it is to build a brand that clients can visually engage with. Showing off your best work on quality paper is one way of completing your favourite compositions’ journeys and gives tangible evidence of what you can provide with your photography services. It is a form of advertisement in a sense, so it needs to provide an accurate reflection of you!
I am a passionate street photographer and so my photography brings the streets of London where I live to life, using human subjects to tell stories within an image. To get this point across in my prints, I need the vivid colours and essence of the London atmosphere, such as Piccadilly Circus in this image, to come through in the final artwork.
2. Enhance your shots
Printing is a way to raise the bar with your favourite work and stand out in a digital world. The vibrant colours and the subjects you choose to focus on can be lifted out with the right paper choice and editing before it goes to print.
For instance, I desire the people in the photographs I take to speak to those who are viewing them. Once this photo was printed, for example, those observing the image can make their own connection with the subject and infer their story themselves. I believe printing is a vital part of completing your piece of work and making it the best it can be.
Just as I moved from shooting on my smartphone to shooting on a FUJIFILM X-T1 camera earlier in my career, printing professionally on photographic paper stepped my compositions up a gear. I could bring out vibrant colours, put more focus on the subjects in portraits and, more than anything, see my photography in a tactile form. Since I started professionally printing, I have learned some valuable lessons to improve my own skill and understand my work from a different perspective.
3. Revenue opportunity
Bringing professional prints and photo products into your portfolio of services can be an opportunity to add alternative revenue and attract different clients. In fact, some photographers only offer their work for clients as printed products because they understand its value as one way of completing the photo journey, in addition to the digital avenues.
Offering work as wall art or photobooks gives your clients a tangible product for them to take away from the experience. You could even work with a professional laboratory to sell your best work as framed prints for sale online through ecommerce platforms. Whenever you receive orders though your ecommerce platform of choice, products can be easily fulfilled directly from the Professional Lab that you work with, safe in the knowledge they will be the expected quality for your customers.
With home improvement still booming, there is certainly demand for people decorating their homes with amazing artwork, so there is a great opportunity to get your work out there with professional printing.
4 . Working with Pro Labs
If you are unsure of where to start with your photo printing journey, the teams at your local Pro Lab can give their advice on how you can get going. Finding a trusted printing partner who fits your style is a key part of getting the best prints every time, so visiting in-person and getting to know them and their services is a good idea.
When I was looking for a printing partner at the time, I wanted to move away from the digital world slightly, there were a few things that I was looking for and required advice on. I needed to know they could print a variety of sizes and that their paper was of a high quality so that the service I was promising clients could be delivered. It was also important that the pride I have in my work would come to the fore in the final pieces of art. When I went to my local Pro Lab, which uses FUJIFILM professional photographic paper, I could see the respect they give to their work, tending to each photo product with great care, so I knew it would be a great fit.
After showing them my photography style, they were able to provide advice on which paper would bring out the rich neon colours of the city lights. They also advised on how large I could go with the prints to offer wall art pieces, a question that usually crops up with my client consultations. Conversations like these always inform my print decisions and I make sure I discuss with my printing partner when trying out different images and styles.
You can now try it for free
If you are looking to move out of the digital realm somewhat with your art, my advice is to have a chat with your local Pro Lab to see what is available, and to see what works and what doesn’t. It can open a world of possibilities!
This is why Fujifilm is giving the chance for UK photographers to “try before they buy” with the Print To Prove It offer. With a choice of lustre or gloss FUJIFILM professional photographic paper, you can get three prints of your favourite compositions for free from a participating Professional Lab – you just have to pay postage. Give it a try and see how you can bring your work to life!