When was the last time you held your work in your hands? I don't mean picking up your phone, I mean holding a piece of paper with your work printed on it. There is something special about seeing your work in print, and you're not the only one who wants to see it that way. Today, I want to talk about why you should print and give you a few different resources that I use to print my work.
When was the last time you held your work in your hands?
I've been asked by a few different people where I print my promos, and I did a podcast about the importance of self promotion with The Creative Freelancer, you can check that out here: http://www.thecreativefreelancer.com/aaron-anderson/#.WVo4UekkpPY
For starters, why print your work? In this digital age there may be some argument that print is dying, and I have an iPad portfolio that I carry with me for meetings, but I will tell you from experience that the response is not the same when they open up my 11 x 17 print portfolio as when they swipe through photos on my iPad. We look at photos and videos on phones and tablets so often that it's lost it's luster, but my luster paper still has it :) When my clients are able to fully immerse in the work, that's when they remember. If you can combine the senses to create a memory of you and your work, that's what we're going for.
When clients are able to fully immerse in the work, that's when they remember
When I first started I was like many of you, I thought print was a waste of time and money, I didn't realize that it isn't just for other people...it's for me too. I retouch literally thousands of photos a year, and it's easy for the images I create to sit on a hard drive somewhere. I finish and say "That's Cool" then I back it up twice and move on with my life. However, every once in a while I print an image, or better yet, I see an image in print for a client, and it's a visceral experience. It's not a "That's Cool" kind of experience, you feel things like pride, enjoyment, achievement. I think this is much more rewarding than flying past your image on an Instagram account. Even printing your first promo, seeing your work displayed to be sent out into the world to people who create incredible campaigns, it's exciting!
This brings me to my next point: Clients want to see your work in print! There are a lot of different reasons why you should send printed work to clients and potential clients, the first, and one of the most important reasons is, they want to know your work looks GOOD in print!! If you're doing a campaign for a big client, the chances that your work will go to print is pretty high. Let your clients know that you know what you're doing and that your work translates well. Secondly, let them know you're alive and well, that you're active and moving in the industry. Sending out cool print promos says "Hey, I'm still doing cool stuff and I can do cool stuff for you too." Yes, you're promo is probably going to be used as a fire starter on a camping trip, or maybe thrown into a pile, but at least they had to carry it to the camp site and physically throw it across the room...that's more interaction then a check box on an e-mail that never got opened. Finally, you never know how you're printed work will impact a future client. I bring a copy of a coffee table book that we made from our series with homeless people in our community, this has not only opened up incredible conversations, it's also gotten us jobs. So even if you feel like no one cares, they do, but you have to be consistent.
Seeing your work sent out into the world...it's exciting!
Printing can be kind of an overwhelming idea, between color spaces and monitor calibration to test printing and picking paper. Everything I just mentioned are things you should know, and if you don't know them you can learn them! I took classes on these things, but you can certainly learn from places like YouTube, Lynda and many more. Being able to speak with authority about color space and printing in general is something that comes along with photography. Even if you are hiring someone to print for you, it's enormously helpful to be able to communicate what you're looking for and deliver files that are easy to work with.
Alrighty, now I've talked about the importance of printing, let me tell you about a few places that I've used and how you can get into printing your work.
I know this sounds odd, but a good place to start printing is Costco. I would use them as a starting point to look at color correction and doing test prints. They not only have color profiles you can download but they also use archival quality paper. You can download color profiles specific to your store here: https://www.drycreekphoto.com/icc/
Modern Postcard - is an awesome hi-end printer that is geared towards photographers. They offer color correction and matching (for an additional cost), they aren't the cheapest, but they do great work. https://www.modernpostcard.com/
MOO - has awesome business cards, I have never used them for postcards but based on the product they put out I would be comfortable recommending them. Again, they aren't the cheapest, but I dig the end product. https://www.moo.com/us/
My Publisher (now Shutterfly) - If you're thinking about printing a book, which you should do at some point, they were great to work with. I have not printed with them since they transitioned into Shutterfly, but I would think they have similar if not the same results. https://www.shutterfly.com/
Blurb - I did a magazine promo with them, and it was awesome. Biggest warning with them is it seems cheap at first, but you'll need to upgrade to the higher quality everything to make sure your photos look good. I also had some color issues with them, but the had great customer service and the final product was worth it! http://www.blurb.com/magazine
Klo - I wanted to mention them because they made my super radical custom portfolio, just the cover not the prints. This is an investment, but so worth it. They do printing as well, but I would just use them for the portfolio cover itself and print somewhere else. If nothing else just look at their site, they have some awesome stuff on there! http://kloportfolios.com
Canon Pixma PRO 100 - This is the printer I use to print my portfolio...and it's awesome. Not only can this print 11 x 17 no problem it is extremely affordable and has a great plug in for Photoshop that allow you to do color variations and fine tuning before you print. I can't say enough about the customer service, and the quality of print is amazing! https://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/pixma-pro-100
Phew, I know that's alot of stuff to handle so I am gonna call it for this blog. If you have any printers or products that you dig I would love to hear from you! Throw a comment out there or shoot me an e-mail! Now go put some ink on paper and be awesome!!