I totally agree with all of you, and I thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts. I'm a control freak (as many of us are); and that's the main reason that I invested in large format printing gear. I want to do more experimenting and learning in this area, but I feel frustration. Each of us has to learn pretty much on our own .... from the ground up. Personally I like learning in small workshop type settings. I thought that I had found the perfect workshop when I saw a "Digital Printing for Fine Art Photographers" listed at the Ansel Adams Center. While it was a GREAT workshop, not much time was spent on the ins and outs of printing. I had hoped that we would be introduced to various types of papers, ect. But that didn't happen since Epson and HP supply the center with printers, paper and inks.
My next hurdle is finding papers that I'm happy with. I thought that I had it nailed down. But I've learned that the paper that I settled on for B&W prints -- Epson's Ultrasmooth Fine Art paper, does not reproduce color well. And to make things worse, I have an Epson 7800. So every time I change from matt black to photo black ink, I waste a ton of ink. Aargggg
Without purchasing a lot of paper, does anyone know of a paper supplier that will send free samples? If I lived near NYC, I could simply stop at B&H Photo. But it's a 10 hour drive .... a little far.
I just get a bit depressed in today's economy. Sales of fine art prints have been really down the past couple of years; not just for me, but everyone. It's one reason that some of the big name guys have taken to offering workshops, selling calendars and books. As income drops, the costs associated with "doing business" continue to mount. Advances in technology presents us with new and better gear every couple or three years. While it's easy for some guys to drop a few thousand bucks here and there on gear, it's much more difficult for others. That brings me around to my initial question: wondering whether it might be more cost effective to outsource printing? I guess that it was an unnecessary question, since I want print control myself!