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Author Topic: Progressing as a photographer  (Read 2273 times)

Tony Jay

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Progressing as a photographer
« on: November 14, 2011, 04:55:11 AM »

Thought I would post a couple of thoughts.
Apologies to those who might say 'no sh£$ Sherlock' so here goes:

Perhaps the way I have been able improve my photography the most has been to print.
I have been blown away by the quality of many of my files and occasionally dissapointed by the result on printing.
The advantages of been able to 'roundtrip' through my entire workflow from the camera all the way to softproofing and printing has tightened up my
camera technique and post processing no end.

The limitations of monitor displays make it very difficult to ultimately decide on the degree of sharpening and sometimes noise reduction necessary
to optimize a print. Printing allows the detail to be appreciated if one prints to an appropriate size.
Sometimes the aesthetic qualities (or lack of) can only be properly appreciated in a print.

Even if your work is largely or entirely intended to be displayed electronically I believe that many of your capture and post processing decisions will be hugely informed by closely scrutinizing multiple prints of your work.

Not having a printer in most parts of the world should not be a barrier as there are printing companies all over that will provide colour profiles for their printer/paper combinations allowing a convenient and hopefully cost-effective solution.

I felt that it was worth posting these thoughts since I feel that I have not been alone in perusing my thousands of files for some years only electronically and wondering just how good or bad they really were. I could see that many appeared to work aesthetically but I could never really know what they would look like once printed. The results have been signally illuminating.

Best wishes

Tony Jay


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Re: Progressing as a photographer
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 07:18:49 PM »

You're right on the mark, Tony. Looking at printed photographs provides a most welcome sense of completion. For me, it is the true culmination of my art more so now with digital that back in my colour and B&W darkroom days. I find I learn from the print. No that I couldn't have learned from a monitor image, but having the scene before me in large format makes a huge difference.

Printing and looking at the scene again in large format certainly recaptures the mood of the day that cannot be achieved with a digital projector, large-screen TV or monitor. I think it has to do with the mode of projection/display and pixels. All that technology and electricity seem to get in the way of enjoying the scene. A print is more organic.

To paraphrase AA (not that we haven't heard it before!), "The negative (or raw file) is the score; the print is the performance."

I must, however, disagree about the using a print service, unless they are doing custom work (at least based on my own experience). Never was I able to feel that sense of achievement with a outside service provider - it's what drove me to purchase a large format printer.
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