How to get your images printed

I read the blog of Scampix for getting your images printed and I would like to share my experience with printing images.

The main question is: Is it better to buy your own A3 color printer or go to a printing company?

My advise is:

Better go to a printing company. This should be a DIGITAL , not offset printing house, because with digital printing machines you can print minimum one copy. With offset, you have to print a lot more.

If you have to buy your own A3 printer, that has a good quality of printing, you have to spend a lot of money and to wait until they refund. (The company I used to work for, spend 40 000 euro, for a good quality printer ).If you use others' services, you just pay when you need the print.

Here are the steps I suggest you should follow:

1. Make a research:Find two or three printing houses in your area that are offering quality service

2. Try:Go in each one of the houses and make demo copies of the same picture.Ask for specifics of the printing machine, like size of the paper, print area of the paper, maximum thickness of the paper, variety of papers, label of the printing machine and price of one copy, of course. Take notes.

Not every printer prints only up to A3 size. A3 size is 297 mm x 420 mm. Many machines can print bigger sizes - 320 x 450 mm, 330 x 470 mm etc. or even bigger if they use a color wide format printers. Many machines can also print on a variety of papers, except the standard 300 gsm (gramm /sq.m). 300 gsm is the paper usually used for printing business cards. Some printers can offer you granulated paper, or high-gloss paper, colored paper etc.

3. Compare results: Compare the prints and prices. Find the copy you like the most, with the most photo-realistic quality, or the biggest in paper size. Then make your choice

4.Negotiate:Return to the printing house and negotiate on prices. Present your self, explain you are a photographer and you are interested in using their service. Ask what price they give if you bring photos for print regularly or for more than one, or ten , or 20 copies of the same picture. Ask if they can give you samples of papers. Ask if they work with other photographers and if they offer other service.

5. Go ahead If you managed to negotiate good conditions - go ahead and take orders for prints.

Photo credits: Christy Thompson, Empire331, Marin Conic, Matthew Williams Ellis, Photoeuphoria.

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February 01, 2010


I haven't tried to get anything printed to a large size yet, but I'll keep this info in mind for future projects. Thanks, Carol :)

January 31, 2010


I would also opt for professional services as in the end it's probably less costly than running your own machines.

January 31, 2010


Lately not even an A3 size can fulfill some of my needs, so I agree about giving your work to a professional! At least you can complain if any thing goes wrong :)
Besides it depends on how many times you need this size of print!
Thanks for the advise anyway! Cheers :)

January 31, 2010


I'd add that it's better to find a special service for professionals with the possibility of manual control of prints. I usually go to such laboratory and sit near the operator to be able to correct something if it goes wrong. It's also important to have your computer monitor calibered according to this laboratory settings. And the size of prints is important: for ex. from 10 megapixel you can't print larger than 20x30santimeters without loss in quality. And so on in proportion.

January 31, 2010


Great and useful blog, Eli! Thanks for the tips!

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