Still Going Strong: Photo Printing in the Digital Age

Living in the digital world, with smartphones and digital cameras always at hand, the process of taking photos has turned into a pleasant everyday life experience. It has, undoubtedly, been simplified by applications such as Google Cloud Storage Drive, Facebook, and Instagram, and what is more, people have been given the opportunity to edit their pictures, use filters and instantly upload them online in order to store them and share their precious memories with friends. However, all the undeniable benefits offered by the digital technology and internet nowadays have not decreased the significance of photo printing, on the contrary: Digital technology only contributes to its development by introducing thousands of new fascinating opportunities, including new photo printing methods, more types of photo printing paper and a variety of amazing photo printed items that could be used for business purposes or designed as personalized gifts that would let your loved ones know that the memories you have created together have been seared in your mind forever.

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Photo printing as a method to save your photos

Having their images on paper has remained the most common way for people to keep their photos physically and make sure they will not get lost forever. Consumers have been encouraged to take action and rescue their important digital files from the risk of disappearing by getting them printed. Having your pictures only as digital files, you should take into account that the consequences of a potential technical issue might be fatal. Computers and hard drives often happen to crash and there is always the chance for your mobile device to break down, get lost, stolen, or loaded with viruses. Also, with the rapid development of modern technology, file formats change and older formats may become unreadable on new softwares. So, the crucial role photo printing plays in securing pictures is not to be underestimated.

Photo prints help you sort out and organize your precious photos

Unlike the past when the amount of film was limited and each photograph required more time and planning, everyone now can take as many pictures as they want, and random and inappropriate things get frequently photographed. People normally secure a large number of pictures on their smartphones or laptops which they never go back to look at. The selection and photo printing of certain images would help you organize your photos by setting the valued ones apart from the virtual pile of thousands of digital files meant to stay locked away and forgotten.

Photo prints evoke more emotions

Photo printing brings the images to life and still has its place today. Quickly swiping through a smartphone gallery or the pictures saved as digital files on the laptop might be fun, but it could hardly be compared to the authentic experience of holding a real print and appreciating the special moments which it reminds of. Photo printing allows you to document your life – all the important occasions, special events, holidays, the fun times, and the not so fun times. Photos can speak directly to your emotions by restoring the memories of the time once spent with your loved ones. A printed photo has presence. You can touch it, feel it, and share it with all your friends, including those who are not active online or know how to use the computer. It can also become a part of legacy to future generations.

Photo prints are the connection to the future

Yes, apart from having the power to transport one to past times and places, printed photos are also a connection to the future. A few generations later they are likely to still exist and arouse interest in the person someone once has been and the places one has visited. Photo prints are a timeline of people’s lives, or in other words, their personal story.

There is no guarantee that the hardcopies of pictures would, unlike digital photos, never be damaged, but the good news is that there is a wide range of techniques you are able to choose between when printing your photos. Therefore, you cannot only be creative and store your photos in stylish albums, photobooks or on canvas, but also rest assured that your photo prints would last for generations.

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Every Photo Printing Method has its Own Benefits

Regardless of whether you are a professional or simply an amateur, nice photos require more to do than simply using your camera or your mobile device to take the perfect picture. Being aware of certain photo printing techniques would help you make an informed choice of how to physically reproduce the image for your photograph to show it off to its best. Below, we show you some major photo printing methods you should know about.

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Giclée print for high-resolution pictures

Introduced in the 1990s, Giclée printing is considered to be one of the first methods of digital reproduction. It has at first been used as a technique to reproduce artwork. Today Giclée is a term associated with inkjet printing. Giclée photo prints are normally preferred because of their large sizes and archival inks increasing the quality of the images. This type of printing offers much greater variety of papers. Another aspect that distinguishes the technique is the use of pigments instead of dyes. The saturated colors and the high resolution transforms the photos into painterly soft images, perfect for everything, from portfolios to art photo prints for exhibitions. Exposed to daylight Inkjet prints can last 40 years and much longer if stored properly.

Digital C-print/Lightjet for smooth images

Lightjet prints are the modern version of conventional chromogenic prints, as the only difference is that in the process of their making the traditional analogue has been replaced by digital technology. The machine imposes an image from a digital file with lasers on to light sensitive paper. It is further processed through chemicals which are almost the same as those used in the traditional chromogenic process. The laser produces a photographic image that has smooth gradation and tonality. C-prints are cheaper and look and feel completely different than inkjet prints mainly because they are true continuous tone prints, unlike the latter which are halftone prints. The quality of C-prints depends on factors such as the temperature of the chemicals and calibration of the printer. They are predicted to last approximately 40 years in daylight and 80 years when stored correctly out of light.

Gelatin silver prints – perfect for black and white pictures

Gelatin silver printing had been a standard technique for making black and white photographs from the early 20th century until the emergence and popularization of color photography in the 1960s. Nowadays, gelatin silver prints might not be as much widespread as digital printing methods, but the technique has remained standard for creating black and white prints. Gelatin silver is set apart by its broad tonal range. The process of creating gelatin silver prints is achieved through an exposure of images on gelatin-coated paper which forms silver halide on the surface of the paper. The final print is the result of a chemical developing process including metallic silver being fixed in the gelatin coating. Modern gelatin silver prints are produced by highly-skilled silver printers who have gone through a special training to be able to deliver desired results.

Cibachrome/Ilfochrome printing creates the most beautiful colors

Cibachrome, also referred to as Ilfochrome, is believed by many to be the most beautiful color printing process. It occupies a unique place in analog photography because it is the only method that makes the production of photo prints possible directly from color transparency film. It is much valued as a photo printing technique because of its distinguishing techniques, including image clarity, color purity, and the ability to produce critical accuracy to the original transparency. During the chromogenic process, slides are being processed with color developer. The color negative or the photo print is constructed through color image dyes. Known for its high level of color saturation and tonal gradation, Cibachrome is used for the creation of almost all commercial color films and papers. Compared to other color photo printing methods, Cibachrome is regarded as having the highest archival longevity. The Cibachrome photo prints framed under glass have been estimated to last 29 years before any color shifts could be detected.

Offset lithography/Offset printing produces high-fidelity pictures

Established more than 200 years ago, Offset lithography is a method of mass-production in printing which uses plates, usually made from aluminum, to transfer an image to rubber blankets and then to the print media. It is called offset because the ink is not directly transferred to the paper. The flexible rubber can conform easily to different kinds of print media surfaces, thus allowing the image to be transferred not just to paper, but also to other materials such as canvas, cloth or wood. Offset lithography provides a great balance between quality, quantity, and cost. It is known for its fine detail and fidelity achieved through photosensitivity of the imposed plates. This printing technique is normally chosen in cases of high-volume printing.

Photograms exude an air of mystery

Photograms, also known as shadowlike, cameraless photography, are prints produced without the use of a camera or a negative. The images are made by placing shaped objects with different transparencies between light-sensitive paper or film and a light source. Areas of the paper that have not received light appear white, while those through object appear grey. The technique is most often used by artists whose intention is to produce solid silhouettes or amorphous, mysterious images. Back


Make your Right Choice of Paper Finish

The choice of paper finish for your photo is as important as the photo itself. It is a translucent chemical coating that improves the appearance of the photo print by preventing it to appear dull. The desired effect could be achieved only if your selection is based on some knowledge of the paper finishes you will come across and which one would be best suited for your purpose. Learn about the six most important types of paper!

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Glossy for shiny pictures to share with family and friends

Glossy is the most commonly used finish today among all the different types of photo paper. It is easily recognizable through its shiny appearance which is actually makes gloss so attractive. When looking for this type of paper, different kinds of gloss can be found. For example, there is high gloss, low gloss, semi-gloss etc. On the one hand, the main advantage of glossy finish is that it helps to distinguish the smallest details of the photo and clearly shows the colors of the image. However, on the other hand, the photo becomes unclear when exposed to light and reflections resembling shiny metals or glass can be noticed. Also, the gloss makes the photo susceptible to fingerprints. It should be held by the sides, or otherwise there is a risk of leaving distinct marks on the photo by handling it too much. Glossy finish should not be used for framing, as the combination of the gloss on the paper and the glass from the frame creates even more reflections. It is an appropriate choice for printing everyday shots that are meant to be shared with friends and can be stored in an album.

Matte – the number one choice for coarse photos

It is typical for Matte (Matt) photographs to have a formed texture on their surfaces. Contrasting to Glossy, the characteristics of Matte are zero glossiness, achieved by deflecting light, and resistance to fingerprints and smudging. Besides, it produces greater contrast as a result of the way the color black shows up on the paper. The disadvantage of this type of paper finish is that the brighter colors get suppressed. It is cheaper to produce and more affordable to buy which is the reason why it is commonly used for the making of leaflets, brochures, and flyers. It is also a relevant option for the printing of black and white photographs, as glossy finish would affect the photo’s credibility. Overall, Matte finishes should be selected for photos that are handed outside of a frame or album or where reflection and finger marks would be a problem.

Luster/Pearl produces vivid colors and sharp details

Luster paper, also known as Pearl due to its resemblance of pearl, is a combination of some of the characteristics of Glossy and Matte. Luster finish is semi-glossy which is why it produces vivid colors and sharp details. Its low levels of glare makes it very useful in situations in which the photo is viewed from different angles (for example, this is the case for photos displayed in a gallery) and under certain lighting conditions. It also has a textured feel which helps reduce glare and fingerprint marks, and therefore positively influences the photo prints’ longevity. Luster photo paper does not promote reflection and as a result is recommended for high-quality framing. It is categorized as ‘professional paper’ and is more expensive than many other types. It is the kind of paper professional photographers make use of mostly for wedding and family portraits.

Metallic – clear and cool

Metallic photo prints can be recognized through their metallic sheen giving depth and realism to the image. This paper type is professional color negative paper designed for wet chemical processing. The final photographs are highly glossy with a metalling tinge, and pleasantly intense colors. The advantages of Metallic finish are its high-quality sharpness and clarity to the printed photos. Metallic photo paper with its stunning metallic effect is mostly used by professionals. It makes the image stand out of the paper and look more appealing. It might often be chosen for a broad range of subject matter, mostly for images with metal. For instance, it can be a relevant option for photographs of different kinds of vehicles –cars, trucks, planes, etc.

Canvas creates painterly effects

Canvas is highly recommended when the purpose is for photo prints to be framed. It is frequently used by professional photographers for displaying artsy images with a “painted” effect. There are some similarities between Canvas and Matte in terms of their look, but Canvas is considered to show more clearly the colors and the contrast between them. Actually, many regard Canvas photo paper as a more color-efficient version of Matte. Its only downside is that it is textured, and when looking at the photos in certain types of lighting and angles bumps on the surface can be noticed. Canvas photo prints are used by people as a way to add a texture and a stylish visual aesthetics to the walls of their home.

Different kinds of photo papers have their own advantages and drawbacks and having some knowledge of their characteristics and uses would facilitate your choices when printing your photos out. Your purpose, whether it is putting your printed photo into a frame or an album, or simply handing it to friends, is a very important factor that should be taken into consideration. Before making up your mind which photo paper suits best your specific application, it is advisable to look for some samples that would give you a better visual understanding. Apart from printing your precious photos on paper, there are also many other touching and exciting ways to use them to surprise your near and dear ones. In what follows, we will provide you with some fabulous photo gift ideas.

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Get the Best Ideas for Personalized Photo Gifts

Choosing gifts can be a stressful experience which you might easily deal with by familiarizing yourself with the various original photo gifts available nowadays. You don’t need to do much to order a personalized photo gift and it would, for sure, be more heartfelt and personal. Whether you are looking for a Christmas gift for your grandparents, a unique gift to honor your parents for Mother’s Day or Father’s day, a romantic Valentine’s Day surprise for your sweetheart, or a special gift for your best friend’s wedding, you can use your imagination, your wonderful photos and be creative.

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Photo books are versatile and chic

A photo book is a book that mostly consists of photographs. Companies allow users to create personalized photo books which are afterwards printed on digital color printers. Choosing a photo book, you can take advantage of the endless opportunities to be creative and realize your own visions. Professional printing and binding services offer easy creation of photo books with professional layout and individual layout capabilities. You can design your unique photo book inside and out by selecting the size, cover, image size, bindings, text additions, decorative details, and even the paper inside the photo book, so as to be completely satisfied with the final result.

Photo mugs brighten up your day

Creating a personalized photo mug with your favorite photos is a very original idea, as bringing your precious memories to life would make any beverage more enjoyable. By choosing this option as a gift for your friends or family, you would not only make their coffee or tea time more special, but maybe also brighten up their desk at work or home. There are many different kinds of photo mugs including photo coffee mugs, photo travel mugs, and photo water bottles. There are also Photo Magical mugs which change their color to display the image when filled with hot liquid. You can choose from many exclusive designs, customize colors, text, and add one or more photos. Creating a photo mug is fast, easy, cost-efficient, and appropriate for different occasions – Mother’s and Father’s day, Christmas, and birthdays.

Calendars & diaries can be both personal and practical

Designing a photo calendar or a diary, you would make a fantastic keepsake gift for your family or friends. Whether they would use it to keep track of their daily appointments and busy schedules, birthday dates, or just to have it hanging on the wall, a personal touch would brighten up their day. The good news again is that you are allowed to choose a design, add personalized text, select a starting month and make it completely according to your own preferences.

Photo pillows & blankets are key pieces of every playroom

Photo pillows and photo blankets are pieces of fabric displaying images, photos, normally used as a decorative object. They are a great gift idea, perfect party decoration and an appreciable addition to any room. When ordering a pillow or a blanket, you should make sure you have provided high-quality photos and previewed the design, so you can be aware of what it will look like from all sides.

Photo T-shirts are funny and entertaining

No matter what the occasion is – a birthday, reunion, an anniversary – a photo t-shirt is always an appropriate way to make a personal statement. Everyone has images that would bring back fun memories. There is no better way to express the true sincerity in your gift than by customizing it yourself with your own favorite photos, text, and creative designs. Your family or friends would love featuring their individual styles. Furthermore, custom T-shirts are an effective solution to outfit your business’s staff.

Poster prints convey messages quickly and effectively

Poster prints let you convey your message quickly and effectively. They are perfect on walls, doors, windows or bulletin boards. Apart from turning your favorite memories into a one-of-a-kind keepsake and making a fantastic gift, posters are also great for any marketing or political campaigns. You are given the chance to design the poster easily by selecting the most appropriate photos and choosing between different sizes and colors. Companies offer mounting and laminating options that would help you avoid tears, wrinkles and water damage.

Greeting photo cards – an appreciated gesture for all occasions

Creating and sending unique birthday and Christmas photo cards to friends and family would be a much appreciated gesture. Besides, you can use that option to create personalized wedding invitations and wedding thank you cards or announce the birth of a new family member. All you need to do is choose the form and the design you like and add your photo. Companies normally provide you with white or colored envelopes or sparkling paper as an addition to your personal touch.

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