The call for photographers to print our work is nothing new. I’m guilty as anyone else when it comes to this practice in that I’m not consistent. We’re prompted to do this time and again for the sole purpose of squeezing them out of the digital realm where they often get lost and instead give them the opportunity to exist as something tangible. It’s one thing to admire your work on a beautiful screen but it’s another to hold it. We already succumb to this cozy feeling with family photos and so that same sentiment should bleed over onto our other work.
I don’t currently own a printer but considering there’s a slew of services wanting our business to print our photos, it doesn’t bother me to outsource the work for the time being.
Above everything, the most daunting task is determining which work is of value for us to print. I value everything I shoot, especially family photos but for the sake of conversation what I’m referring to here specifically are photos relating to your portfolio as a photographer and the ones you feel represent the type of work you aspire to do more of.
I’ve shot a lot ever since I began taking photography more seriously but I was horrible at establishing a system where I would at least know which photos within Lightroom were worthy of printing. One can only imagine the intimidating task of sifting through everything. What I do now is that any time I consider a photo worthy of being printed, I simply tag it portfolio so later on I can execute a quick tag search to pull up all those I've been sorting along the way.
Recently, within the span of 3 weeks, every night I set aside 45 minutes to cull a few of my favorite photos, print them via Shutterfly because it was cheaper and lay them out on my desk to gain a new perspective on my work.
For example, the fact that the majority of it has revolved around capturing subjects while a beautiful sunset is transpiring or that I tend to photograph more females as oppose to men or that I’ve recently developed an affinity for sport and fitness.
To balance that a bit, I’ve already embraced shooting in a studio environment and maneuvering the use of strobes, v-flats, etc. The concept itself was both foreign and intimidating last year but the comfort level has grown as I’ve been putting in the practice as oppose to salivating over videos on how to do this or that but never taking action.
Overall, printing at least 10 photos a month of anything new I’ve shot will be an ongoing ritual to make me more aware of elements I may tend to overlook as it’s become normal to gaze endlessly as screens non-stop.