On photography: Printing better than ever | VailDaily.com

On photography: Printing better than ever

Tim Faust
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Timothy Faust

Now is a great time to be a digital photographer, especially if you love making prints. Until recently, printmaking has always been one of the drawbacks of digital photography. No matter how hard we tried, we could never quite match the look of traditional darkroom prints. A few years ago, that quickly changed. Not only can digital prints look as good as their traditional counterparts, in most ways they have surpassed them.

Compared to traditional prints, digital prints have wider color gamuts (the number of colors that can be accurately represented,) better contrast, longer archival lifespan, and better consistency from one print to another. There are still a few purists out there who thumb their noses at digital printing, but I believe that is because digital printing has taken the creative power of the elitists and put it into the hands of everyday people. My favorite thing about digital printing is that it is very affordable for everyone to do in their own home.

There are two main parts to digital printing; the printer and the paper. Printers like the Epson Stylus Photo R1900 (MSRP $549, http://www.epson.com) and the Canon Pixma Pro9000 (MSRP $499, http://www.usa.canon.com) can both print photographic quality images on papers up to 13X19 inches. If they seem a little pricey, consider that you can easily print 11X14 prints for less than $2 each, which are far superior in quality to what you can get from a grocery store photo lab.

The other consideration in digital printmaking is the paper. For ease of use, choose a paper manufactured by the same company as your printer. Also, matte and luster papers are easier to handle than glossy papers. If you choose to print on glossy paper, wear a pair of white cotton gloves available in most drug stores to avoid damaging the prints. When you are ready to experiment a little more, pick up a sample pack of fine art paper from Moab Paper (www.moabpaper.com.)

Timothy Faust is an award winning photojournalist living in Breckenridge. If you have a photography question you would like to see answered in this column, please send it to questions@timothyfaust.com. View his work at http://www.timothyfaust.com.

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