April 15, 2009

New To Photography? Where Do You Start?

A lot of us were shooting 35mm or 110 films before digital photography took hold, so we had to develop a whole new set of techniques when digital started taking over. I remember I kept reading new articles about digital, and how it had its pro's and con's. Most people thought it was just a passing fad because the prices of digital cameras were astronomical and the quality was not that good. But low and behold, that's all changed and now its here and almost everything is shot digitally.
In the early days of digital you were limited to putting your photos on a CD and then handing it to the clerk for developing which was only available at certain places. Now, you can have your digital photos printed just about anywhere, and even do it without leaving your home.
Basically there are three ways of getting images printed:
  • First, through photo centers or mini-labs (kiosks) at local stores;
  • Second, through online printing services; and
  • Third, by printing them up yourself at home.
The first option is the most popular. It's somewhat similar to the film days where you visit the store to drop off your "film" then come back to pick up your developed photos. Some have do-it-yourself digital kiosks that let you develop your digital photos through ATM-like machines. You can add borders or crop or a variety of other options.

The second way is online, just type in photo printing and you'll find dozens of sites to print them for you. Depending what you want to do with the photos, some companies let you upload your JPEG images and you set certain specifics like size and quantity while others require you download a version of ROES, which is like a online kiosk that lets you order your prints in a variety of templates and printing options. You can choose various papers, postcards, mugs, and calendars or matted prints and the list goes on.

The third way is getting more popular all the time, home printing. All digital cameras come with some photo editing software to 'tweak' your images, and they all have a learning curve. Secondly you'll need a decent printer. Printer prices have come down drastically and the print quality has gotten better and better. 

Most of the free software programs that come with cameras are pretty good, and then there are some aftermarket programs that can range from inexpensive to quite costly. All of them require practice and some can feel overwhelming. Luckily there are literally hundreds of tutorials and tons of information online to help you learn the techniques. Do a little homework and take your time. It can be lots of fun and the printing possibilities are endless.
© D. Gould Photography