When I was little, Mom had a camera that took 126 film and she had prints done at the local drugstore. She left a lot of B&W from when she was young. I scanned and cleaned up a few of the photos, perhaps when I find I am really bored I will do some more. I used a Kodak Instamatic for a while in high school. Wherever those photos were processed, many have faded badly. Others seem OK. I never liked prints.
The last rolls of film through that camera were all slide film. When I got into SLR’s, I shot mostly slide film. A friend and I shot another friends wedding using slide film and printed using the Cibachrome process. That was a total pain, but they got colour prints and a set of slides.
The two benefits of slides at the time were that no one in a lab messed with your photos, what you took was what you got; and, using a slide projector you could show your photos at a very large size, to a group. Photos displayed on a 7 foot screen just look better than when they are printed on a 4 by 6 inch piece of paper.
Digital rocks! No smelly, messy chemicals. You can upload files to the web so friends and relatives all over the world can see your photos when they want. Try doing that with a print!
Sometimes I still print:
During trips to Hong Kong, we dropped off a CD or DVD full of edited files at Kodak Express. A day later we could pick up a stack of prints to leave with relatives and a set to bring home. Once you get over about 120 files, they give discounts.
At home in Toronto, we tried Costco, and Walmart. I gave Costco 3 DVD’s with many of the same files on each one. We wanted 3 slightly different sets of prints and rather than going through the trouble of telling them which files we needed copies of, we just gave them discs and asked for a copy of each disc. What came back was a bit of a surprise. We got three different looking photos from the same file! We tried Walmart with the same result. Black’s is a Canadian chain with several stores in our immediate area and a lot of stores in Greater Toronto. They do a pretty good job and if you purchase a gift card at the right time, the price is comparable to Costco and the other places. If I have a lot of 4X6 printing to do, it goes to Blacks.
I used to print on HP business printers but the last one was a pain. It didn’t feed paper straight and cut the bottom third off Word documents. I got an Epson because I was frustrated with the HP, and I liked it so well, all my printers are Epson, now. My wife is still using my old HP G55, which is a good printer but doesn’t do photos as well as a real photo printer. She prints a lot of text and we are presently trying out refilled ink cartridges from Costco for that. The other old pieces of HP gear that I have are a notebook computer and a Scanjet 4070 which is not supported but connected to Windows XP, I can scan slides and negatives — so I can clean the image up with Photoshop and print it as a digital file.
The first Epson printer I purchased was an R1900 which I still use to print my photos. I use two types of paper, Kirkland paper from Costco, which I suspect is made by Epson since it used to come in an Epson box before being rebranded, and Epson paper that comes in 13 X 19 inch sheets. The Epson paper, I use with the Epson profile. The Kirkland paper is 8.5 X 11 and I used a Colormunki to create a custom profile when we were trying to make photos of a high school graduation match the actual gown. The Colormunki also does profiles for my monitors. Sometimes my wife wants six photos to a page, sometimes four, or two, or just one. I have a template with some layers that provide white borders, and guides, so I put the photos on the template, turn on the correct layers, save it as a PSD file, rotate it to portrait, and click an action in Photoshop that finishes it up and sends it to my printer. Usually results are acceptable on the first try, so after some initial pain setting everything up, printing is pretty easy now.
I printed some softcover photo books using Black’s, but their books are limiting and I don’t like their software. In an 8 X 8 book, you can print an image about 7.5 inches wide or tall, but not square. They have another option that prints about 6 inches square on an 8 inch page. I print hard cover wedding photo books using Photobook Canada, which conveniently have an office a short drive from where I live. Their software is not perfect (or my understanding of how to use it is not perfect) but it is much better than Blacks and I discovered they offer soft cover books as well. As with their hard cover books, I can print the entire page, and I can add text with a consistent font and size. So, I am in the middle of laying out an 8 X 8 soft cover photo book, and we shall see how it turns out in a couple of weeks. Printing is done in the Philippians, but I can upload everything from my computer and I get an email when the book is at their local office, ready for pick-up. Everyone has been happy with the wedding books, so I am hoping for equal success with the soft cover book.