Digital photography has changed the way everyone thinks about photography. Â Photography used to be a big mystery to most people. Â You would take your film to the photo lab, something magical would happen and you would get images back. Â Now there are several ways you can enjoy images. Â You can look at them on your computer, television, Internet, digital frames as well as prints. Â Unfortunately most of these methods are not archival. Â If you store your images on your flash drive, CD or hard drive eventually they will not exist any more. Â The only storage method that can be truly archival is a print.
You have several options for even printing images. Â First of all you still have the photo labs. Â Inkjet printers, laser printers and dye sublimation printers are also available. Â With all these options which method is the best? Â Let me outline the pros and cons of each.
Many people find it very convenient to print the photographs with their home inkjet printer. Â First of all, most of these printers are fairly inexpensive and there are all kinds of cool papers available now. Â There are two kinds of inks you will find in inkjet printers. Â The first and most common is dye based inks. Â The problem with these inks is they will fade quickly. Â Even if you use the expensive photo paper you will have a problem with these images fading. Â Pigment based inks are the best if you are printing from an inkjet printer. Â Your printer must be a printer that uses pigment based inks. Â Not all printers can use them. Â These printers are a lot more rare and the inks are more expensive. Â Dye based inks can begin fading after only a few months. Â Pigment based inks, however, should last for several years, some up to 85 years.
Laser printers are not a good choice for photographs. Â Laser printers use melted plastic and are not an archival method of printing. Â Laser printers are great for short term documents but should not be used for quality photography.
Dye Sublimation Printers
These printers use ribbons to create the image. Â I believe they are fairly archival but the quality is not as good as inkjets or photo labs. Â I personally would not use dye sublimation printers.
Photo Lab Printers
Photo Lab printers still use the chemical based imaging they always have. Â Photo Lab printers will give the best all around print for most people. Â Most of the photo labs have software that try to fix problems you may have had while taking the picture. Â Because the process is chemical the images will last for many many years. Â
If someone has a pigment based inkjet printer and has a good knowledge of digital color (i.e. color profiles), inkjet printers have some great artistic options. Â Color profiles are a fairly complicated subject, however, and not many people understand them. Â If you do not understand them and/or do not have a pigment based printer, I would definitely suggest a photo lab print. Â
Getting a great print can be tricky. Â It takes a lot more knowledge than most people think. Â If you have tried to get good prints but aren’t getting what you expect or if you have questions about archiving your digital photography feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Â I would love to help in any way I can.