Printing Photographs with Rich Owens
June 8, 2010 in the Sequoia Room at the Hallmark Inn
Over thirty people, including several new members, joined one of the Photo Club's earliest members, Rich Owens, to get Rich's perspective on printing you own photographs. Rich began his photographic journey with a 1971 Pentax, which he still owns, and began printing digital prints when his wife brought home PhotoShop in 1999. He started with an Epson 875 and moved up to his current Epson 2200 about five years ago.
Rich began his talk addressing the basic question of why you would or would not want to do your own printing at home.
What are the reasons why printing at home is a good idea?
- Convenience - You can print at any time of the night or day. (if you can do it without disturbing your family)
- Control - You know what you want the print to look like and you get to know what you can do with your printer. The quality of the print is based on your skill and equipment.
- Satisfaction - The satisfaction of a job well done is gratifying when you see your print come out just as you envisioned it.
What are the reasons why printing at home isn't always the best choice?
- Space - The equipment and materials will take up a lot of space, just as a darkroom used to take up space when you were using film.
- Cost - It really isn't cheaper to print at home. The ink is the major cost, along with the quality of paper. You need to keep several kinds of paper around depending on the kind of print you hope to make and there will be ink wasted as you work to get the right print. Rich estimates that his 8 x 10 prints cost him $4 to $7 while his 11 x 17 prints cost in the $6 to $11 range with the ink being the biggest part of that cost.
Owens dismissed laser copiers as being too expensive for the home printer and traced the movement from dyes to pigments for ink. Dye prints were said to have a twenty-seven year life before they would fade while pigments are supposed to go more like two hundred years before they fade. Pigment inks are also less expensive and are becoming the dominant form for printers.
Rich stressed the importance of calibrating your monitor at least monthly and using effective profiling and color management services. He shared several examples of resources that he uses, along with suggestions for websites for photographers who want to learn more about printing their own photographs.
He is an aficionado of the texture and touch of papers and has found different papers by specific companies that best meet his tastes. He shared many examples of papers for us to look at and touch. He also went over each of the prints he brought along to identify the paper he used and the reasons why he chose that particular paper. He explained why he wanted a matte finish for this print, a glossy one for that print, and stages in between for others to bring out what he wanted the viewer to see in his final print.
The meeting also gave the club a chance to thank outgoing President, Samer Alassaad and to welcome incoming President, Rob Floerke. Samer was the driving force behind the development of the club two years ago and has set the bar high as we continue to grow and expand. However, with his first child expected at any time, he is ready to step aside as Rob leads us into the future. Rob shared some of his ideas for continuing successful facets of the club and adding new ideas in the year ahead.
Club members were encouraged to enter photographs in the upcoming Yolo County Fair. The deadline for entries is June 25, although the photos don't have to be turned in until August 11. See details at http://www.yolocountyfair.net where you can download and print out the necessary entry form. You can also pick up a copy of Exhibitor's Catalog at the Fair Office at 1125 East Street in Woodland.
Bob Schultz is a member of the Photo Club of Davis and a regular blogger and photographer for Davis Life Magazine. Read his blog at