Should You Print Your Own Photos, or Pay a Professional to Do It?

Every photographer — every photographer — ought to print their work at least once. But if you want to do it more regularly, what’s the best option? Should you buy a proper photo printer, or keep paying printing companies to do it?

I went far too long without printing my photography. Well, actually, that’s not strictly true. My first attempt was within my first 6 months with a camera, and it was an underexposed shot onto a dull canvas at some dreadful website that primarily printed cards. I was thoroughly put off and didn’t bother for years. Then, I printed a few images for family and friends and improved at it, but it wasn’t until I was a professional photographer that I took it seriously.

In my first month of being a full time photographer, I had an enquiry to create some rather bizarre wall art for them. They produced industrial drill bits (6 feet in length, so massive) and they would like some wall art that showed what they do. I ended up shooting the welders as they did their thing and the resulting images were good, but I knew the prints had to be even better. So, I did some research and found a printing company in Scotland that I decided to try. They ended up being superb (the company is Loxley Colour — I wasn’t paid for that plug and they’ll never see this post I shouldn’t think!) and the wall art they helped me create pleased the client. Since then I’ve printed all sorts with them and I’m looking to print a lot more, which is where this question comes in.

Having moved into a new house, I want to print a lot of my work and I wondered: should I buy an expensive printer and do it myself, or should I keep paying people who do it for a living? What do you do?


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