Now is a great time to be a digital photographer, especially if you love making prints. Until recently, printmaking has always been one of the drawbacks of digital photography. No matter how hard we tried, we could never quite match the look of traditional darkroom prints. A few years ago, that quickly changed. Not only can digital prints look as good as their traditional counterparts in most ways they have surpassed them.
Compared to traditional prints, digital prints have wider color gamuts (the number of colors that can be accurately represented,) better contrast, longer archival lifespan, and better consistency from one print to another. There are still a few purists out there who thumb their noses as digital printing, but I believe that is because digital printing has taken the creative power of the elitists and put it into the hands of every day people. My favorite thing about digital printing is that it is very affordable for everyone to do in their own home.
There are two main parts to digital printing; the printer and the paper. Printers like the Epson Stylus Photo R1900 (MSRP $549 epson.com) and the Canon Pixma Pro9000 (MSRP $499 www.usa.canon.com) can both print photographic quality images on papers up to 13X19 inches. If they seem a little pricey, consider that you can easily print 11X14 prints for less than $2 each which are far superior in quality to what you can get from a grocery store photo lab.
The other consideration in digital printmaking is the paper. For ease of use, choose a paper manufactured by the same company as your printer. Also, matte and luster papers are easier to handle than glossy papers. If you chose to print on glossy paper, wear a pair of white cotton gloves available in most drug stores to avoid damaging the prints. When you are ready to experiment a little more, pick up a sample pack of fine art paper from Moab Paper (www.moabpaper.com.)
Interested in learning more about digital printmaking? Visit my exhibit at the Summit County Commons at 6:00pm on Saturday, June 7th. I’ll be there to explain the printing process used in each print on display.