Instagram for photography is dead. Now’s the perfect time to learn new skills so that you can print your images and share them in the real world.
Unless you’ve been living under a huge rock, you’ll know that Instagram as we know it is dead. The platform that photographers built has been swiped from under us and is now nothing but the Wish version of TikTok. So, what now, fellow photographers, shall we do? Well, you can succumb to the demands of the Instatok gods by transitioning your posts to video, or you can walk away and find a more fulfilling way to share your images.
We get it; Instagram can be hard to give up. Having countless tens (let’s face it, Instagram is now so bad for photographers that you’re lucky to get into double digits for likes) can be thrilling; however, I know you can’t fill that empty space in your photography-loving heart that should be made complete by sharing your work. However, there is a way to fix that.
The power of printing your images
The art of printing has been dying since the rise of Instagram. This is a shame because the power of printing your images is unmatched. Seeing your digital image become something you can see right in front of you, something you can touch, is incredible. Social sharing has never elicited strong feelings of joy — for me at least — however, printing does. Seeing your work come to life is indescribable.
Contrary to popular belief, you can be a successful photographer offline. While it can be fun to post your images to various social media accounts, which you should still do if you enjoy it, it’s far more beneficial to learn how to print your pictures and share them in the real world. You’ll become a better photographer. You’ll get a boost in your creativity, and you’ll be able to make meaningful connections via networking. There’s even a chance to make a little cash too. So let’s take a look at the benefits of printing your images.
You’ll become a better photographer
Editing your images and then posting them online is one thing. Seeing your images in person when blown up to large sizes is entirely different. When you print your photos, you’ll be able to see any issues with your pictures. Your color grading might be off. The sharpness level might be less than you were expecting. Any problems with your composition will be amplified. Digital noise and artifacts introduced from editing too hard will be clearer too.
Listing some potential bad scenarios that can come from printing makes the process sound horrible. However, in reality, these issues will ultimately help you become a better photographer. Seeing the problems listed above will help you better understand where you need to improve. They will teach you how to edit correctly, and even better, they will inspire you to get your images right in camera.
You can showcase your images in local shops, art shows and photo books
When you start printing your photos, you’ll start wondering what you can do with your work. You can, of course, decorate your home with your pictures. However, it is better to start putting your photos to work for you by showcasing them in local art shows, businesses, and coffee table photo books.
Don’t be afraid to approach a local coffee shop or a restaurant. Ask them if they will allow you to display and sell your work from their business in exchange for a small commission fee every time a piece of your art sells. You’ll get the satisfaction of knowing real people who aren’t hiding behind a screen are admiring your work, and you might even profit from it. That’s much better than getting a virtual high five on Instagram.
Art shows and photography competitions offer another way to get your images in front of people. I can tell you that it’s much more rewarding to receive a like in person than online. You can even tell a story with your images by arranging, printing and selling photography books. The options are endless. So, do not be afraid to enter competitions, rent a small booth at a trade event or create a book. You never know who might fall in love with your work.
Printing your images will enable real-world networking
We’re taking the theme from above one step further here. Printing your photos and placing them in competitions or local businesses will open many doors for networking. Forget about random people and bots sliding into your DMs; networking with people in your local area can pay huge dividends.
When people view your work and like what they see, it creates an opportunity for them to reach out and interact with you. A simple “hi” could turn into a sale. What was one sale could blossom into a dozen. Networking with one person can lead to many more introductions that could create more opportunities for you down the road. Thanks to word-of-mouth, you won’t even need to pay for advertising to get your name out there as you do on social media sites.
Networking with real people, whether business owners, fellow photographers or potential clients, is so rewarding. The genuine friendships and even business opportunities you can create just by printing your images make it worth the effort.
Printing boosts creativity
As mentioned above, seeing your images come to life will invoke feelings that posting to social media cannot match. You’ll be so enamored with your work that you’ll be itching to capture the perfect scene again to see it in print.
Another area that makes printing so much fun is paper and different print media. The type of printer paper you print your images on will drastically alter how they turn out. Semi-Gloss, Matte, Luster, Barytra, fiber paper and others will yield different results. Once you learn how each different paper looks and feels, you’ll set out to create images for each type of paper.
Calm down. While it’s true that you will have to invest in a printer and media or send your files to a printing service, the cost of entry is worth it. Printer technology has improved so much over the last few years. As a result, you don’t have to go out and spend a fortune to get a good printer. I use the Epson SureColor P900 (read our review here), which is a pricey printer, but then I sprint and sell my images.
You could quite easily spend far less on a printer. The Canon Pixma Pro 100, the Canon G620 or Epson’s Expression Photo XP-970 spring to mind. All three are solid budget printers. However, if you want better quality, look at the Epson Surecolor P700 / P900, the Canon PROGRAF 300 or Canon PROGRAF PRO-1000.
So, yes, posting to social media gets a point because it’s free. I mean, it’s not really, you pay for it with your soul, and you get bombarded with ads. So, it’s time we bring back the second half of photography, the printing stage. It’s time to step away from social media sites that really don’t care about their user base. It’s time for us creators to make our images shine and work for us. So, start printing, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy photography and sharing your work a lot more.