Budget-Friendly Printing Ink for Photography Beginners

photographer zooming into shot

Let’s face it: Printer ink isn’t always cheap. Sometimes, we give in and head to the local office supply store, and sometimes we do it every single time just because it seems like the easiest route. While this might work for people who rarely use their printers, those of us who are printing on a daily basis (hello teachers!) could certainly use some other options.

Finding ways to print at affordable prices isn’t as tough as you would think. In fact, there are quite a few options that make purchasing ink cartridges a lot cheaper! All we ask is that you remember that you can recycle your inkjet cartridges when you’re done with them. (There are lots of ways to recycle cartridges, so choose the option that works best for you!)

If you’re novice photographer and you’re ready to start showing off some of your best shots, then you’ll definitely benefit from some budget-friendly printing ink.

Try using some of the following tips to devote less time spending your money and more time admiring the new masterpieces on your walls!

Buying in Bulk

If you do a lot of printing at work or at home, then buying in bulk is a great solution for budget-friendly printing. Buying inkjet cartridges in bulk allows buyers to avoid spending excess dollars for individual cartridges, and instead gives them the option of saving extra dollars for larger orders.

This is an ideal option if you work in a busy office, or if you need a lot of ink for your photography projects. Not to mention, some companies offer printing rewards programs, so you can gather points and save even more on future purchases.

Instant Ink

loading film cameraIf you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to purchase a lot of printing ink, some of the best printer brands provide a great solution.

For example, HP offers an option called “HP Instant Ink” that helps users to order their ink straight from their printer. When your ink colors are getting low and you’ve done a lot of printing, the program will notify you and pre-order more ink for you.

Of course, you’ll need to have a printer that is eligible with the specific program. This program in particular requires a printer from a specific range of models from HP. From there, users can select a specific plan based on the amount of printing they do. The more expensive the monthly plan, the more you’ll save in the end!

For this particular plan, rollover pages are allowed and never run out. So, if you’ve got a quiet month of printing ahead, you won’t be penalized. If you do the math, it’s possible for you to save hundreds of dollars on ink cartridges with a program like this, so long as you’re willing to purchase a printer with the capabilities.

Epson EcoTank Printers

A printer like the Epson EcoTank replaces ink cartridges with refillable ink tanks. The amount of ink allows the supply to last much longer, and replacements are fairly inexpensive when the time finally comes to replace them.

However, the upfront costs of this kind of printer are expensive in comparison to other options, costing upwards of $300. If you need a printer that is smaller and more budget-friendly, you can easily find a quality printer for a third of the price.

Third-Party Ink

hand film camera closeup

Sometimes it can be helpful to purchase your ink from a third party, which means purchasing the cartridges from a business other than the actual manufacturer.

Oftentimes, these inks are recycled and have been refilled and resold for a more affordable price. If you’re a photographer who is looking for affordable ink options, third-party companies may be able to offer significant savings, while also providing you with an option that is much more earth-friendly than purchasing brand-new products from brand names.


When it comes to ink cartridges, cheaper isn’t always better. In fact, cartridges that are way cheaper than the original price point may not have the same kind of quality, which may transfer to your photos.

If you’re looking to get serious about your photography, you’ll also want to take quality printers into consideration. There are certainly some printers that will perform better when printing photos over others. They may be more expensive upfront, but they are worth it in the long run.