Custom Printing: 4 Things All Novice Photographers Should Know

white photo paper wood desk

Digital photography has truly revolutionized the way that photographers now tackle their projects. Long gone are the days where you must drop off your rolls of film at the local pharmacy to be developed and printed. It was only after they were developed where you would see how many photos were actually ‘keepers.’ Black photos, blinding sun bursts and rogue thumbs in the corners were a constant occurrence.

These days, digital cameras (from your basic snap n’ shoots to DSLR’s) effortlessly allow you to instantly delete photos, capture multiple angles and vantage points of your subject as well as provide on-screen options for endless effects. It’s true: The history of digital photography has changed a lot about the way we capture photos, but that doesn’t mean that the job is for everyone!

But where do novice photographers stand in the ever-changing world of digital photography? One of the aspects of photography that still seems to cause some trouble is custom printing.

Luckily, there is a lot of information out there to learn from. To help rookies out in this area, the following are 4 things all novice photographers should remember before printing their projects.

Printing at Home Has its Limits

blurred beach photo bokeh

The nice thing about photography is that you now have the option to edit and print your photos from the comfort of your own home. There are definitely quality photo printers on the market, and many of them can produce the same kind of quality as an industrial printer.

However, the limitations with this option boil down to size. If you’re imagining a large mural printing of your photos, then you’re out of luck with a home printer. In this case, a sheet of printer paper is the largest you’re going to be able to go with, unless you’re okay with puzzle-piecing your photos together.

If you’re going to be printing in bulk, you might consider using a printing service that has the potential to be better for quality and more cost-effective.

Mind Your Resolution

If you are thinking you want to create a larger-scale project for your photography, make sure you have a high enough resolution. It is important for larger photos to have higher resolutions so that there is no visible pixilation in the photo. Whether your project is an 11×17 or a polaroid, the correct resolution is crucial – no blurriness or pixilation should occur at any distance.

If your photographs don’t require a super high level of quality (large frames, posters), then the resolution can be set to a lower number. A good number to work with is 300dpi (dots per inch) to avoid sacrificing the quality.

Printer Paper Matters

hanging photographs clothing pins

It does not matter if you’ve created a masterpiece on your editing program. If your printer or ink cartridges for photo printing aren’t of high quality, you might be sacrificing the end result regardless.

There is lots to know about printing paper for photos, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time before you buy stacks of a certain style. If you’re going to be printing postcards or casual snapshots, then a glossy or semi-gloss paper will be effective.

However, these styles are shiny and have the ability to obscure a photo, especially if they’re going to be sitting inside a frame. Matte paper is ideal for showing off shadows and blacks and is also a great option for highlighting texture and detail.

There are all kinds of materials for you to choose from when it comes to your photographs – including canvas, metal, wood and aluminum. Depending on the look and feel you’re going for, there are endless mediums to use to show off your projects.

You Should Ask for a Proof

If you’re looking to print with a professional company, take the time to ask for proofs. This often isn’t done for you, so you’ll want to take this step on your own.

Asking for a proof will help to give you an idea of what the entire image will look like before you go ahead with the entire image. If you don’t like what you see, you can go ahead with another option without spending all of your money.


Even though the digital world of photography seems to be taking over, novice photographers should know that the true medium of a physical print lives on. If you’re looking to complete your masterpiece, it’s a good idea to invest in quality photo printing products to bring it to life.

Keep in mind that every photo may require some level of editing and as well as a unique medium to make it stand out. If you’re just starting out, consider printing a few photos at a time to create an impressive portfolio that doesn’t break the bank.