digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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New Challenge – It’s Time to Get Printing Your Photos

Well the first challenge on Digital Photo Mentor, Showcase Your Best Images, had such a huge response I couldn't have been more impressed! That one is now over. Way to go everyone, it was so great to see you putting your work out there and taking action. We randomly selected 10 finalists from all 62 qualified entries. These ten were randomly selected:

  1. Funkylfc –
  2. Heather Lowewen –
  3. Stephen Trowell –
  4. Dave Kramer –
  5. Christophe Broult –
  6. Terri Schulze –
  7. Jim Ruse –
  8. JohnnyB53 –
  9. Lyn Stockdale –
  10. Sean Cawley –
Taken with my iPhone and processing using Snapseed.

We wanted the selection process to be as fair an unbiased as possible. So we had our cat, Munchkin (isn't she cute?!) pick the winner. She's totally unbiased unless of course you give her cat treats!

Big congratulations to Christophe Broult for winning the year of Zenfolio Premium membership! We've already been in touch by email but if you haven't received it please reach out using the contact form and we'll make sure you get your prize. Zenfolio may be in touch to let you know you've been upgraded to the premium status no charge. Congratulations to you and everyone that participated. We were overwhelmed with the response.

Now it's time to take on the next challenge.

Printing your photos

In this age of digital photography I find that printing your photos has almost gone the way of the Dodo bird. Your photos live on hard drives, memory cards, on social media, and if you participated in the last challenge in your new portfolio. But when was the last time you printed anything?

Image by James Morley

I have many students in my classes who've never actually printed a single one of their images. To me that is sad and if you are in the category you're also missing out on some learning experiences. By making prints and holding them in your hands, it gives you a completely different experience and feeling than looking at images on a screen. Here are just some of the benefits of making prints:

  • Touch: You have five senses and touch is a powerful one. You engage your sense of touch by making prints.
  • Longevity: Putting a print on the wall makes it a bit more timeless.
  • Enjoyment daily: Putting one of your images on the wall you are able to see it every time you are in that room or walk past it. You will get daily enjoyment and feel pride for something you created.
  • Accomplishment: Prints give you a feeling of having accomplished something, like somehow you've made it or at least taken a big step in the right direction.
  • Share your joy: If you have other family members in your home or live with roommates you get to share that little piece of you with them. They get to also experience your image.

Back in the days of film I used to do a lot of my own darkroom work and printing was a much more time consuming and arduous task. Now you just upload your files to an online printing service and it comes in the mail, or you do it at a store and have your prints minutes later. For me some of that magic is gone, but if you have not done a lot of prints from your images this is the challenge for you.

The challenge

So your challenge is going to be a bit more specific than just – print something. These are the parameters of the challenge and yes there will be a prize again for one lucky random winner.

  1.  Step one: Select a photo you would be happy to see on your wall every day. One that makes you happy just looking at it. One that brings back a memory or gives you fuzzy warm feelings. It MUST be an image you took!
  2. Step two: Order a print with a minimum size of 16″ on the shortest side. So a 16×24″, 20×30″, 24×36″ are all good sizes. You can choose a regular print, canvas or something fancy like metal or acrylic but your cost will go up with each one of those options. If budget is a factor just stick with a regular print.
  3. Step three: Get it framed or mounted to hang up. This may be an option when you order the print. I'll list a few websites below that do online printing so you can get some ideas. The benefit of a canvas print, or gallery wrap as some sites call them, is that you don't usually have to frame them so while the print is more to begin with you save the framing cost.
  4. Step four: Hang it up and display it proudly in your home.
  5. Step five: Take a photo of your print on the wall. Make sure you can see some space around it and what it's next to so the size of the print is obvious. Placing it over a couch or sofa and including the furniture in the photo will do the trick.
  6. Step six: Share the photo you took in step five with us in the comments below as well as just the original image you got printed.
  7. Step seven: Give yourself a pat on the back. You done good!
The Grotto on the Wall by Trey Ratcliff

I'm guessing now your inner voice is doing some talking. Is it saying any of these things?

  • But my work isn't good enough to print or make large
  • I can't afford it
  • No one will want to see my photos
  • I don't know how to do it

Some of that is fear, some is excuses – you know which is which. The only thing you can do it push past them all and just do it anyway. The most fearless people in history didn't conquer their fears, they just took action in spite of them. As for cost and being able to afford it I've listed some resources below that you can do this for less than $20. If you truly can't afford that then get the largest print you can afford – just participant in the best way you can.

Deadline to enter

The cutoff date and time to post your comment and enter this challenge is November 23rd at midnight EST.

The prize

If you just do this challenge you'll already be a winner because you'll have a great piece of your own art proudly displayed in your home. But if you want to enter to win just share a photo of your print hanging on the wall, like Trey's image above shows. Upload it in the comments below and one random winner will be selected from everyone that does the challenge and comments below. You can win:

A $50 gift certificate of your choice

With a few limitations, you can choose from:

  • An Amazon gift card (if you are outside Canada or the US I may not be able to get one for your country)
  • Gift card from an online printing service so you can order more prints (I have to be able to buy a gift card from them from Canada)
  • A $50 gift certificate for either of the Digital Photo Mentor courses or towards one of our photo tours if you want to come along with us on an adventure.
  • A $50 gift card to Kiva which helps entrepreneurs by providing micro loans. So by using your winning in this way you would get to choose who you want to help out and once the loan is repaid you can lend it again or withdraw the money. So you'd be giving back with your prize if you choose this option.
Photo by Delete

Here is a list of places where you can order prints. I am not affiliated with any of these, nor do I get anything for suggesting them.

  • Shutterfly – they often have sales so if you sign up just wait to get an email from them and you'll likely get a big saving discount. Regular price for a 20×30 print is $22.99.
  • Snapfish – you can pick up prints ordered online at Walmart or Walgreens. Price for a 20×30 is $19.99.
  • Mpix – this one is a little more expensive but is more of a professional lab so quality will likely be higher. A 20×30 is $26.99 but you also have a choice of Pearl paper, gloss or the regular lustre.
  • Adoramapix – online print ordering from NYC photo store. They offer different paper surfaces also, and a 20×30 is only $18 here.

Those are just a few, check your local area as well. Most Costco stores offer printing, local camera stores, drugstores, etc. Compare local to online and make sure to verify any shipping costs too. Just keep in mind that the cheapest is usually not the best so going for quality is usually a better choice. Make sure to also send the correct file size and format required for that lab and check with them if you aren't sure as each printer is slightly different. If you get a print back you aren't happy with contact their customer service so see how they can help.

Good luck and GO!



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