Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Making prints (and photo books)

I got a question whether I have some of my own photographs printed and hanging on the wall. I pondered whether this is a matter of "eating your own dogfood", but perhaps this saying is not appropriate here. In any case, the answer is no, not currently - although we do have some family photographs on display, but that is another matter.

The only recent "prints" I have made of my landscape photographs are the photo books in SoFoBoMo projects. I have used the Standard Landscape format a Blurb, in softcover (book dimension 25 × 20 cm). This is a nice small thing to handle, and the images are big enough to give some impact.

For SoFoBoMo 2011 I have been thinking whether to try the Large Landscape format, which is hardcover and the dimensions are 33 × 28 cm. I thought I would aim for something more substantial than so far, maybe 60-80 pages or so, and the format such that it would include some text and perhaps some inventive layouts as well. I think the initial format would be an evolution of my SoFoBoMo 2010 books, something between Filling the square: play and dream and Summer in black and white squared.

As the SoFoBoMo month moves one month forward each year, the event will soon take place in autumn, during the time when the leaf colors come out. Then I could make a photo book of colorful trees. (By the way, is the right term "fall foliage", "autumn leaf colors" or what? In Finnish we say "ruska".)

One aspect of having photographs hanging on the wall is the printing: what is the best way to do it? I currently have a cheap Canon inkjet which I occasionally use for printing out family snapshots and such, but for something hanging on the wall one needs to have a reliable workflow, including color profiles etc.

In the TOP print sale there was this impressive statement about the paper and printing: "Both of these prints are made on Canson Platine Fibre Rag paper on an Epson 11880 using Epson UltraChrome K3 inks."

Would there be a way of approaching such quality through the commercial photograph printing services? And I suspect one would need to do some experiments to get the prints just right, for example fine-tuning the sharpness etc. settings.

Also, one would need a photograph which would be worth hanging on the wall. As my intent is not to make anything of such lofty ambition level but just to practice taking photographs for the fun of it, I'm not sure whether this is the way to go. But maybe some day there will be a photograph which would be just right on the wall.

As to the question whether I have something close to the Charles Cramer print which I bought, I didn't find any. And last year autumn was so terribly wet that I mostly took photographs of mushrooms, or closeups of colorful spots. Well, a couple of times there were trees also.

And coming back to winter, we are having it cold as you see in the photographs taken today.


Odykal said...

I first visited Light Scrape after a post in dpreview about someone who had shot 100.000 frames with his camera.
After I browsed a few photos I could not understand what all the fuss was about.
The photos I had just seen seemed dull and boring to say the least.
In the following days I made a habit of visiting Light Scrape just to verify the first impression I got from Juha's work.
When for the first time I saw one photo that spoke directly to me I thought: "Well that is random. After all he is taking hundreds of pictures every day. One of them ought to be good".
A few months later after more excellent
images came out of Juha's daily portfolio I said to myself: "At least he is consistent.He keeps shooting every day and every day he posts something new."
I do not remember the exact point after which I started considering the work presented in this blog as Magnificent, but I do remember it was the same time I realized your Biggest disadvantages as a photographer.
You are too modest and too honest and vice-versa.
Too honest because even if it was a sparse day in terms of photo-shoot you still post your results and too modest because you don't choose among your "children". You consider all your photos that survived your work-flow as equals.
The digital era in photography made it all too easy to shoot and produce images and most people consider easy as unworthy.
Your consistency and your work-flow makes up a discipline unmatched by anyone and often produce photos worth hanging in any Living-room or any gallery for that matter.
With that in Mind I will leave you for today but I will be back with more thoughts your blog has provoked and are worth sharing.

Novelty Pens said...

Frame the pictures, hang them on your wall and most of all enjoy them! Very Nice!

Carl said...

In the states there are plenty of places where you can have your files printed on good paper using high-end printers. There must be some in Finland, too. They don't tend to be cheap, though.

A greater problem is that files for printing need to be prepared differently from files for the web. Not just sharpening, but tonality as well. WYSIWYG is a myth, even with full calibration and profiling. That means back and forth testing to see what you have to do to make a good file for printing. Printing a high resolution original of a JPEG file that looked great on-screen is likely to yield a disappointing print.

Juha Haataja said...

@Odykal: Thanks! I tried to write some words as a reply.

@Carl: Thanks, have to see how it goes.