Digital Photo Prints > Print at Home

Print at Home

Get high-quality photographic prints with your home computer

I know you want to jump right into the details of creating great prints at home. Before we do, let's take a moment to review the pros and cons of printing at home.

To Print at Home or Not

Here is a quick summary of some of the pros and cons of printing at home. We'll talk about each one in more detail in a moment.

Pros of Home Printing Cons of Home Printing
  • Instant prints without the wait
  • Cheaper in the long run
  • No need for a computer
  • No need for a fast Internet connection
  • Photos may not have a long shelf life
  • Ink tanks are incredibly expensive
  • Trial and error to get good prints
  • You are your own technical support

Cheaper Instant Prints

For anyone out there who likes instant gratification — you know who you are — printing at home is the most convenient and lets you get instant prints of your digital photographs. Take some shots, print them a moment later. It's that easy.

For the cost-conscious, printing at home may also pay for itself in the long run. Even though the ink tanks for photo printers are expensive and have to be replaced frequently, the cost of them does not add up to the overhead when you use a print service.

The printers themselves are also now cheap enough so that the initial investment won't break your bank account.

Look Ma! No Computer!

Many photo printers today feature slots for your digital camera memory cards. All you have to do is insert your memory card, select the photos that you want to print, and the printer does the rest. For this type of printing, you don't even have to have a home computer — just the digital camera and printer will do.

If you have a home computer with dialup connection to the Internet, you can leave it that way. The biggest drawback of using the online printing services is that a fast Internet connection is a must. If you have a modem Internet connection, it will take you hours to upload just a few photos to print.

Tricky Fading Prints

So here's the catch of printing photos yourself: it may take a bit of trial and error to get your printer set up with the right paper and the correct print settings so that you get the quality prints you are expecting.

Should the printer act up or not print properly, it's entirely up to you to determine what the problem might be (empty ink tank, etc.). Maybe the problem is that your monitor is not calibrated to match your printer output.

And now, for the real catch: photos printed on home printers do not have the shelf life of film prints or digital prints made by a lab. Without archival quality film paper and long-lasting inks, your photos will start to fade within 5 to 10 years. Photos made at most labs are guaranteed to last 50 to 100 years.

I Know What I'm Getting Into

If none of the cons of making your own prints is a problem for you, then dive right in. We'll start with an introduction to the different types of photo printers you can purchase.

Photo Printer Information is coming soon!