Photography has changed an awful lot over the last 100 years. Heck, it’s changed immensely over the last 20 years. Who am I kidding? With the rise of the cell phone, digital photography and social media have changed the industry in countless ways.
I would argue that one thing in photography hasn’t changed. Everyone loves looking at pictures whether it’s scanning images on Instagram or flipping through old photo albums, something is mesmerizing about viewing an image. This simple fact will never change. Everyone loves looking at pictures.
My kids will sit for an hour and check out an old photo album. They learn about their family and their history from those images. They like to share their lives through images on social media. Humans are obsessed with the visual.
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” — Aaron Siskind
So let’s get them off the computer
What could be better than a visual record or our lives? So why then are people so hesitant to print those images and display them? In the days of film, people used to take photos and leave the rolls lying around for years. Today we take photos on our phone and leave them there. Sure they get shared on Facebook or Instagram, but then we forget about them. Why? Why do we do this?
One excuse I’ve heard is, “It’s expensive to print and frame images.” Well okay, that’s valid. It can be pricey, I agree, but with a little ingenuity you can print out those images and share them easily. There’s something wonderful about handling a printed photograph. We shouldn’t lose that part of the industry. We should always print our photographs.
So without further ado here are some tips and tricks for printing and framing photographs in a way that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
1) Print in bulk
Every print company gives discounts for mass amounts of printing. Save up a whole bunch of images and print them all at once. You can drag and drop your favorite images into a folder and then when you have enough to meet their bulk prices you can upload and save (try Shutterfly). Just remember to print all the images at the same size. Even for large art prints, you can find savings by printing in bulk.
If you use an online lab, the shipping can be a real burden, but you can save money on shipping by ordering a lot at once. The larger the package, the cheaper it can be to get it shipped. A lot of companies also offer free shipping over a certain price. Take advantage of these offers and get your prints delivered in a cost-efficient manner.
2) Buy frames in bulk
If you’re like me and you love to fill your walls with images of your family, then it’s time you started buying frames in bulk. Go to your local framing store and talk to them about purchasing large quantities. Most stores will give a discount if you buy five frames of the same size.
Even for custom built frames, you can get a good discount by ordering several of the same size and style at one time. I use this strategy for framing art for galleries. I will print five images the same size and then frame them in the same way. It saves me a great deal of money, and the work looks very cohesive hanging on the gallery wall.
You can also check out online framing supply stores. Sites like Matshop offer great prices on frames, free shipping on orders over a specific amount and the ability to buy frames in bulk. You can also purchase bulk mat kits which are very useful. Purchase frames from your local framing store or pick them up at flea markets and add your mats and images.
3) Recycle old frames
For that crafty look visit garage sales or flea markets and pick up some old frames. Pop your matted images into these frames, and you’ve got a truly unique look for your work. It’s easy to find old frames for a few dollars if you know where to look.
4) Create magazines or photo books
It’s easy to upload your photos and use online printing services like Blurb to make photo books. Lightroom comes equipped with an interface for creating photo books and ordering from Blurb. It’s not very hard to create them and it’s very cost-effective. Plus you get to maintain some of the nostalgia of flipping through photo albums. Remember those days?
5) Buy a cork board
No seriously, purchase a few cork boards and pin prints to them. When you get tired of the images you’ve displayed, print out a few more and pin them up. You’ll get lots of comments from friends and family. They often stop to look at my corkboard. Sometimes I get comments like, “You know this is a cheap way of showing off pics. I need to do something like this.”
I usually switch up my images every season. The prints might be curled a little at the end of four months, but I put them in a labeled box, and I will recycle images pulling a few from an old box each season. It’s completely random which images end up on the corkboard.
6) Subscribe to printing company newsletters
I know it’s annoying to receive promotional emails, but honestly, most companies send out promo codes in their newsletters, and these codes can save you loads of money. Take advantage of 40% off codes to print out large canvases of your travel images.
Sites like Posterjack and 44 Wide often have sales that reduce the cost of printing. It means you can get a 100$ canvas for 60$. That makes for a cost-effective gift idea for a family member.
7) Turn them into coloring pages
My kids love it when I take their photos and turn them into something they can contribute to. There’s a very simple process using Photoshop that allows you to create outlines of your images. If you own Topaz you can use that plugin to create line drawings. There are lots of options available, give the process a try.
Print them out and let your kids decorate the fridge. You will always have the digital print you can use for more serious purposes. So let your kids go crazy, they can give Grandma orange hair or make your dress polka dotted. The images will become stronger memories when they can be seen on a daily basis.
There are lots of amazing and cost-effective ways to print and display your photographs. Be creative, think a little outside the box and try a few ways to incorporate your images into your daily life.
It doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. If you’ve got little kids, you can even find fun ways to create an art project involving photographs. We’d love to hear your tips and tricks for printing images. Please share your ideas with us in the comments below.
Let’s all get into the habit of putting photographs on our walls not just our Facebook page.