Digital photographers almost never print their work, but they should.
Well, for one thing, while digital formats change, printed work stays the same pretty much forever. Also, a nice print hangs on the wall a lot better than a digital image stored on a drive.
On a personal note, I know I don’t print enough of my own work. When we were dating, my wife printed a shot I took of that year’s “super moon” and gave it to me in a frame. It was a reminder of all the things we talked about that night and, in many ways, a symbol of the real start of our commitment to each other. All that, embodied in a single print, which I still have on my dresser. And, I have a number of photos that I’m very proud of that I could print, frame and hang and be pleased to look at for a long time.
So, with that all said, I have two links for you about printing your photos, both from PhotoFocus.
First, there’s the article by Pamela Ann Berry, Printing is the Lost Art of Photography that gives you even more reasons why to print and some of the basic concepts you need to know before you prepare your work for printing. Although it’s not incredibly detailed, she does cover sizes that work best on walls, and that printers generally offer by default, as well as some considerations for color management. Of course, whole books and training courses have been written about digital color management for photography, so this is really the most basic stuff.
Secondly, there’s How Many Megapixels Do I Need to Print? by Vanelli, who gives you some great guidelines for how much data you need to capture to produce good, high-quality, high-resolution prints. Of course, opinions vary on some of this, but, mostly, the math he uses bears out. And, there are some ways to improve your work for print, too, like the Alien Skin Blow Up plugin that lets you maintain resolution and blow up your shot to a good size for printing. (I don’t get any money from them to say this, but the Alien Skin Photo Bundle is a great deal on great software, which I use!)
For most of us, these two articles will be more than enough to produce great prints that we would be proud to hang on our walls or gift to friends. If you haven’t done it, I highly recommend that you print some of your favorite photos for your wall. Maybe even this weekend!