Printing is Alive and Well by Joe LaBarca

Today’s Wednesday Works comes from Joe LaBarca

Joe LaBarca Photo

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On Wednesday Works, we’ve discussed topics relevant to both the retail and professional photography industry. While we’ve talked about how as an industry we can drive printing, just as important as driving printing is the media on which you print.

First, why so much discussion of printing when some say printing is dead?  If you look at the statistics of number of pictures printed and compare to the number of pictures captured, it’s a very logical assumption because the number printed is such a low percentage.  However, let’s go a little deeper to understand why printing in general, and printing on silver halide photographic paper in particular makes so much sense.

In the beginning, there was film, and negative film required a print to be made.  While a seemingly obvious statement, as a result, you could say that 100 percent of images shots became prints. Consumers today still want prints, but they have the choice to print or not to print. So they don’t ask for every print, but rather, the “keepers” that they want to have around for months, years, and generations.  This includes consumer snapshots, as well as professionally captured images from important events such as weddings and school photography. While the amount of prints made today is certainly less than those made during film’s peak years, the number of prints made from digital is growing and the growth is accelerating, according to InfoTrends, in its January 2013 Consumer and Professional Imaging Analysis titled “Road Map 2013: Photo Printing Trends.

So let’s get the math straight – the percentage of images printed is smaller than ever because of the explosion in the number of images captured.  Many in the industry estimate that nearly 400 billion images were captured in 2012.  That’s four times more than the roughly 100 billion from film’s heyday.  And with this number growing the number of images printed will also grow even as the percentage of images printed versus captured continues to decline.  A fast rate in growth of images captured with a slower rate of decline in images printed versus captured, means images printed will grow.  And this growth could mean that prints from digital might actually meet or exceed the number of images printed during film’s peak in the not too distant future.  Bottom line: a very small percentage of a very large number is still a very large number.

So, as a professional photographer or a professional lab, how will you print this growing number of digital images?  Knowing that people want the “keepers,” as a professional lab or a professional photographer, you should consider what paper would ensure that these images last a lifetime. While there are many choices in digital printing technology, KODAK PROFESSIONAL ENDURA Premier Paper, is optimized specifically for digital printing and reflects the newest emulsion and dispersion/dye technologies to provide further improvements in an ongoing stream of benefits to the labs and the consumers. A technical paper presented to the International Symposium on Technologies for Digital Photo Fulfillment provides the technical specs of ENDURA Premier, as well as the benefits of this silver halide paper to both wedding/portrait and commercial labs. Among those benefits: the latest in efficiencies for high speed, low cost digital printing, providing consumers with greater color gamut and improved image quality. At the same time, the paper maintains the critical characteristics of excellent flesh tone reproduction and all-around image longevity that, in my opinion, simply cannot be matched by any of the other digital print technologies available today to professional labs and their clients.

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