- After you take a photo and enhance it to look its best, what's left? Showing it to other people, of course. You'll want to get your best work out there online and in print. In this internet age, most people don't print photos. That's too bad because printing a photo elevates it. It turns the photo from a bunch of dots on your screen into a tangible thing that you can hold in your hand and hang on the wall. Now, doing high quality printing is an art unto itself. Your computer screen and a piece of paper represent images in completely different ways.
Because of this, it's easy for things to get lost in translation. Colors in a print might not look the same as they do on your screen. Contrast and brightness and sharpness might be different. It's not unusual to waste some paper and ink making tweaks in your imaging software until you get the results you want. To cut down on trial and error printing, a lot of photographers use color management and color calibration tools. These are designed to give you more predictable, more accurate results. You can preview on the screen how your photo will look on paper.
It's called a color manage workflow, and setting it up takes more time and more hardware. As photographer Ben Long says, "You can buy a lot of paper and ink, "with the money you'll spend on color management." Still, it's worth learning about if you're going to be doing a lot of printing. After you've made the perfect print, the only thing left is to frame it on a wall. You can buy ready made frames and pre-cut mats, but it isn't that hard to make your own, either. As you'll learn in our course: Matting, framing and hanging your photographs. Combine it with our course on staging a photo exhibition, and you'll be ready to hang your photos in a gallery, in a studio or in your house.
A great variation on the printing theme is to turn your photos into a book. A lot of photo software can do this, including Lightroom, PhotoShop Elements, and Apple's Photos for OSX. To make the job easier, they include predesigned templates. Choose one, add photos and text, and then order your book and wait for it to arrive. If you like shooting photo stories, this is a great way to present them. There are also online services that have book publishing features. One of the best known is called Blurb.
In fact, the book publishing features in Lightroom are powered by Blurb. Blurb also has its own software and free templates that you can use with layout programs like Adobe InDesign. You can use the design templates to get quick results and, if you're a designer, you can use InDesign to create completely custom books. You can also set up an online storefront on Blurb.com to sell your books. In addition to photo books, a lot of programs let you create calendars and custom greeting cards. All of these print products are great ways to get your photos onto paper.
Now, as much as I love paper, I have to admit that this internet thing seems to be catching on. Online sharing is the best way to get your photos in front of a global audience, to build a following, to promote your business, and to be a part of the worldwide community of people who love photography. For a lot of people, sharing online means sharing on Facebook. That's great for sharing with your Facebook friends, and most photography software, including mobile apps have Facebook sharing built right in. But, sharing photos on Facebook is a little like posting them on the bulletin board in a supermarket.
Sure, they'll get seen, but they'll be mixed in with everything else that people are sharing and talking about. To do justice to your photos online, you'll also want to share them on a site that's dedicated to photography, like flickr, from Yahoo! It's the granddaddy of photo-sharing sites, and it, too, is supported by most photo software and mobile operating systems. Flickr also has a strong member community, with online forums called groups, where people discuss gear and shooting, and everything around it. Flickr has a very nice mobile app, but for most mobile photographers, Instagram is where the action is.
The free Instagram app has some surprisingly powerful editing features, including all those filters that people love, and sometimes over love, and the Instagram community is vibrant. In fact, Instagramers will often get together for meet-ups, they're called Instameets, to take photos and hang out. And finally, there's the world of eBooks, another relatively new publishing option. Combine text and graphics, add audio and video if you want, into a digital book for viewing on a tablet. One tool for creating these books is Apple's free iBooks Author software.
You can also use InDesign CC, and other tools. As you can see, there are as many ways to share your photos as there are subjects to photograph. Take advantage of them. Putting your photos out there and looking at what other people are doing can help you improve your work.
- Essential gear, including cameras, lenses, accessories, and smartphones
- Shooting skills
- Using software to manage and edit your images
- Sharing and printing photos