If you want to become a better photographer, it's really important that you can identify the features of an image that you like or dislike, and the aspects that could be improved on. The easiest way to do that is to print out a physical copy, which accurately represents the colours and image quality, and that you can hold in your hand and have a close look at.
For over a decade, Christine and her husband Marc Graf have specialised in wildlife photography with a focus on conservation. Their work has been published in books and magazines all over the world, including National Geographic.
"A printed photo looks different to how it does on the screen," says Christine, "and so it's actually a crucial task to print pictures and look at them almost anew. Identify the things you like and don't like about the image, then use this information the next time you shoot. Find out how to correct any mistakes you've noticed. The more you do this, the faster your learning curve will be."
"The impact created with a printed image will always be more substantial than digital pictures on the internet or social media platforms, where you have thousands of images popping up every day," adds Marc. "With a printed image, it's something special."
For printing at home, the stylish, wireless 3-in-1 Canon PIXMA TS8340 is ideal. With six individual inks and Canon's FINE technology, this A4 multifunction printer can produce photo lab quality prints and also handle work projects and family fun. Using Canon's ChromaLife100 ink, you can enjoy longer-lasting prints with up to 100 years of album life. There's even an SD card slot so you can print straight from your memory card.
Whichever printer you use, how can printing your photos improve your photography? Christine and Mac share their expert insights.
Print offers a way of sharing your favourite shots that isn't via USB. Why not make an album of your best shots and share this with friends? The physical nature of print means the images seem to hold more value, especially as a gift.
"There will be numerous occasions when you look at a printed photo and say, 'Oh, I never realised that was in the picture'," says Christine.
As eager exhibitors, Christine and Marc make use of the Canon imagePROGRAF Pro-1000 to print and evaluate their images, taking advantage of its ability to print up to A2 size and the colour accuracy of its 12-ink system. For even more versatility, including banner-sized graphic displays and exhibition-worthy, lifesize-plus prints of their subjects, which include a myriad of endangered species such as mountain bears and big cats, the couple put their trust in the Colorado 1640.
Sometimes moving forward means going back, and improving the way you shoot means being honest when evaluating your work. Using a printer such as the Canon PIXMA TS8340 can support this process.
Scrutinising a batch of shots in order to select an image to print forces you to hone your skill at identifying what attributes make an image good. If you're still unsure, just ask others, as Marc advises.
"The best feedback, good and bad, comes from when we show our images physically printed at exhibitions," he says. "The viewer is concentrating on something like ten images compared to possibly hundreds on Instagram. Narrowing their focus makes it feel more real, more serious. People are more honest with their opinions, which – given the context of our conservation photography – is all the more important."
One of the main problems with sharing images online is the lack of control you have over how others view your work, and particularly how colours appear. Using a Canon PIXMA TS8340 printer with ChromaLife100 ink technology, ensures your prints remain vivid in both colour and quality for up to 100 years* in an album.
"One of the reasons we've chosen Canon printers is because the colours are much more durable," says Christine. "Even after a whole year outside, exposed to UV radiation, our pictures look as if they were printed just a day ago, and so we can reuse the prints from our exhibitions year after year."
Written by Natalie Denton
* Based on accelerated testing by Canon in dark storage under controlled temperature, humidity and gas conditions, simulating storage in an album with plastic sleeves. Canon cannot guarantee the longevity of prints; results may vary depending on printed image, drying time, display/storage conditions, and environmental factors.