I don't print them, unless as part of digital scrapbook pages. I enjoy looking at them on the screen. I post some on sites such as this. I also use quite a few in courses on horticulture and landscape design.
It depends entirely on how/why the photo was generated along with it's original use. We have an "echoing warehouse" of shots taken on contract, whether on film or digital over 25 years in business. We're sustaining 6 file cabinets full of film ranging through the full gamut of subjects, whether studio, wedding, commercial, advertising, industrial or scientific, as well as travel and general nature. It's surprising how often we have to go back to them, whether for funeral photos or historic reference. We can't use them (other than the travel and nature shots) for much more than that, but we can't seem to get rid of them either.
With the advent of digital (both image processing and now in original capture) we moved into the "disc era," with CDs and DVDs replacing film, but there's a gray area where we did our own scanning. Scan discs are filed with the original film, while discs from original capture are in 2 more file cabinets. Today we're burning few discs, instead backing up to at least two portable drives. And the "stack" of portable drives is growing.
We have a decided problem tracking images through those three warehouses. Yeah, Lightroom works to a point, but we have two locations over 30 miles apart with two desktop machines in each location and laptops moving around with us. Then there's the remote storage 2,000 miles away for critical images, in light of our earthquake/tsunami/volcanic local environs. LR is fine on a network or on single machines, but we just haven't been able to conceive a way to link it all together. Cloud storage might work someday, but only after we get out of the internet connection dark ages up here.
A high proportion of our work from the studio is printed, but with a growing measure of digital products. Virtually everything else is digital delivery these days, whether online or on a disc. We do zero printing ourselves, even relying on our lab for "nature" prints.
Someday, and sooner rather than later, we need a good fairy to wave a magic wand and pull it all together under one cover. We're working on a strategy, but it's complicated by 25 years of putting our name on the business and our photos. We plan to sell the business in the foreseeable future, but need to do it in such a way that the photos with our names on them leave with us, while the new owners can carry forth an established business name other than our own with a deep client file. The logical solution is to change the name of the business sooner rather than later while continuing to put our own name on the photos. That way new owners can carry forth the business and business name while we have a "clean break" between our photos and theirs. Good theory, but that means we have to buy new signs, letterhead and everything else with our PP logo on it, along with the necessary advertising and transition period. I'm rambling I know, but it raises an important point for anyone trying to develop a photo business:
DON"T put your name on the business if you plan someday to sell it as an intact entity with real property, etc. The typical small photo business consists of nothing more than photo files, a box of battered camera gear, and hopefully a measure of retirement savings. But if you're successful and acquire real estate, etc, it's worth much more to sell as an intact entity rather than the sum of its parts. In the end the home business can die quietly, but a storefront business can make major contributions to retirement plans if sold intact.
I store them on hard disks (665Gb at the last count), back them up (DVD or Blue Ray), develop them (Lightroom and sometimes Photoshop), post them (here and/or on Flickr), print them (Canon iPF5000 on Hahnemuhle paper or canvas), mount them (with acid free materials), frame them, hang them on my walls (always short of space), enjoy them, publish them (two Blurb books available on-line), give them away as presents (the recipients say they like them) and sell them (a few of them...)
After watching an on-line workshop by Brook Jensen of Lenswork I am now in the process of preparing a small folio entitled The Meaning Of Trees. This folio is 21.5 x 17cm in size and contains a few pages of text and 10 handcrafted prints. It will be available before Christmas and priced somewhere around £50. The first edition will be limited to 25 copies. I have not yet bought all the materials to make the folio covers and don't know how much time I will have to spend on it, so the price is not fixed yet.
Have any of you done something like this? What was your experience? Did they sell well?
Ruud - Have you looked at the online book makers? You can find plenty of reviews of them online now. I've used Blurb for two books. Joseph Rossback, once a very active member here (pre TPN 2.0), has used Blurb for numerous books. There is also Lulu, and many of the print houses offer book products as well. I've also seen some of the Apple books. While I would not consider these coffee table quality in terms of weight of the paper they use, they produce excellent results.
When TPN published our book, we used Blurb and it turned out great and their prices were very reasonable. And with Blurb and other online places, they print on-demand so you don't have to invest a lot up front on printing prior to people buying them. You can sell them straight through their site with your own markup above the cost of printing. Buyers don't see the printing cost. They only see your selling price.
Thanks Walter, I have made a few Blurb books and I think they are fine for colour work. Their printing process does not do justice to B&W work though. As they don't use a duotone process, but the same process they use for colour photography, I have found that there is a definite colour cast in some images, usually Cyan.
I have no complaints about the papers they use. A couple of months ago they introduced some new papers that I tried out and they are quite heavey and the matte one has a lovely texture and feel. Using these papers, which are of course significantly more expensive, will put the books in the 'coffee table' bracket.
I think the folio concept suits me, because it allows me to keep complete control over the end product and use the high-end materials (especially inks and papers) that bring out the best in my images. I just went to an arts materials shop in Manchester yesterday and spent a nice couple of hours (and some nice British pounds) choosing the tools and materials that I am going to use for my first handcrafted folio. Thinking about it, I could write an article about the process. Interested?
Walter raises very good points about small-run books. And "small" is being redefined each year. I'm currently editing a new release of a local book that sold 50,000 copies over 10 years and multiple reprints. In discussions with the publisher it's still "small run" because the initial printing was only 10,000 and no subsequent reprint was more than 5,000. If the author was ordering 50,000 copies right up front he would qualify for significant price breaks, but he can't risk more than 10,000 this time either. The problem is, he's a little too "big" for Blurb or Lulu from what he has been able to determine in talks with them.