Okay, I Took A Picture: Now What?

If you are going to the trouble of purchasing a camera, learning how to use it, and actually taking the camera out to take some pictures, it’s probably safe to assume you will want to see those pictures, right?

If you are using a film camera, of course, your options are limited. Finish the roll, take it to the drug store, the camera store, the department store, or anyplace else that lets you drop off film for developing. Three days and seven dollars later, you’ll have your pictures. The only thing I can add to this is, go ahead and spend the extra three dollars or so to have your pictures put on CD-ROM. This way, you can order extra prints and enlargements more easily. More on this in a few paragraphs.

If you are using a digital camera, this is where the fun can start.

The choices break down into three main categories:

  • Print the pictures yourself
  • Copy pictures from the camera/memory card and send them out to be printed
  • Let someone else copy the pictures from the camera/memory card and print them

Now, I have to be honest here: I have a friend who bought a digital camera and a memory card. She used that card for six months. When she wanted prints, she took the memory card to a store (which shall remain nameless) and had the pictures printed. After six months, she asked me if I knew how to explain to the people at the store that she only wanted the new pictures printed, she was tired of paying for extra copies of all her old pictures.

She had a large (256MB ) memory card. With her 2 megapixel camera, she had room for over 280 pictures. She never realized she could copy the pictures to her computer and erase them from the memory card. She is happier now, and using her camera more since she doesn’t have to worry about using up all of her memory card’s space.

So, should you print your own pictures? As always, it depends.

First of all, do you have a good quality printer. The good news is, you can buy a decent photo printer for less than $100. The bad news is that you will spend more than the cost of the printer on a set of ink cartridges. I use a Hewlett Packard Photosmart printer, and to replace the tri-color cartridge is about $32, and the photo cartridge is about $25. I also keep a black cartridge on hand for printing documents, at the cost of $17. (It takes the place of the photo cartridge in the printer.) Other brands have similar ink pricing.

Just to give you an idea, the black ink cartridge that I just put in my printer holds 19ml of ink. It would take 52.6 of these cartridges to yield 1 liter of ink. Given the price of $16.99 that I paid for that cartridge, that works out to $893.67 per liter, or more than $3,500 per gallon! I don’t suppose anyone can work up a way to print with gasoline, could you?

Next time, take a look at “outsourcing” your printing.