Because Why Not Print More While Spending Less?
A typical development & low-res scan package from a photo lab ranges anywhere from about $10 to $25 per roll depending on where you go. I'd typically spend about $13 at my lab. Add that to the cost of a roll of film, like my personal favorite Portra 800, and it's safe to say it cost me roughly $25 every time I wanted to shoot a roll of film to share with the world. Now mind you, the scans included in this cost only provided enough resolution to display on the web. For a truly high resolution scan needed for printing large formats, I'd be looking at anywhere between $5 to $25 PER NEGATIVE depending on just how much enlarging I'd need.
All that covers is just getting my photos ready to make prints, never mind the printing itself. At a fine art photo lab I'd be looking at anywhere from $50 to $100 per final print, never mind the costs of testing color profiles and paper stocks. When it's all said and done I'd easily be looking at a few thousand in expenses to print enough work for my upcoming solo exhibit. Now don't get me wrong, quality prints from a fine art lab are certainly worth it, but until people start shelling out thousands of dollars for my prints (give it time), these costs just weren't gonna cut it. I am a starving artist after all, I barely clear a few thousand in annual income...
So as I've moved into the printing era of my photographic endeavors, and now working on my third (and possibly also forth) gallery exhibit of the year, it became clear that it was time I took printing into my own hands. And with the successful test run of my digital printing method and print sale, I've decided to do just that. Thanks to an impeccably-timed rebate, I've recently invested in a large format digital printer from Canon (full review coming soon).
This seemed to make the most sense from a business perspective as well. As much as people tell me they like my photos, it's hard to like something enough to spend upwards of $200 a piece on it (lookin' at you, Tinder dates, hope you like Ramen), so I'll be the first to admit that the darkroom pricing options currently in my Print Store just aren't for everybody. And since I've officially reached the limit of how many pieces of furniture and/or photographic equipment I can reasonably fit into a studio apartment, my home darkroom project is going to have to wait a few years.
Still, it makes sense to offer a more economical solution for people who truly enjoy my work and would like to own a piece of it. Especially considering that the majority of my audience are other film photographers, and we all know how broke we are. But with that out of the way, there's still the other elephant in the room, in that scanning high res is fcking expensive. How do we solve this problem? Well, that's a good question for another time. (Hint: I'm bought a scanner too). For now, I've got some learning to do, as digital printing opens up a whole new science of photography that I have only just begun to scratch the surface of.