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Digital Photo Printing: Commercial or Home Brew?

Ever since I got into digital photography 2 years ago, I’ve always sent my digital photos to commercial printers. I personally use DigiPrint as I’m also a member of their DigiPrint Pro club.

I’ve also noticed a lot of friends and fellow bloggers giving out personal calling cards made from printed photo papers. Some are done commercially (3 pieces can fit in a 4R) while others do their own printing. So, which one is actually better?

Canon Pixma iP4300Just the other day, I bought a Canon Pixma iP4300 Photo Inkjet Printer. I thought I’d also try some home brew photo printing and see how it goes. I have tons of samples from DigiPrint to compare it with. At the same time, I can also do the calling cards by myself.

There are some drawbacks on either approach.

Commercial printing is cheaper (Php5.50 to php6.50 for a size 4R) especially with bulk printing. You have wider choices in terms of print sizes — 3R to 12″ x 18″ (some even higher). However, since they usually do bulk, you’ll need to accumulate several dozen pictures first before going to the printers. You can have one or two copies printed but it’s a lot of hassle to go out just to do that.

On the other side, printing your own photos at home is much more convenient. However, the initial cost could be a little steep. Though there are some less expensive photo printers that you can get for about Php2,500, they don’t support higher resolutions too. Still, for some, the convenience is a huge payback since you can experiment and do the printing right away.

Obviously, the combination of both is always the best set up. Do you guys do your printing yourself? If so, what photo printers do you use and what’s the most recommended one to get that’s currently available in the market.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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16 Responses

  1. Dexter says:

    In Saudi Arabia I may say that it is better to send it to Commercial Printing is cheaper and gives a better resolution.

    It is expensive if you will print using your own printers.

    But on the hand if you are only printing 2 to 3 pics it is more convenient to do it at home.

  2. Elizar says:

    hey, i just bought an Epson C79 too for photo printing.. though it may not look so professional, it will do for LAN shop small business..

    modified it for continuous ink system (CIS)

  3. quezacolt says:

    commercial printing is still the best for me :)

  4. Lisa says:

    I go to commercial printers. There’s a good one in Astoria Plaza – DPI, I think. If I could afford it, I’d go for printing on my own. If properly color managed, your photos could look exactly the same printed as they do on your monitor (which would be such a refreshing change for me). Unfortunately, monitor calibrators cost at least 7k each.

  5. Aiza says:

    medyo magastos especially that ink is really expensive! never mind the printer, printers are cheap nowadays but the ink??!! peesh.

    so i’d go for commercial parin.

  6. Lani says:

    I always go for commercial printing. Ask ko lang saan iyong nagpi-print ng size up to 12″ x 18″? I am into digiscrapping kasi and I need to print my projects, size 12″ x 12″. Thank you.

  7. joyLao says:

    just wana know,, where in manila should i go for cheap but clear volume printing? say 10,000 pieces of 5″x 7″.. thanks.

  8. Carmen says:

    I’m having problems with my printer C79. Hindi nya ma detek ang ink cartridge na ininstal ko..It happened once nung nag instal ako ng black ink (T031). Luckily pinalitan sa binilhan kong computer shop. Tapos nangyari ulit ito recently. Pinalitan ko na yung CYAN ink (T032), at hindi ulit ma detek ng C79 kong printer..Ano kaya ang may problema? Yung mga ink na nabibili ko, o yung C79 na printer ko..

    Pls answer. thnks

  9. ann says:

    supplier aq ng photo papers, films, sticker, digital machines and inks for desktop printers.. just e-mail me kung interested [email protected]

  10. pinklight says:

    hi! i just started digiprint dito sa neighborhood. kz wala pa dito pero in demand lalo na sa students. EPSON lang ang printer ko pero ok ang resolution. You think dapat ako mag CIS? Hindi ba yun nakakasira ng printer? tnx

  11. I love taking photos. I need to spend more money and get a decent camera though. Anyways, nice and informative content and your blog in general looks very cool. Keep up the good work.

  12. erap says:

    price of home based printing (inkjet based) is still high compared to photolabs. yes you could get cheap photopapers and maybe even continuous inks but definitely the quality will suffer. And photolabs which still use silver-halide based processing still produces better durability for photos compared to inkjets. I asked a local photolab printer here in my area whats the actual cost per 3r/4r and he said its roughly around 2 pesos only!

  13. Jun Mendoza says:

    I have my pictures printed in Tronix Imaging Center. The quality of their prints is superb
    using premium glossy resin coated paper. They
    are cheap and fast and very good quality. So far
    Pictures I had printed more than 4 years ago shows no sign of fading.

  14. Catherine says:

    I have tried http://www.photojeepney.com, its nice they only not have online printing and delivery but they also have caricature services etc. you can enjoy. Tried once but willing to do more of it and recommend it to my friends. =) Hope this one helps.

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