5×7 Prints – A Secret Weapon

Digital photography has taken over as the main photographic method today. Ironically, go back just a few short years and most of us were shooting film, buying film, developing film, and getting prints for all out efforts.

Digital photography has changed all that. There is no longer a “photographic paper trail” of what we have taken pictures of. Sure – the camera guys sees the pictures, but once upon a time everyone got to see the pictures. Now, photography has gotten more private and a personal media.

Using a home printer is a great start and a lot of print manufacturers have gone a long way to  try to make it as easy as possible to print your pictures at home.


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Still, most of us don’t have very many tangible pictures anymore. Didn’t used to be that way. Let’s change that!

Prints are awesome. All people like to see prints – ESPECIALLY if they are IN them :)   Dad’s love prints, mom’s love prints, kids love prints, stuck-up nasty people love prints, nice people love prints, it’s hard to think of a group of folks that don’t like prints.

Trouble is they are few and far between. It is a lot easier to get prints than most people think.

The standard print is 4×6. Personally, I think they are a little small and from my professional background I am very used to the old 5×5 prints I used to get from my medium format cameras.

Enter the 5×7 print. These little puppies are bigger than the standard 4×6, have tons of cheap album books you can buy at dollar stores, Walmart and almost anywhere you look. They make simple pictures look a lot more like “wow” pictures just because of the extra real estate.

Here is another little secret. Don’t be cheap, spend a few bucks :) BUT spend it wisely. For my own work I use inhouse printers like the 44 inch professional Epson 9880 printer, but for my own personal pictures I use an online company called Ftki.com. The prints are darn cheap there, cheaper – MUCH cheaper than I can print them myself. You get great quality but you lose instant gratification. But that is more than made up for when you go to your mailbox and open up a nice fresh pack of your 25 5×7 prints.

Get an account there, set yourself up a little system where you always pick out 20 or so prints from an event, load them up and order the prints. I have a folder on my hard drive for every “event” I take pictures of. For example, if my niece Christina has a party then I have a folder titled 2009-05-08 Christina’s Party on my hard drive inside another folder named Peter Pictures.

You can name your folders by date like I do, or you can name them by the event or person and it will be alphabetized. that is your own personal choice.

To finish my thought though, inside the folder on my hard drive named 2009-05-08 Christina’s Party, there is a number of other folders designed for my own personal workflow. One of those folders is Gratification Prints. I put images I want to print inside here and upload that folder to Fotki. In about 4 days i get prints back in the mail. Not just any prints, but 5×7 prints that attract attention like a magnet. Sorry but 4×6 prints just don’t do that :)

I have no dealings with Fotki, so this is not an unfair plug. In fact, as i was writing this article I started wishing I had my own print lab, if a thousand of readers start making prints it could be a pretty big business :)   Oh well, I am on this side of the camera though.

You don’t need to print with Fotki though, find a high quality low price lab of your own. Costco comes to mind – actually it just got shouted at me from down the hall as someone was looking over my shoulder as I am writing – lol. Seriously though, with Costco you need to get a profile for the individual store you go into, plus the prices are higher. Fotki is a no pain in your wallet print place which is why I use them.

Start making prints folks :)   You will love the attention, and the self gratification you get when you see your work in person, and even better – when someone says WOW, these are nice!!!

Happy shooting and see you online!

Peter Gregg

Questions? askpetergregg.com
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