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Image / Living / Culture

Something to do in lockdown? Sort out the photos at home


by Amanda Kavanagh
13th Jun 2021

It’s difficult enough to be motivated to sort through thousands of images to create photo books, never mind researching the best places to print photos online. Thankfully, we have some shortcuts.

One of my favourite things to do is tell myself I’ll print some of the 5,000 images on my phone’s camera roll. What I actually do is; back up my phone occasionally, then break that phone and lose lots of images in the process. I almost never print anything.

This cycle has been going on for some time, and it’s now 7 years – and 3 or 4 phones ago – since I have printed photo books. To print photos, you need some incentive. Boredom is one, the overwhelming anxiety that time is fleeting and nothing is tangible is another.

Whatever prompts you, these top Irish photographers can lend a helping hand, as they recommend their favourite sites to print photos online, where to print photo books and remind us, to think small to start.

 nathalie marquez courtney photo books

Nathalie Marquez Courtney

Where do you print your personal pics? 

I’ve used lots of different services, but I most consistently return to Artifact Uprising and Blurb [both are currently fulfilling orders].

I use Blurb mainly for photo books; they’re often more affordable, especially you find it hard to whittle down pics and have a high volume of pages, and decent quality too. I do prefer the quality and finish of Artifact Uprising products though.

We also have a compact Canon Selphy photo printer at home – it’s great for printing pics on-the-fly.

Lessons learned?

My biggest piece of advice is to try to remove as much of the friction as possible so that you actually do end up printing! That might mean ordering straight from your phone instead of waiting until you have the time to sort through thousands of shots on your computer.

I ‘favourite’ pics I want to print and every now and then put in an order using the Artifact Uprising app, though lots of photo printing services have apps now. Sometimes, I also get around to getting shots taken with my ‘proper’ dSLR camera printed, but that doesn’t happen as often as I would like.

nathalie marquez courtney photo books

Photo books are also a brilliant way to quickly put together albums. Again, I find keeping the scope small helps, So, perhaps start a little album of a birthday weekend instead of an album documenting a whole a year.

Once you start getting something – anything! – printed it gives you the motivation to perhaps move on to bigger, more time-consuming projects.

Do you shoot on film? 

We have a ton of different film cameras at home. Our main out-and-about one is a compact 35mm Canon SLR that my my husband and I bought at Portobello Road Market in London years ago. It works with all my digital SLR lenses, which is very handy.

Believe it or not, Dealz used to sell cheap and cheerful 35mm Agfa Vista 200 film, which gives you fun, bright and poppy shots, so we still have a stash of that on the go. For anything specific, Conns Cameras stock a good range of film.

Do you print photos on a home printer at all?

Yep, we use our trusty Canon Selphy photo printer a lot to print simple 4×6” prints. You can load pics onto a USB key or memory card – newer models allow you to print wirelessly via an app too, and you can buy ink and paper in packs, so it works out quite affordable.

Do you use Polaroid or Instax at all? 

I have a beautiful Polaroid SX-70 and some vintage Polaroid 600 cameras from the 80s and 90s that I use sporadically, loading them with Impossible Polaroid film, but the costs add up fast.

nathalie marquez courtney photo books

For parties and family events, I usually bring along the Fuji Instax or Fuji Instax Wide for fun polaroid-style pics and I get the film for these in Conns too.

How do you display your personal photographs?

nathalie marquez courtney photo books

I’m pretty casual about how I display personal pics at home. I try dot them around the house in lots of ways, like stuck to the fridge door using washi tape or just propped up on a shelf. I also keep our albums and photo books on display – our toddler loves leafing through them and trying to name everybody.

I recently strung some pics from some twine hanging from a big branch we’ve found, which was a quick and easy of getting shots on a wall.

Every now and then, we get pics professional framed, though the Thabto magnetic frames are also very quick and handy.

I used to have a big corkboard that I tacked lots of Instax and Polaroid pics to, and am looking to do something similar soon with a giant empty frame that’s been lying around for ages.

Doreen Kilfeather

Where do you print your personal pics? 

Inspirational Arts for anything that I really care about and sometimes Artifact Uprising, not as high quality as IA, but really lovely printing ideas and great for books and gifts. I’ve also found Photo Box to be really handy for snaps and mood boards.

doreen kilfeather house tour mark scott

Photograph: Mark Scott

Lessons learned?

Don’t print everything. Do print something. 

So many folks have thousands of images on phones and laptops, and so many of these are left to gather dust on a digital shelf until eventually they get lost in the mists of cyberspace. Years ago, almost all pictures we took were made into prints, these days we take so many that it’s too overwhelming to print any.

doreen kilfeather photographs mark scott

Photograph: Mark Scott 

So create a system for yourself. Make a special folder on your laptop or phone. Call it something like ‘Print Order’ Then every time you take a picture that you actually really like, put it straight into that folder. At the end of every month just send the folder off to a simple print house, like Photo Box – it’s inexpensive and the prints are decent quality.

If there are total winner shots you might consider going down the fine art printing route with Inspirational Arts. But at least you have your everyday prints in the bag, and they’ll be treasures in years to come.

Do you shoot on film?

Yes. I use a Nikon FM3A for 35mm and a Pentax 67ii for medium format. Film of choice is Kodak Portra and Tri X

Most film supplies I get from Conns Cameras or John Gunn’s on Wexford Street in Dublin. Both offer processing services. 

doreen kilfeather home office mark scott

Photograph: Mark Scott 

Do you print photos on a home printer at all?

I have a basic inkjet printer for Canon TS5000 series – the inks are expensive though and the quality is mediocre. I’d love a pro level printer such as the Epson 800, but I don’t have the space in my house, and again, the inks are expensive and will dry up unless it’s in regular use, so it’s not a casual purchase. You’d want to be doing a lot of printing, consistently, to make this a sound investment.

Do you use Polaroid or Instax at all? 

Not really. I have an old Polaroid 250 land camera but finding film for this is pretty difficult these days. I find the Instax a little faddy, but fun.

doreen kilfeather house tour mark scott 2

Photograph: Mark Scott 

How do you display your personal photographs?

Not much has changed since my home was featured in Image Interiors & Living in 2014 [featured above, with photography by Mark Scott]!

Aoife Herrity

Where do you print your personal pics? 

I have to confess that most of my everyday images are made and remain on my phone! When I’m printing, it’s usually for exhibitions or print sales. In that case I go to Inspirational Arts in Dublin 8. 

Lessons learned?

If you are used to looking at your images on a screen remember that they are backlit. Images will look ‘flatter’ and darker when you print them so be conscious that adjustments will need to be made for print. 

Different textures and colour tones of paper will compliment different images. If you can, get a test before investing in large or expensive prints. 

Do you shoot on film? 

I sometimes shoot on film for personal projects or just for fun. Medium and large format cameras are amazing to work with as they really slow the whole process down and force you to think before you take the shot. They can be cumbersome and very expensive, both the cameras and the film, so I don’t work with them as much as I’d like. 

dusty boy's home by doreen kilfeather

Photo display from the home of Dusty Boy / Photograph: Doreen Kilfeather

I have a guilty pleasure for instant cameras, especially if I’m travelling. They are light and cheap so you can keep them in your bag without any fuss. I get a real nostalgic feeling from them. I get my film in Conns Cameras, that’s where I get them processed too. Usually I scan them myself and spend a bit of time before deciding which ones I’d like to print. 

Do you print photos on a home printer at all?

Usually just for reference, but I’ve seen some artist’s work, like Clare Lyons for example, who print their own work and it’s incredibly beautiful.

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How do you display your personal photographs?

I’m quite secretive with personal photos, I’m more inclined to have them in books and boxes than on the walls. That way when I take them out it feels like I’m reading over old diaries, it’s more intimate. 

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