Print Like a Pro: How Do Professional Photographers Print Their Pictures?

10 min read

Want to create gorgeous, high-quality, photographic prints? Here’s how the pros are printing high-end images their clients can cherish for generations.


When I first started in photography, I was a full-time teacher, which meant I didn’t have tons of free time. I’d basically shoot, edit, and burn a disc. One of the biggest changes I’ve made in my photography business is to provide my clients with high-quality print products.

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ShootProof has an easy printing solution for everyone

I know I have struggled with getting prints made in the past—and it’s part of my job! It’s even harder for my clients, so I make it easy for them by using ShootProof. You can do the same thing!

All you have to do is set up a gallery through ShootProof with your favorite print lab and automate it all. Once the images are uploaded, set up your shopping cart with product options and prices. Make sure to limit the options so they don’t get overwhelmed.

For wall art, Shootproof has an amazing new feature. You can see exactly what a certain size photo would look like on a wall! This way, you can see if you need a larger size before ordering.

Once your clients are ready, they choose the picture and size, and the finished product gets shipped directly to them. Easy as can be!

A double exposure of a couple looking at one another in front of a desert canyon

Traci Edwards Photography

How Should You Print Your Pictures?

You might be like me. I saw other people’s professional prints and wondered, “How do professional photographers print their pictures?” Luckily for me, I was able to learn some of the tips and tricks, and now my professional prints look so much better.

Creating professional prints might seem way too complicated or too much work, but don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through the whole process. In the end, you’ll see why this is so important, and you’ll have a solid understanding of how to make printing part of your workflow.

What is digital printing?

First off, let’s make sure we are all on the same page with what professional printing is. Digital Printing involves taking digital files and turning them into physical prints. It’s nothing new, just a different process. Back in the film days, the digital equivalent was a negative.

An engaged couple holds each other close during their desert engagement session

Traci Edwards Photography

Why print?

There are two main reasons to print your photos: for display samples, or for your clients.

When you’ve created something beautiful, you want to share it with the world! Having professional prints on display makes it easier for others to see and admire your work. It doesn’t matter how amazing your photos are if they are hidden on a hard drive for no one to see.

Offering professional prints to your clients can be a real game-changer. I’ve seen it over and over again.

There are photographers who were “shooting and burning”, making $150 per shoot, and then they skyrocketed to making $1000 or more per shoot by offering print products. Offering professional prints can double or triple your income!

The digital file debate

The biggest objection you are going to run into is your clients only wanting digitals. Yes, we are living in the digital age. My wife watches TV shows on her phone, and my kids did Zoom calls with their teachers when they couldn’t see them in person. Similarly, digital photography is what everyone is doing these days.

It is a digital world, but physical prints still have many advantages over digital photography, and you must make this clear to your clients.

#1: You are more likely to see and enjoy your photos if they are printed because you will see them daily.

You’ll see the prints on your walls, on your counters, and maybe an album on your table. How often do you look through all of your photos on your phone though?

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#2: Prints are something you can physically touch.

It’s hard to explain, but there is something special about prints, about touching and holding an item. I love the ease of reading on a tablet, but give me a real book any day!

#3: Most screens are tiny!

I have no idea how people look at photos on phones. Try comparing a 3×5 inch screen to 24×30 inch prints!

Portraits of a mixed-race couple in the desert

Traci Edwards Photography

#4: It’s good to have another copy of your photos.

People think digital files are indestructible, but they aren’t. Hard drives break and formats change. I’ve got plenty of VHS tapes sitting around collecting dust because I don’t have a functioning VHS player anymore.

Traci Edwards Photography

Printing with ShootProof

Printing with ShootProof is easier than ever with our professional print labs!

You have options to self-fulfill, where your clients order through you and then you place the order with your favorite lab, OR, your clients can order directly with one of our integrated lab partners! Who are they?

  • BayPhoto
  • Miller’s Professional Imaging
  • WHCC
  • Black River Imaging
  • MPIX
  • Richard Photo Lab
  • Loxley Color (UK, Europe and Mexico)
  • Atkins Pro Lab (Australia and New Zealand)
  • HC Pro (Australia and New Zealand)
  • GTA Imaging (Canada)
  • Print Refinery (Canada)
  • Technicare (Canada)

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Types of products through ShootProof

If you’re just starting to consider printing your photos or encouraging your clients to print theirs, you have so many unique options! Aside from fine art prints, there are now so many different products you can offer your customers that are not only beautiful but professional quality. 

Most of our ShootProof print partners offer:

  • Professional Canvases 
  • Mounted/Framed pictures 
  • Gorgeous gallery wraps 
  • Stunning metal prints with vibrant colors
  • And other fun things such as collages, calendars, boxes, and folios
A young couple snuggles close at sunset in the desert

Traci Edwards Photography

Ordering prints

ShootProof has made ordering prints easy and fun with the ShootProof print shop! 

ShootProof Labs

These companies are great at what they do, so you can expect amazing quality, but you won’t know your printer personally. For me, that has never been an issue. If I have a problem, I can make a phone call or use their online chat feature to fix things quickly. 

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Shooting techniques for a fine finished product

All of this is good, but what if your digital files have problems from the beginning? What if it’s out of focus, or way underexposed? If you have those problems or others, it will be hard to make a quality print.

There are several things you can do while shooting to make sure you have the best digital file for print.

#1: Shoot at the lowest possible ISO.

Cameras today can handle higher ISOs, but the quality of the file will still be better at a lower ISO.

#2: Pay attention to your sharpness and depth of field.

Set your aperture and shutter speed high enough to make sure you have a focus where you want it.

#3: Shoot in RAW format.

I know there’s a lot of debate about this, but RAW files have more information and allow for more adjustments later. In my mind, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A black and white portrait of an engaged couple kissing in the desert

Traci Edwards Photography

A memory for the ages

Printing for photographers is something that should happen on a regular basis, but it can be a complicated task. You have to decide whether you want to do it yourself or outsource to a company.

While it is a lot of work, the end result is so worth it: a beautiful print that you or your clients will admire for years to come.


Written by BRYAN STRIEGLER | Photos by TRACI EDWARDS PHOTOGRAPHY

Bryan Striegler is a wedding photographer who loves superheroes, sports, and skittles. Along with his saint of a wife and their crew of kids, Bryan lives in northwest Arkansas where, in his free time, he’s constantly searching for the next great Netflix binge.


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One thought on "Print Like a Pro: How Do Professional Photographers Print Their Pictures?"
  • Kim Repede says:

    This is great information Bryan. I started a photo restoration business in my retirement and am on the fence about offering printing services. I think I will go for it.

    Thank you!

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