How Printing Your Photographs Can Make You A Better Photographer

Looking at your photos in print gives you a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment and to be candid, this is a feeling you can hardly get when you are only viewing your photographs on a phone or on a computer screen. Let’s look at this way; photography like painting, sculptures is a form of Art and we’d usually visit galleries, museums to view these works of Art, and right there, we find ourselves immersed in the creativity of the artist because we are standing right in front of the work. We can almost run our hands through them to feel the Art and mastery of the work that has been created and that is exactly the same way a printed photograph is supposed to make you feel.

I remember when I started out as a beginner photographer, I’d usually shoot all my images on my smartphone because it was the only tool I had available to me at the time. But after a while, I battled with these conflicting thoughts in my head whether to just remain a Mobile Photographer, because to be sincere, I became pretty good at it, but at the same time, I knew I wanted to do this long term and also make a living out of it, hence the thoughts of transitioning into shooting with a DSLR camera plagued my mind. I realized that I had really become comfortable shooting with just a smartphone that I worried if I was ever going to be able to use a DSLR camera but all that changed the moment I printed my first photograph. At the time, I was setting up for my first photography exhibition. It was a big deal for me, even more, they were all images shot on a smartphone. The reception towards the photo exhibition was great. Art enthusiast showed up, I sold prints, it was a great time for me as a photographer but really the breaking point for me in all of these was when I was making the prints of the photographs. Everything changed, I had a sense of clarity. With holding my photographs in prints, all my fears were gone. I believed strongly in the path I have chosen. I knew I was ready for greater challenges. I knew it was time to get that camera. And that was exactly what I did. Some of the photos from the exhibition I still have today hanging on the wall, and that serves as a good reminder of how it all started and the journey ahead.


Something I almost always like to share from my experience as a Travel and Documentary photographer is that printing your photographs allows you more access to create intimate and stronger images. One of the commitments I’d usually make to the people I photograph is that I’d return with the prints of the photographs I make of them and to be sincere, everyone loves a good photo of themselves. So, really my first encounter with the people that I photograph is not really about me. What I’m actually doing is create a photo for them, which in turn grants me more access when I eventually return with the prints, and this time, a trustworthy connection has been established giving me the room to create the kind of images that I desire. I understand how sometimes, we don’t have time and we just want those images on-the-fly but other than that, if you are working on a project or visiting a location you can always return to, I’d always advise that you focus first on establishing a connection with the person(s) and worry less about creating the “Bucket Shot” immediately.

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Photo by @ozavoguabdul. There are those photos that remain dear in our hearts for a very long time as photographers. Not because of how amazing it is or anything, but because of the process of how the image was created, and how long it's played in our head that everyday, when we go out, we are always hoping for such a photo opportunity. "A Fulani herder takes his herd grazing". As simple as that sounds, this is one of those photos. Long when I started engaging Fulani communities, documenting their nomadic lifestyle and culture, I have always wanted to make an image like this where the Fulani Herder was seen coming out of what seems to be an isolated place where they'd usually have their settlement, with the heavy hooves of the herds erupting dust in the air, and both the herder and herd walking rhythmically, enveloped by surrounding elements like the trees that you see here. Last I came close to creating such an image was two year ago where I had taken the photo on my phone and upon getting home, I realized all the files on my phone were wiped out. This image has been in my head since then and not until yesterday again, when the photo opportunity presented itself and I've never been so happy to trail an herd like a novice herder with a camera instead of a stick. These images, I'll forever hold special. I share three frames here just so you guys, like me can find it difficult to pick a favorite one. Aha! Let me know which is your favorite. #Fulani #Herd #Nomadic #culture #Documentaryphotography #TravelPhotography #Guardiantravelsnaps #NatGeoYourShot #ExploreNigeria #EverydayAfrica #OzavoguAbdul

A post shared by Khalid,TheWakaholic🇳🇬 (@dr_khalidz) on

My bucket shot above! check my Instagram to see more of my photos.

The call to printing your photographs is not just for Documentary photographers as this applies to all other genres of photography and it also doesn’t equal you to be a beginner or advanced photographer. And like myself, you don’t necessarily have to print in large formats/sizes, the small standard sizes are equally just as okay. The idea is that you are able to feel your work intimately and that you are closer to your creation as an artist and creator.
If you are a photographer and going to be making prints soon, do let me know in the comment section, I’d definitely love to hear from you.

I also made a VIDEO about this in more details on Youtube and you can watch that HERE. Please kindly check it out and subscribe to the channel.

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  1. James tbb ikpe

    I am you from years back. Hahaha! Printing gives that added joy and satisfaction. Like this moment right here, we are holding it in our hands. This fragments of reality.

    Keep being amazing Dr.

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