These days we all seem to store hundreds, if not thousands, of images on hard drives.

A few years ago I was on a one to one photographic workshop in France run by Geoff Powell. At the time Geoff was a photographer of 35 years standing, he was also a darkroom printer. Geoff made me think differently about my photography (though I didn’t agree with everything he said), he also said, ‘there’s no point in photography unless you have an output, and there’s no point in storing thousands of photographs, which never see the light of day’, By that he meant in the form of prints or books. So that got me thinking.

In the ‘old days’ we sent our films to be processed, they came back in the form of prints, tiny little prints, out of which if we were lucky, we’d have one or two decent shots, it was expensive, it was frustrating but at least we had someting on paper, something to put in a shoebox and bring out every five years or so! Now we’re in the digital age we can see what we’ve shot, so we know when we print, or send digital files to a print lab, we’ll get something decent in return.

I took Geoff’s advice, I researched and I found a small, one man operated print lab near Aberdeen. It was fantastic quality, cheap as chips and he introduced me to pearl paper, great for B&W in particular. Sadly, after a couple of years, his increased popularity became his downfall, his workload overwhelmed him and consequently his work suffered. I then had to find somewhere else and, after more research, I struck gold with DS Colour Labs based near Manchester, and later another one man band, Paul Grundy in the north east of England.

Every couple of months I used to send away for around ten 20x16 inch prints on my favoured pearl paper, (sadly, now I'm retired, that's become more infrequent, though I still do the yearly book). I have half a dozen ready-made frames; I cut my own mounts and hang my stuff for my own enjoyment. Every now and then I’ll change the prints, that way I don’t get bored. I also create a yearly photo book using a company called Blurb, I’ve tried others but these are the guys I prefer because of their easy to use website, superior quality paper and binding.

In my inarticulate way, what I’m trying to say is, there’s nothing like seeing your prints on paper, they look way better than what you see on your pc/mac so, give it a go, you won’t be disappointed.