Let Those Digital Photos Out! (You Don't Have To Print Them Yourself)
What have you done with the photos you've taken with your digital camera? Hands up if they are languishing on your hard drive waiting to be printed. If your hand is up you are not alone. Well I have my hand up too! But I've promised myself that two years worth of digital photography will see the light of day before Christmas.
The problem is that we expect to do out own digital printing. Its supposed to be a feature. This "feature" puts many people off buying a digital camera in the first place. For one thing its not cheap. First you may need to upgrade your printer, or buy a photo printer. Then there are the running costs, which come as a shock to most new printer owners. The price of inkjets and photo paper doesn't encourage much trial and error.
Having assembled all the equipment we then have to spend some time working out how to use it. Suddenly we have a hobby that we really didn't want and don't have time for. We just wanted a nice easy way to take fantastic photos. How much simpler it was to take a roll of film into the photo shop and collect the prints an hour later!
Well, here is the good news, you can still take you photos to the photo shop. Not only that but you can delete the duds first. Now that's an improvement on film. Even better you can email your digital images to an online photo lab and receive the prints back in the post. If you have Microsoft Windows XP you can just click on "Order Prints" in the My Pictures folder and off they go. What could be simpler?
Ok so what about all the cool stuff you can do with digital images? You can do that too, but you don't have to. The best thing for non experts to do is very little. You can crop and usually adjust the contrast and brightness with a single click using the software that came with your camera. If the software can manage red eye removal too, that is a trick worth learning-its easy.
The thing to remember is that digital images are free. Take lots. You can ditch the duds and still have one or two that are good for printing. Then you won't need to bother with a lot of tricky time consuming editing.
Another option, useful if you do not own a computer, is to use one of the self service kiosks that are springing up in urban and tourist centers. These machines allow a little simple editing and you get your prints instantly. Over the next 12 months these are likely to be more widely available.
Liz Beresford owns and operates the web site Digital Cameras and Accessories, which provides information and resources for digital camera buyers, particularly new buyers. You can find the best value digital cameras, equipment and accessories online at the Digital Cameras and Accessories shop.