So you’ve taken 11,382 pictures on your new camera, how many have you printed off? Too many people worry about the specs of their camera, or sharpness of their new lens before thinking of the likely output medium of their work. If you post on a blog or Twitter how much is that image going to be compressed. Most cameras are capable of prints up to 18″ x 12″. So if you order 6″ x 4″ or 7″ x 5″ they will be more than adequate. But why should you print your work off.
Before digital do you remember the excitement of waiting for your print to come back form the developers? Digital has drastically reduced the feedback loop meaning photographers can learn much faster, but the downside is nobody prints any more. When my daughter was born I bought a Nikon compact and printed out most shots we took. Since then I always made a point of ordering prints at regular intervals. The price now is so low you can order hundreds cheaply online, then have them delivered to your door. Then give them to friends and relatives as a means of feedback, put them on the fridge, frame them. The main reason for photographers, is to let you see your best work, compare it and discard the rest. I have an old whiteboard that I tack prints to, it lets me compare similar ones and keep only the best. Remember only display your best work on your website or Instagram page. When you’re flicking through lightroom you’re scanning thousands of images, and it’s very difficult to recognise the best work. When you’ve 100 prints on the table you can quite quickly whittle then down to the 24-30 best. I occasionally print out a few larger images, Frame them and put them on the wall. It’s a good way of measuring progress, as you’ll inevitably have your favourites, but as you develop you can see how the new ones stack up against the old.