It might seem ironic but being green often goes hand in hand with saving money, and this is the case when it comes to printing your own photos. Here’re a few tips on cutting the cost and environmental impact of printing.
Combine smaller photos onto one sheet
Printing a single 3 by 5 snapshot on an 8.5 by 11 sheet doesn’t make sense because you’re throwing away most of the sheet. Try combining several smaller shots together before printing. The easiest way to do this is to download PowerofSoftware’s Multiple Image Printing Wizard . Version 1.15 works with recent Windows releases and lets you arrange your images on-screen, add a border or drop shadow or even round the photos edges. Best of all, it’s a freeware utility.
Try lower resolution setting
It won’t save much on electricity, but the printer will use less toner or ink if you set the image quality to 300 dot per inch rather than 600 dpi. It’s actually easy to do when you’re getting an image ready to print. Just click on the Properties box and select the right resolution for the job. Be warned that you’ll probably want the top resolution when putting images onto paper for an album.
Use recycled toner and ink cartridges
The printer makers hate when I say this but most replacement inks and toners are just as good as the ones they make. They’re just cheaper and easier on the environment because they either use recycled cases or are refilled with ink or toner. Anytime you can keep some plastics, ink and toner out of landfills it’s a win-win. When it’s time to change the toner or ink, drop off the empty at Staples and they’ll give you a $3 credit. It’s not a lot but a nice thank you for recycling.
Ever hear of vampire power? It’s the power that a printer, TV or appliance uses when it’s turned off. Even if they are Energy Star certified, some printers use as much as 15 watts of power while waiting for something to do. At this rate, it can add up to over 130 kilowatt hours of power over a year, much more than actually printing the album. So, when you’re not using the printer, pull the plug or use a power strip that has an on-off switch.
The digital photo frame is clearly the way photo display is moving. Excitement over the IPad in Fine Art photography circles is over it's use as a portfolio. Recent industry pundit articles (Thomas Hogan) discussing "whither cameras" argue that the next development required to restart sales (the market is reaching saturation, and digicams are about to be made obsolete with improved camera phones) will be the communication (digital) between the photo making device and the storage and display devices.
Finally, referring to professionally printed photos vrs digital photo frames is a false argument...Fine art printing, with color balancing, tonal corrections, localized adjustments, and color managed output, is hardly typical of what you get when you send your snapshots off to Costco or wherever...Better pictures result from becoming a better photographer, not whether output is displayed on paper or screen.
I am currently making a scrapbook for my son's graduation and have decided that when I finish that I will move on to doing other family albums so that I may enjoy the pictures instead of just packing them away in boxes. I do like the idea of a digital photo frame for a desk at work: I may check into that.
You can get 4x6 prints of digital photos from CVS for 19 cents each. I upload them from my computer and pick them up in the store.
This uses no electricity and can be passed around for viewing unlike a digital frame. A portable DVD plater which is battery powered will usually display jpeg photos form a card or CD.