Photo printing is not as expensive as it used to be
Digital photo printing used to be an expensive experience. Back in the days the total cost of having a printed photo in your hand was in the dollars. Today reality has changed and watching a photo can cost anywhere from zero dollars up to a few for professionally enlarged prints.
In the early days of photography printing a photo was a complicated task that involved professional costly labor and professional costly materials. Photos were taken on film by capturing light on a material coated with light sensitive chemical. In order to be able to view the photos that were taken the photographer had to develop the film into what is known as a negative. Developing negatives involved working in a dark room for a few hours and embedding the film in a few baths of chemicals. Finally the film had to be dried out before it could be handled. Negatives however are not prints they are merely a negative reflection of the photo taken and are only the size of the film which was standardized to 35mm in diagonal.
In order to print negatives on photo paper another process was needed. Photo paper is basically a large film. It is paper coated with special chemicals that make it sensitive to light. Negatives are then projected on the photo paper in order for the photo to be captured on the photo paper. When the photo is captured the paper goes through a series of chemical baths to fix the photo and to remove the light sensitivity. The photo paper is then further washed and dried out before it can be used.
Since old photo printing was so complicated it would usually take at least a few hours before you could see a photo print of a photo you just took and it would cost a significant amount of money. With today digital camera however getting photos printed is easy. Actually today there is no real need to have photos printed as you can see the photo that you just took immediately on your digital camera LCD screen or at any later time on a computer screen. In fact since digital photos are merely computer files you can for example by using a wi-fi enabled camera take a photo and send it by email half way around the world for someone to review in a process that takes a few seconds or less.
If you would like to print your digital photos you can also do it in a very fast and cheap way. By using a simple color home printer you can simply plug your camera directly to the printer or first download the photos to your computer and then hit the Print button. The printer will then automatically print a good quality color print of the photo on plain regular paper. For better high quality prints photo film paper is still used in a longer process usually done in professional labs. To do that you can upload your digital photos to a large number of photo printing services that in a day or two will mail the printer photos back to your home and office. Many of these professional services also offer a batch of free prints for new users so if you are just in a need for a small number of prints you can take advantage of that free service and have your digital photos professionally developed for free.
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