As everyone makes the jump from film to digital photography, there seems to be a question of "where do the pictures go?" In the old days of film photography, it was simple. You had to get the film developed, butt then there the pictures were, in your hand and ready to frame and hang or send to friends and family. Now, you take the picture and it only exists as a file on a hard drive somewhere. How are you supposed to hang that on the wall or mail it to grandma? Well, there may actually be digital solutions to these problems too, but if you want the picture printed on paper, there is still a way to do that, too.
Most digital cameras and most computers now operate on what is called "plug and play," meaning you can simply hook the camera up to the computer and they can interface, with no need to install programs or drivers. Using this function, you can plug your camera into your computer and transfer the images from the camera onto the computer. Once they are there, they can be printed just like you would print any other picture or document off of your computer. Depending on your intended use for the picture, you can buy special photo paper that will greatly increase the picture quality of your final printed image. You can also adjust the settings on your printer to give you the best resolution and image settings possible.
Maybe you want to get more from your digital pictures though. There are many software programs available that help you optimize your pictures for printing. These programs range from very inexpensive ones that may have even come free with your camera or printer to the very expensive ones that can cost nearly a thousand dollars and boast professional quality printed pictures. Whatever level you choose, these programs will offer features such as red-eye reduction, cropping and contrast adjustment that will allow you to tweak the picture prior to printing them. These are some of the primary advantages of digital over film photography, as many of these options are either non-existent or very difficult with film. With digital though, they are just a mouse-click away.
Maybe you're not into the do-it-yourself printing, though. In the old days of film photography, there were places to do it for you. Department stores, drug stores and specialty photo shops offered to develop and print your pictures for you, and they still do. Most of these developers will now allow you to bring in your digital camera or its memory stick, and they will print the photos for you. In some cases you can even email the pictures in to them. By using their services, you can get the same quality prints that you used to get with film.
Your digital pictures don't always have to remain digital. You can bring them into the real world via printing them, just like you got your old film photos developed. By exploring the options in printing digital pictures, you will gain a better understanding of the advantages of digital over film, as well.