Photography consumables tips… save money

Photography consumables - there are more to them than meets the eye.

• Photographic consumables •
There are more to them than meets the eye. We can waste a lot of money on cheap, poor quality imitations.

Photography consumables are more critical than you think…

Your photography is important to you. But if you fail on your photography consumables you may be wasting money or worse, messing with the quality of your final images. Here are some things to consider when buying…

  1. Number your batteries when you buy them so you can tell which is the newest. One day you’ll need to know which of them is likely to hold their charge longest, and which one to throw away. Use a manufacturer specified battery. These genuine photography consumables will also report reliably on remaining battery life to the camera. Cheap non-standard batteries often report unreliable use-profiles on your camera. You may run out of charge sooner than expected. They will not last as long either.
  2. Likewise number your memory cards. For safety you should be swapping them around and the oldest should be replaced every two years. They do break down, become damaged or develop faults. Most people don’t consider that memory cards are photography consumables until they lose a whole card of images when one fails.
  3. You may not buy many lens caps, but always have one spare. Sooner or later you will lose one. Then your lens will be unprotected in your bag until you can get another.
  4. Likewise, Have a spare body-plate and lens cap for the back of your lens. They may not be regular photography consumables, but they save a lot of hassle if you have spares on hand.
  5. Always use re-chargeable batteries for your off-camera flash. It’s environmentally friendly, and saves money.
  6. When you buy rechargeable batteries number them as a set and keep the set together. They will have more reliable characteristics if they are of the same type, age and use-profile. Rechargeable batteries are photography consumables with a finite lifespan. You will need to replace them eventually. If numbered as sets, you will be able to throw them away as sets too. This keeps your remaining stock of rechargeables in a predictable condition.
  7. Writeable DVDs and CDs have a reliable shelf life of about five years at room temperature. If you must use unreliable media for long term storage check out the manufacturers specifications before buying. Better quality ones will last longer (if looked after). Re-cut the discs to new media at the specified life-end. Don’t rely on them to be available for your grandchildren. Chances are they will be the wrong format or unreliable for archive storage and long term use. Formats have an effective lifetime of around 20 years. If you use DVDs or CDs for storage they are expensive photography consumables with unreliable results long term.
  8. Photo-paper types are critical photography consumables. The quality of it really makes a difference. If you want the picture to last use archive-quality, acid free paper which is matched to the printer by the manufacturer. Otherwise the paper will probably affect the print quality and life span of the print. If it is not a manufacturer recommended paper it will probably block the printer nozzle too. Cheap papers create dust that blocks print nozzles. Cleaning printer nozzles uses appalling amounts of printer ink wasting a lot of money.
  9. Surprise! The printer manufacturer advises you use their paper and ink photography consumables for your printer. Another surprise! They are right. They advise you use their consumables because they are all colour matched, absorption matched and colour profiled to give optimum results when working together. They may be more expensive, but they will give you more consistent results, longer picture life-span and a better colour match for your prints. Oddly you will probably save money too. You will throw away less sheets of failed print copies!
  10. Printer inks are expensive photography consumables. Most people don’t realise that inks are high-tech, chemical soups. They are specifically matched to the print head on the printer. They spray very precise measures of ink onto the profiled, manufacturers papers. Use the wrong quality paper or ink and the amount you use and the results you get on your photo-print will be unpredictable. Use the wrong paper and you will use more ink and get more nozzle blockages. Wrong ink? Even less predictable results.

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

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