Manual printing vs Printing company
When printing a few copies (let's say half a dozen) of each of your artworks for physical portfolios, which option would be the most cost-effective? Would buying the ink, specialty paper, and possibly a new printer be more or less useful than buying from a printing company (and possibly waiting for shipping)?
Do the math. You never know what kind of deals are available until you start looking. Plus you don't want to get into the habit of spending hundreds of dollars because a random internet stranger told you something was totally awesome.
for hundreds or thousands of copies, the print company. for a few dozen... probably still the print company. having your own printer is more about convenience than cost.
If you find a local printer, you won't have to wait for shipping. If you're just starting out, it'll probably be better to start off with the printer company cause they tend to produce better quality (and if they don't, you might be able to get them to reprint it unless their printer sux), unless you invest a larger amount of money to your printer.
With your own printer, you get more control- adjusting colour, convenience, type of paper, type of ink, etc. In the end, it's up to you.
When I need top quality or if numbers are small I just use a photo lab (usually Costco, but in a pinch CVS if I'm traveling in the states)
When I want a large number of the same thing (business cards, give away posters, postcards) and the quality isn't as important as the price, my local printer. It's just a short walk away, I can look at proofs right on the spot and it's dirt cheap and fast. I suspect I could find even cheaper over the internet but then I would have to pay for shipping, wait for it and the end result is a gamble.
My home printer is a color laser multitasker. It can print reference pictures, resumes and invoices but not final quality prints. What it does however is deliver these super cheaply super reliably and conveniently without having to care about ink or maintenance.
Thank you for your answers.
Unfortunately I don't live near any local printers or would've gone with that.
I'm only planning on printing once right now, so wasn't sure if making a longterm investment of buying my own materials would be better/worser than buying online