The flexibility to print your own pictures at home is part of what makes digital cameras so popular. Many computer users get into the process and find that it's a bit of a hassle. First you'll need a computer and printer capable of printing at least 1200 dpi, or Dots Per Inch. Then you'll need photo quality paper, specifically designed for your printer style (Ink Jet or Laser). If you're using an ink jet printer, make you're your ink cartridge supports photo quality printing, and uses archive-able ink.
Photo Paper can cost $.25 or more per sheet (approx. avg. figures).
Ink Cartridges can cost $.40 or more per print (approx. avg. figures).
The average cost for printing your own photos at home usually ends up being at least $.55 to $.60 per print, once you've calculated ink and paper usage. To print 24 pictures, you'd end up paying $13 or more.
After evaluating the costs involved, use your best judgment to decide if the hassle and the expense are worth it. Sometimes it pays to have the professionals do it for you. You can even go online and upload your photos to a professional developer, and have the prints mailed to your home. For more information on this service click here.
Keep in mind the majority of Ink Jet printers don't use archive-able ink. You may print photos out and initially they look great, but the picture can fade after a while. You also run the chance of ruining the print if you spill any liquid onto the surface. Check the owner's manual on your printer to make sure your ink jet printer supports archive-able inks. Typically this is found on models costing upwards of $400 or more.
Ink jet printing is almost always best reserved for temporary, quick uses. Dye sublimation printers work better for printing photos, and use a different printing process than ink jets. Prices starting at $199 and up can print pictures up to 4X6. Models which will print 8X10's start at $399 and up.