Modern photography lets you print your own digital photos which will give you the flexibility of ‘instant' printing, and the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself!
However many factors can affect your final print quality. This article will help you get the best from your printer and achieve ‘camera store' quality photos by teaching you the simple tips and tricks many professional digital photographers use!
Firstly, buy a photo printer! This may seem obvious, but try to print good quality photos on a standard printer and you will know what I mean! Epson, Canon and Hewlett Packard make good photo printers.
Next step – use the recommended ink by the manufacturer in your photo printer. Using compatible inks (cheaper brands of ink) can void your warranty and rarely do they produce them quality results you will get from the name brand ink (of your printer).
Remember that printer manufacturers spend lots of money on researching and developing inks for their printers to give you the very best possible results – why would you want to throw all that knowledge away by using ‘compatible' inks?
Equally important – Use the manufacturer's recommended photo paper! Again manufacturers spend time and money into developing the best photo paper that will work with their inks to produce the best ever print.
Put a photo printer with its correct inks and recommended photo paper and you will get the finest results possible for your digital printing.
And using the three together will also give longevity for the photographs too! Epson, for example, produce some printers which create prints that can last over 100 years – independently tested!
The main objection against using brand inks and photo paper is cost. Some people say, “Too expensive” when it comes to using the manufacturer's products with their printers. But if you want excellent quality photographs as good or if not better than a camera store print, and will last the test of time, you need to invest a little into their production.
Having a second printer for normal day-to-day printing will save you on ink costs. Printers are very cost effective today, and having two printers will definitely save you the cost of the 2nd ‘cheaper' day-to-day printer in inks alone!
The best of both worlds – cheap day-to-day printing and camera store quality photos!
Stocked with your photo printer, brand inks and photo paper you are ready to tackle printing your own digital images.
Firstly I should mention quickly about storage of your inks and photo paper. Keep them in a cupboard away from heat, moisture and direct light as these can damage their quality. You should store the paper flat and use inks by the ‘use-by-date'.
When handling the photo paper use utmost care. Here are a few tips that will keep your paper in top condition, giving you the best print quality possible.
** Pick up the photograph paper by the very edges only. You can touch the back of the paper and the very edges only!
** Never touch the printable surface of the photo paper. Moisture and oils from your fingers can affect print quality, and in the long term, can produce unsightly marks that will ‘magically' appear where you touched!
** Try to avoid scratching and scuffing the photo paper. This often happens when removing or replacing the paper from the packaging. Scratches will definitely affect the print quality!
** Don't fold or roll your photo paper.
** Keep your photo papers flat. Do not feed curled paper into your printer – these could jam or scratch the paper. To flatten curled paper place it on a flat surface, cover with a clean plain sheet of paper, and put a heavier flat object on top of it (such as a book). This will help to even out the photo paper again, ready for use.
** Place your photo paper into the printer on a straight and correct angle. Don't force the paper or load too many sheets into the holder (your printer manual will tell you the maximum quantity you can use). Putting in too many sheets can cause jamming or scratching to your photo paper.
Now you are almost ready to print!
But first you must go into your printer properties and select the right setting for printing photos!
Producing great photos requires correct printer settings.
There are two settings you need to select – the paper setting and the quality setting.
Set the paper setting to match the photo paper you are using – instructions come with your photo paper advising which setting you should use. For example, you would not use ‘Glossy' paper setting for semi-gloss (mat) paper. Never leave the setting on standard paper! Choose the correct setting for your photo paper – if you cannot find the exact wording, pick the option which most describes your paper.
The quality setting should be set at ‘best' or ‘highest' or whatever your photo printer describes the very best setting to be. Never use ‘draft'! Remember you are printing photos not a standard document. Photographs need the best you can choose – don't try to skimp on ink at this stage now – it will ruin your great photo quality!
Finally – now you are ready to print!
By following these simple tips you can print camera store quality prints (or even better) at home.
Here's a short-cut list you can print out and put near your photo printer!
* Use brand name ink.
* Use recommended photo paper.
* Have a 2nd printer for day-to-day printing.
* Store ink and photo paper away from heat, moisture and direct light.
* Store photo paper flat.
* Handle photo paper carefully – only touch the very edges.
* Don't roll, fold, scuff or scratch the paper. * Feed your paper into the printer correctly.
* Change your printer properties to suit the photo paper you are using.
* Set your printer to the best quality print setting possible.
* Enjoy your printed photos and proudly show them to family and friends!
Enjoying your digital photography and printing your own photos will give you pleasure and years of happiness! You cannot get the same satisfaction from a camera store print!
And everyone will want to know how you did it!