Getting The Most Out Of Home Printing

When printing images taken with a digital camera at home, there are roughly 4 main factors to think about if you want to get the best pictures: The quality of the original image, the quality of your printer, the quality and type of paper and lastly the quality of the ink.

The Image

The main thing to remember about the image is that rubbish in equals rubbish out, particularly if any resizing or editing is involved.  This will of course largely depend on your camera and relative skill level – the subject of which is covered elsewhere – but getting the highest quality raw image as possible will result in a better photo, particularly if your printer has the technical specification to handle it…

The printer

Broadly speaking, you get what you pay for when it comes to photo printers, so decide what your absolute maximum budget is and try not to skimp. Most modern printers will list photo printing as a feature, but the vast majority only do this as an afterthought.

The higher the quality of printer, the more cartridges it will usually take (this might sound like extra expense, but we’ll get to that later). Also, try not to assume that aprinterwith a higher DPI will automatically produce a good print; the conversion process the printer goes through and the way these DPI are delivered also come into play. Try to look at reviews of output quality as well as the technical specifications in this area.

You should also ensure that your printer is set up for the paper that you’re using, and also that any dimensions are properly set.

The Paper

The paper involved with a home print is very often the factor that is overlooked, and whilst normal photocopier paper obviously won’t produce great results, very cheap photo paper is unlikely to be much better. Always go for coated photo paper which will stop absorption and blurriness, and similarly to ink, the manufacturer’s own paper usually gives the best results.

Paper sizing


And finally…The Ink

It’s often said that printer ink is more expensive pound for pound than gold, so with this in mind it’s always tempting to avoid buying your printer manufacturer’s own expensive cartridges and opting instead for generic brands that fit your model. Unfortunately this is the main mistake that people make, and unlike food there is a difference between branded ink cartridges and 3rd party cartridges, and that main difference is the amount of actual ink in a cartridge, making it difficult to judge a bargain on the face-value alone.

Cheaper cartridges will often run out quicker and begin to print faded images even before that, making them a false economy. If you’ve invested in a quality printer, it’s usually best to do the same for the ink.

Daniel N is a UK blogger currently working on behalf of Rajapack. He writes on a wide variety of topics including business and marketing and occasionally photography.

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