Digital Photo Printing

Anyone can learn digital photo printing

Digital Photo Printing

Digital photo printing turns your files into photographs you can touch.

Digital photo printing is an important final step for professional looking photography. It is usually not good enough to simply be able to take great pictures. You can’t give your prized pictures as a gift, hang them on a wall or sell them if they are stuck on your computer.

In the days of film photography, many photographers just passed off the job of photo printing to the local photo shop. With today’s advances in photography equipment, digitizing photos and digital photo printing can happen right on your desk.

The quality achieved with DIY digital photo printing continues to improve, as well as the archival life of the prints. If you choose to do your own digital photo printing, there are a number of different printer technologies available. The most popular is the inkjet printer, followed by dy sublimation and laser machines.

The inkjet printer

The cheapest way to start off digital photo printing is with an inkjet printer. Starting at around $50, an inkjet printer can produce great photographs with its ability to combine fine detail with seamless transitions of color and tone. These printers use a series of ink-filled cartridges. The liquid ink is passed through a set of tiny nozzles to produce very tiny droplets of ink. Newer models feature multiple sets of printing nozzles, giving much higher printing speeds.

The highest quality printers from Canon, Epson, or HP, can produce ink drops that vary in size to create extremely fine detail for photography quality prints. For digital photo printing, a resolution of 6000 dots per inch (DPI) is the average resolution needed. For the highest quality prints, look for machines that can use six or seven different colors, rather then the standard three. These printers may more expensive, but you will appreciate the difference in quality if you are serious about your photography.

Digital Photo Printing

Inkjet printers designed especially for digital photo printing often contain six or seven colors of ink.

Typical printers most people have in their office are designed for business applications rather then photography. They may be great at printing text fast, or even minimal color images, but they will never be able to produce the subtle detail that models meant for digital photo printing will provide.

Your first time digital photo printing

Of course, before you start digital photo printing, you will first need to make sure your new printer is installed correctly. Load up your image in Photoshop, or other image editing program, and select the Print option from the File menu. Check that you have the correct printer selected. Choose the properties section and select the media type that matches the kind of paper you are printing on. Use the ‘Color’ option for photographic images and ‘Automatic and Quality’ settings under the mode selection. This will automatically select the highest quality print settings available for your printer and paper selection.

Use the Print Preview tool to make sure that the whole image is positioned within the paper boundaries. Use the Page Setup and Printer Properties to change the size and orientation of the paper. It is usually best to not use the Scale to Fit Media or Center Image options. For the best quality digital photo printing, you want to print your image at its native resolution to avoid sampling errors.

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