Guide to Printing Photos at Home
The advantage of using a camera with more pixels, or creating a higher-resolution scan, soon becomes apparent when you are printing photos. The greater the detail available to you inside the digital image, the bigger you can print digital photos. It also give you more room for cropping your images or any other edits. That said, the quality of the final results will ultimately depend upon the type of paper and printer used.
Digital photo prints aren’t always necessary. The photos can easily be viewed over a computer monitor or other display. They may be sent to anyone worldwide using email, the web or simply just by copying the photos onto an empty CD. Essentially, this process is the reverse of digitizing photos.
However, most photographers will want to create a physical copy by printing photos for their best work. This is extremely simple to do, and it’s also possible to enlarge and crop your image as you like.
Most desktop computers possess a color printer that can print digital photos reasonably well. The truth is, low-cost inkjet printers are often better at reproducing photographs than higher priced laser printers, which are designed for printing text.
Inkjet models specifically designed for digital photo prints offer benefits such as having the ability to print directly from the camera’s memory card, or the use of borderless, ‘full bleed’ prints. Additionally, there are differences in quality and maximum paper size.
Printing photos is fairly simple on ordinary, photocopier-grade paper using an inkjet printer. However, you will get far better results when you purchase media created specifically to print digital photos. You will find there’s huge, and frequently bewildering, range of different grades and finishes available. Prices also vary greatly.
Be aware that some papers are heavier then others and may cause problems in your printer. Typically, paper weight is measured in grams per meter, or gsm, with values averaging 100-300gsm). Most papers are only able to print digital photos on one side.
Inkjet prints are not meant for long-term survival, and can fade over a relatively short time. Some papers and inks with better archival properties can be obtained. But if you keep the original file, printing photos is always possible.
Cropping One of the benefits of digital imaging could be the ease with which you can crop your images, for example removing unwanted details from a shot or rotating the picture to straighten an horizon, before printing.
For results similar to a traditional photographic print, consider purchasing a dye sublimation printer. But be aware that special printing ribbons and paper are necessary, making this an expensive option. A more cost-effective solution is to find a professional printing laboratory. Many of these establishments can produce digital photo prints on traditional photographic paper, direct from the CD or memory. It is usually possible to upload digital images to web-based services, which then ship your prints to you personally.
Color control when printing photos
A standard problem when printing photos is that the colors look vastly different to what you see on your computer screen. This is usually because you are using inexpensive paper, or have set up the digital photo prints incorrectly.
However, a serious contributing factor will be the computer monitor that you are using. This should be calibrated to display your pictures as accurately as possible. Special utility programs are available to do this.
Make use of a grey background, rather than a fancy desktop pattern, when viewing your shots. Also, be sure to keep the ambient light low, avoiding on-screen reflections.
Remember, however, that the monitor image will look brighter and richer than the print whichever method of printing photos you use.