Printing Your Photos At Home – A Quick Guide

Written by  on August 9, 2010 

Home photo printing can be as good as the professional kind, and a lot cheaper. All you need are a good printer, good ink and printer cartridges and some basic knowledge to unleash your creativity. Your own photos are special, so the better your prints, the better they look.

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Photo: bradleypjohnson

Home printing, as a matter of fact, can be a lot of fun. If you experiment with your photo software and graphic software, you can have a ball. The printing can give you fantastic photos you wouldn’t believe possible. Photography is a true art form, and if you’re prepared to do the composition, your prints will be priceless treasures.

Printing basics

Before you print anything, run a printer test. The main problems with prints are caused by minor glitches that your printer can fix easily. Check in particular the nozzle or toner tests. The ink and toner feed can be blocked or erratic, mainly through over or under usage. These are the things that cause those irritating imperfections, and they’re usually fixed completely by a quick maintenance procedure.

Make sure you’ve got enough ink or toner. Some printers will “compensate” for low colors by replacing them with another color, and the results can be horrendous. It’s best to do a full replacement of your cartridges before doing any major photo printing jobs on principle.

The dialog box can do most of the basic work for you. Start with “Properties”. Check out the print options, and check out the settings for the photo printing. “Best photo” according to the printer may or may not be your best option. If you’ve got Photoshop or advanced software like that, it’s more advanced and has more print control options.

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Photo: everyplace

Run a test print to make sure you’re OK. After a test print, compare the image to the print:

  • Colors OK?
  • Lines OK?
  • Any low resolution on the print that’s not on the image?

You see why a test print is necessary: The problems with prints are very easy to spot, and one test will find all of them.

The printer usually isn’t the problem. Printers use CMYK or RGB color schemes, and sometimes the software doesn’t help. Check out the Advanced Print settings, and see what the color ratios are. These are pretty much self explanatory, and you’ll be able to fix the problems with relatively simple adjustments. In some cases just hitting “Default settings” will clear up the issues.

Paper and other media quality issues

Paper: The name brand photo paper is usually OK, but good quality treated card is often better. Photo shops usually have a good selection of different types of photo print media, and the heavier gauge treated card is solid and stable.

Special paper and types of media: There are some exotic, but excellent, types of paper which are brilliant for printing anything. Paper like hand made waxed paper is almost as well treated as photo paper, it’s very strong, and even prints text well. These types of media really do need to be tested, but the effects are incredible.

It’s all worth it when you get your own great photos!

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