In the age of Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr and Facebook, we are becoming a lot more selective about the photos we print off. Just a decade ago we would drop off rolls of film at the pharmacy and receive a wad of poorly constructed, over-exposed or thumb-invaded photos in return. Now, we can plan our shots, discard the less than perfect ones, touch them up and print them off at home to a professional quality. There is no excuse for a sub-par photograph.
Follow our five tips to make sure you print the best possible image, every time.
1. Prep your photo
Before you even think about printing, make sure your photo is prepared. Check that the dimensions match up with the photo paper you are using, and use the resize tool if necessary. If the main subject of your photo is small and becomes lost among its surroundings, you may try cropping tight around the subject.
If you have a more sophisticated photo editing tool, you may try to remove any red eyes and alter the contrast and brightness as you wish.
2. Choose a template
For fun photos and special occasions, add a little extra something to your photos by using a template. Turn a special family photo into a calendar, or add seasonal backgrounds to party invitations or photographic mementos. There are many templates available online, and this site has a few great templates for kids, homes and businesses, all of which can be accessed by simply registering.
3. Use the right ink
There are many different types of printer ink on the market today. Most of us use our home printers for printing off the odd document, plane ticket or data – then we go ahead and use the same inks to print off our photos.
There is a noticeable difference in the quality of photo inks, which are usually dye-based. The conventional wisdom is, while pigment inks are ideal for document printing, dye-based inks are best for producing high-gloss photos with excellent quality colour reproduction. A few leading printer manufacturers today like Epson, HP and Canon sell printers that have individual cartridges and can take one black pigment ink and three dye-based coloured inks. This combination offers affordable, reliable document and photo printing without compromise. You can find out more about the different printer inks by visiting their sites.
4. Choose the best quality photo paper
Paper is one thing you really don’t want to scrimp on. A photo printed on a piece of thin paper will look cheap, even if it is displayed in the most expensive frame. Choose a matt or gloss photo paper in the best quality you can afford, at least 190gsm. If you wish to print on particularly thick paper or photo card, make sure your printer can handle it, and adjust your settings accordingly.
5. Don’t Compress
Many digital cameras and smartphone cameras today may default your pictures to a compressed JPG format. This means, when you edit a JPG compressed photo on your computer and save it, the original image information is lost and cannot be restored. This can possibly affect your image quality. You can overcome this by two ways, either changing the photo resolution setting in your digital camera or your smartphone, or save your compressed picture in a native format like TIF to avoid further compression.
After all that, display it with pride! There is no point printing off an amazing photo if it’s just going to be hidden away in a drawer! Add your photo to a larger collage, string a series of great images around the upper walls of your bedroom, or devote one wall to your favourite framed images.
In Association with Epson.