1. Calibrate for correctness
All too often, your printed photos can bear little resemblance to the digital image you see on screen. The prime culprit is your computer monitor, which is likely to need calibration. Even screens that have dedicated sRGB and RGB modes can lack accuracy, and settings can drift over time, so it’s worth investing in a calibration tool.
There’s quite between printer ink and photo paper. These two components are carefully formulated by inkjet printer manufacturers, so that they work together to give optimum colour and tonal accuracy, and the best definition without colours running into each other on the page. It’s best to stick with the printer maker’s own photo papers (or a directly supported alternative) to ensure the best results and resistance to fading.
3. Photo gold
It’s often said that printer ink is more expensive per millilitre than the nest champagne or perfume. It’s therefore tempting to substitute genuine ink cartridges from the likes in favour of cheap alternatives. However, cheap inks may contain impurities that can block print head nozzles and generally result in poor colour accuracy
4. On the shelf
Communication is mostly digital these days and some of us only use a printer quite rarely. Even so, avoid leaving it on the shelf for too long, as the ink can dry in the print head nozzles and become very difficult to shift. Most inkjet printers run a mini-cleaning cycle at or shortly after switch-on, so it’s worth at least turning on your printer for a few minutes each week.
5. Supersize your photo prints
A4 prints tend to look a little lost and insignificant when hung on the wall. Trade up to an A3+ or ‘Super A3’ printer and you can create photo prints up to 19x13in (483x329mm). Top choices include PIXMA PRO-100S and PRO-10S, which run on dye and pigment based inks respectively. The PRO-10S has a ‘chroma optimizer’ cartridge in its line-up, which enables unusually smooth output on glossy paper for a pigment-based printer.
6. Set for success
There’s not much point in using the printer manufacturer’s photo paper if you don’t tell the printer what you’re feeding into it. For example, makes Photo Paper Plus Glossy II, Pro Platinum glossy, lustre, matte and fine art papers, all of which require different amounts of ink for the best and most accurate results.
There’s no beating dye-based inks for smooth output on glossy paper but some A3+ and larger printers run on pigment-based inks instead. These are generally better for printing on matte and fine art, delivering better-looking and more robust, fade-resistant results. Additional grey inks are often featured, for enhanced delity in black & white photo printing.
8. Straight and narrow
The chances are that your new printer has been bounced around quite a lot in transit, between leaving the factory and arriving at your home. A print head alignment procedure normally forms part of the initial set-up routine, and it’s best not to skip this step if you want the sharpest-looking output. It can also be worth repeating the process every few months, to maintain optimum results.