Printing digital photography – the big dilema; the one skill that can make or break all our careful composition, lighting, insight and emotion. If your image is not well-printed, you may as well not show it.
Your print is the PROOF! It is the ART. It is what people pay for, and what they will come back to you again and again for – to buy your PRINTS.
It’s just like that old golfer’s adage: “drive for show, putt for dough.” Us photographers, we “shoot to show, and print for dough!”
The age of the digital camera has added a new layer of complexity to all our photographic work, and one of the new questions that arises everyday here at NPC is that of the best way for printing digital photography.
Since you are now your own photo lab, processing your images, and making the critical adjustments to them, you also have the option of printing them as well. And there are so many great options for printing at home.
And if you’re an advanced digital photographer, you may even want to bypass the lab entirely and print your own high quality archival prints on a dye sublimation printer! It’s all accessible to you now. But to really succeed, you’ll need to be seious about your printing technique. So you can print for dough!
Even with an economy budget printer you can still print fine photos if you do it right. The most important thing, and I found this out with one big mistake (!) you’ll need fresh toner, old toner does lose its color intensity over time, and it gets a little thin and sludgy. When you go to make your print, even after making sure everything else is correct, make sure your toner is new. If you need new toner try the cool app below to see what you need. fun stuff!
10 Steps to High-quality Digital Photography Printing at Home
However most of the time the actual printer device is not the critical component in a successful high quality digital print. And it’s not a matter of just hitting the print button once you’re finished editing your image in Photoshop. In fact, successful digital photo printing all starts before you make your first adjustment to any digital image. And most of the available ink jet printers can make excellent prints you’re your digital files – IF you know what to do FIRST. And this is what gets people frustrated with the quality of their prints.
We’ll take you through the process all step by step – the painless path to digital photography printing. Save your nerves and your photographic paper!
It all seems a bit complex when you first review all the steps necessary, but once you go through the process a few times it is very straightforward. But because it’s a question I get asked all the time, I’m making this section a detailed one and I’ll even be including interviews with some of the pros at commercial digital photo labs so you can emulate their techniques at home!
Depending on how rigorously you want to manage your digital print quality, there are 2 ways you can go. The first is the easiest and makes the most sense for keen amateur photographers and those of you who just want to print a good photo.
The second way is the full-blown professional digital darkroom setup – well worth it if you print your own images OR even if you send them to a commercial lab- you’ll get better and more consistent results. If your digital images are consistently color managed, and you know how to make proper adjustments to your files, your pro lab may be able to offer you discounts like square foot pricing. So accurate print-set up from the start can mean big cost savings down the road.
Here’s the Table of Contents for this section on Printing – your links to successfully printing digital photography.
Inkjet printer tips for clear prints every time!
Introduction to Digital Color Management
(the key to a great looking print)
Advanced Monitor Calibration (coming soon)
Printer and Camera Profiles (coming soon)
Color Balance in Photoshop (coming soon)
Best Choices in Digital Photo Printers (coming soon)
Check out these 10 Flickr groups for vintage photography inspiration.