Long-gone are the days you had to send away your negatives and wait several weeks for your photos to be printed. These days, there are plenty of printers available on the market that can bring your camera’s memory card to life in a few minutes.
Some are better than others of course, and there are ways in which you can improve the quality.
Take a look at these tips to help your printed photos look the best they can with high-quality home printing.
Use ink instead of laser
Laser printers are great in the right capacity. For instance, in an office environment where quantity is more important than quality and copies of documents and contracts are printed liberally. For high-quality photo printing, you must look at inkjet printers or even a dedicated photo printer.
Most inkjet printers will be able to produce a good quality print of a photograph if you use the right settings. It will take longer to print but the results are worth it.
Look for 48-bit colour support in a printer to produce higher quality photos. You’re best off looking for this from a specialist ink retailer, such as Phoenix Direct.
Test direct printing
Many printers offer the chance to print directly from the camera or the SD card, which might be worth considering if you intend to send a lot of images to print. Without the need for a computer program to act as the middle-man, you can sometimes get better quality direct from SD or memory too.
Do not just use this option because it is convenient, though. Test print the same photo both ways and you will be able to see which one is better for you. Some people like to adjust the quality of their photos before printing – adding more shading or brightening the contrast – so you’ll need to consider whether this applies to you.
Take as large a photo as you can
Camera SD cards are affordable these days and you should always have some spares to hand. Photos with higher resolution and plenty of megapixels will take up more space on your memory card but will yield better results when it comes to printing.
It is unlikely that you will have the capability at home to print a full 4608 x 3456 image, for example, but the higher the resolution when you take the snap means it’ll have better quality when compressed on paper. Remember, large photographs can always be scaled down, but expanding smaller photos to fit a bigger space can cause the image to distort and not offer the best quality.
Don’t go overboard with editing
Photoshop is a fantastic tool to help with your photography, but there is such a thing as overkill. The key thing to remember here is that photos, when printed, usually look slightly different to how they appear on screen. The screen might make it brighter or darker to the printed article so get to know your printer and adjust settings accordingly to get the best result.
If there is a photo you want looking its absolute best, you need to adjust the settings of your printer and adapt the image to strike a good balance. A little trial-and-error may be needed at the beginning but after this it will just be a case of selecting the right settings and pressing print!