A Guide to Photo Printing

Having invested in a digital camera one of the major benefits is the freedom it provides you with – no more dark rooms, trips to photo centres or waiting for mail order delivery and if you chop off someone’s head or put your finger on the lens you can reshoot straight away. Once you’ve taken your perfect picture the possibilities with it are endless, and should you decide to print your image there are a lot of decisions that will effect what the finished printed photo will look like; the type and size of paper, the resolution, the way your photo has been edited as well as a whole host of creative options. So to make things easier we’ve cut down the jargon to bring you a guide getting the most from your photo printing.

Select your Media Size and Type

Once you’ve edited your image and are ready to print there are two things to consider, whether you have the most appropriate ink and the paper you are printing on.

It is advisable also to choose the right paper for your prints because whereas copier paper may be most readily available, the quality of the photographs will be much lower as they will lack the professional finish and will not last as long. Photo papers offered by CartridgeSAVE are universally compatible, however the majority of printer manufacturers would recommend using paper specific to their printers for true photo lab results as the ink absorption is more accurately matched.

It is also possible to choose the finish of your paper, and whilst manufacturers may offer options such as ‘advanced gloss’ we can simplify the terminology to three types to make it easier to compare them.

Type Of Finish Common Properties Usage Ideas
Gloss Deep Vibrant Colours Family albums, Greetings Cards, Framed Photos
Semi Gloss Everyday quality, low cost gloss finish Scrapbooks, Printing photos from the internet
Matt Finger Print Resistant, Rich Texture Black and White Prints, Vintage Prints

Once you’ve selected the type of paper to use you don’t need scissors to trim your photos down, because we offer a wide range of media sizes to suit even A4 and borderless prints, so there’s no additional cropping required.

CartridgeSAVE recommends…
For the unique gift or for an easily personalised album check out the Inkrite Photo Album kit, complete with binder and Free downloadable software the kit allows you to print your album how you want it, from page layout to comments its as creative as you decide to be.

Photo Printing Supplies

When selecting cartridges and paper CartridgeSAVE offer both genuine OEM supplies as well as lower cost compatible supplies. Printer Manufacturers recommend their own supplies as standard and whilst the quality of cheap compatible ink cartridges may not produce the same results of OEM cartridges, we’ve spent considerable time and effort in the research and testing of many brands of inkjet printer cartridges and only use what in our opinion are high quality ink cartridges and laser toner cartridges for your printers
Photo Printing from Brother

Compared to other photo printer manufacturers who use six or more colours for photo printing Brother uses four individual ink cartridges (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) as Brother attributes its ability to use less ink and provide more subtle colour graduations to a smaller droplet size (1.5 picalitres) when using Genuine Brother Innobella™ ink cartridges with genuine Brother paper.

Innobella™ Inks are evenly distributed in smaller droplets and broaden the red green and Magenta colour production to ensure durable true to life prints and to protect the print head on your machine

Innobella™ Paper has been given a special coating so that when used with Innobella™ or other Brother inks there is less ink bleeding due to the complementary absorption level. Brother also state that using genuine paper prolongs the life of your photographs as the Innobella™ range is both light and ozone fade resistant as well as being colour fast.

Photo Printing from Canon

Canons Chromalife 100 system delivers high quality photographs which last up to 100 years when using the FINE print head with Canon Inks and Papers

The Canon FINE  print head creates 1 picalitre ink micro-droplets with pinpoint accuracy when using Canon inks, meaning that more nozzles can be packed into the print head for high quality at high speeds.

Canon Photo Papers have a micro porous coating that quickly absorbs ink below the surface away from gases and light that causes fading, providing vibrant colour photos in either satin or gloss finish

Photo Printing from Epson

Epson 6 Colour dye based system contains the same 4 colours as the 4 colour system but Stylus Photo Printers have an additional 2 cartridges (light Cyan and light Magenta) to allow for more detailed pictures. The light density inks are less visible to the human eye and so photo prints appear as virtually continuous tone

Epson 8 Colour system uses red and blue instead of light cyan and light magenta, as well as having matt black, gloss black and a gloss optimiser. By concentrating on the primary colours Epson 8 colour technology requires less layering of colour and so has a flatter surface, the optimiser then covers this to fill in the gaps including the white areas to further flatten the image surface and virtually eliminating bumps with can cause images to lack brightness, creating a glossy finish

As with other manufacturers Epson offers a wide range of its OEM media for use with Epson photo printers. Choose from Premium glossy, Premium semi glossy or Matte papers to adjust your finish.

Photo Printing from HP

When using Genuine HP photo paper with Vivera inks images are stated to last up to 100 years, as the ink and paper are designed for maximum absorption.

HP Vivera Inks can create up to 72.9 million colours for stunning results, by using either 6 or 9 individual colours. The Photo cartridge replaces the standard black cartridge as it contains lighter shades of colour as well as black to extend the colour range and reduce graininess whilst still only requiring 2 ink cartridges.

HP Photo Paper is available in a number of finishes – Premium Plus photo paper is suitable for prints that will last generations, whereas HP Advanced photo paper is quick drying for water and smudge resistance and HP Everyday photo paper comes in semi gloss or matt finish for rich texture and fingerprint resistance.

Photo Printing from Lexmark

When printed on Lexmark photo paper your photos can last up to 200 years when stored in a photo album, or 100 years on display as evercolor™ inks are designed to deliver the perfect combination of pigments and dyes to print exceptional pictures that last

evercolor™ Inks are pigment based inks that have exceptional resistance to fading and smudging as well as being water resistant.. The Photo cartridge replaces the standard black cartridge as it contains lighter shades of cyan and magenta as well as black to extend the colour range and reduce graininess whilst still only requiring 2 ink cartridges.

Lexmark Premium Photo Paper is Lexmark’s heavy weight, high-gloss paper for producing crisp long lasting photographs, also available in Matt finish and everyday paper

Other Things to Consider When Printing Photos

  • The resolution of your images will affect the size suitable for your prints, as a lower resolution would lose details if enlarged beyond its capability. We suggest the following guidelines for maximum print sizes.
Minimum Image Resolution Mega pixels Required Maximum Print Size Example Output Type
Less than 640×480 1MP Wallet Sized Wallet photo or small frame (e.g. refrigerator/ desk etc)
640×480 2MP 4”x6” Photo albums or craft projects
1152×864 3MP 5”x7” Framing for display, Greetings cards
1600×1200 6-8MP 8”x10” or larger Framing for display, Calendars
  • Before you print adjust your print settings according to the paper type and the quality desired, as this will affect the amount of ink used and the finished size. Most photographs will want the best setting available. Consult your printer’s manual for details.
  • CartridgeSAVE offer a range of Media that produces different printing effects. Get Creative with T shirt transfers or transparencies.
  • Even though the prints are usually touch dry within much less than an hour it is advisable to allow photos to dry for at least 24 hours before stacking or storing.
  • CartridgeSAVE offer a wide range of ink multipacks to reduce the cost of your photo printing, as well as ink and paper value packs – great results at great prices!

About the author:

Tom is a huge tech and gadget geek with a broad range of interests including travel, art and design. Much of his time is spent blogging on CreativeCloud but he also enjoys writing for other blogs in the design niche.

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