How To Print Better Photos at Home

Friday January 20, 2017

These days, it is more convenient than ever to capture moments with our devices, from tablets to smartphones and digital cameras. Our hard drives are overflowing with hundreds upon hundreds of photos. Storing countless digital images on these devices is a great way to keep track of memories, but it is always nice to create hard copies of our favorites to display at home, at the office, carry with us or share with loved ones.

While just about anyone can print photos from the comfort of their own home, following a few simple tips will help achieve optimum quality while keeping costs down and preventing wasted materials such as ink and paper.

Choose the Right Printer

For photo needs, the two main types of printers to choose from are inkjet and laser. Inkjet options use ink while laser printers operate with a toner cartridge containing fine powder along with a heated fuser. For basic document printing in black and white, laser printers are the best fit. However, inkjet printers are more popular for color images and the most suitable for printing photos. Inkjet printers produce significantly more vivid images with minimal pixilation and typically cost less than laser printers.

Choose the Right Paper

To ensure the best results, there are the three key components to consider when selecting the proper paper:

  1. Paper Finish – Choose between matte or glossy over standard printing paper
  2. Paper Thickness and Opacity – Go with thicker paper and a higher opacity.
  3. Color Brilliance – There are two scales used to measure paper whiteness: the ISO Brightness scale and TAPPI scale. Typically, the brighter the paper, the better quality a photo will print initially—if the ISO scale reads over 104 or the TAPPI scale reads over 92, this indicates the addition of fluorescent whitening agents, which degrade over time. For longer-lasting photos, choose paper with lower values.

Adjust the Settings / DPI

Printers have different settings such as “normal” or “fast.” When printing photos, change the setting to “best” mode. While it may take two to five times longer for the photos to print, the difference in quality will be worth it. The photo resolution settings should also be set to 300 DPI or the highest possible setting, and the image to be printed should align with the same aspect ratio as the paper being used. Otherwise, the image may not match the size of the paper, resulting in the printer cropping or stretching the image to fit. This will likely distort the photo and require additional prints to correct the mistake, using more materials.

Edit First, and Only Print One Copy

Be sure to make any and all edits to photos prior to printing, despite the fact that it may be easier to spot flaws after the photo comes out, to save money on paper and ink. Once edited, only print the photo once. Spend the time to fully edit each photo (think cropping, lighting, etc), to ensure you don’t have to continue edits through multiple prints, saving paper and ink, along with time and money.

Independent advice on a range of printers for business and home

We are here to help with local, friendly advice. Our experienced and impartial staff will take the time to understand your printing needs and recommend the right printer and supplies for you—whether you’re printing a single photo for a frame or an entire album. Find a Cartridge World store near you