How to decide on the precise arrange for printing your photographs.
As outlined in Establishing a digital darkroom, your selection of a printer is determined by set-up house, print dimension, and whether or not you like the ‘look’ of matte or shiny media.
A choice for shiny or matte prints can have an effect on your selection of printer. Canon’s Professional Platinum paper is taken into account among the finest shiny papers accessible, whereas Epson’s Velvet Advantageous Artwork paper is among the many better of the papers with clean matte surfaces.
Though some A4 printers can do a fairly good job of printing photographs, most have restricted ink units. The perfect outcomes come from A3 and A2 printers, which use extra inks. These printers also can print on smaller paper sizes.
All color printing requires no less than 4 inks: Cyan (C), a greenish blue; Magenta (M), a purplish pink, Yellow (Y) and Black (Ok – for ‘key’ because it provides a distinction ‘key’ to deliver out the opposite colors.) Easy CMYK printers use solely these 4 inks. They’re superb for on a regular basis workplace printing however can’t reproduce all of the delicate hues and tones in photographs.
Photograph printers usually add gentle (‘Photograph’) cyan and magenta inks and in addition no less than one gray ink (‘Mild Black’). Some printers add pink, inexperienced or blue inks to additional broaden the printer’s tonal vary.
Separate ‘Photograph’ (PK) and ‘Matte’ (MK) black inks are normally supplied, the Photograph inks for shiny media and the Matte inks are for non-glossy surfaces. In older printers, swapping between Photograph and Matte inks would take a couple of minutes and use a millilitre or so of ink to ‘purge’ the ink strains. The newest printers have largely overcome this downside.
A typical A3 printer can print on papers as much as 329 mm extensive and has a 639 x 379 mm ‘footprint’ on a desktop. (Supply: Canon)
A3 printers are affordably priced, can use all kinds of paper sorts and can produce engaging color and black and white prints. An A3 printer can print snapshots in addition to posters, calendars and picture books. Many also can print panoramic photographs on user-specified papers and some embody particular holders for printing on roll paper.
This A2 printer affords a lot of the capabilities skilled customers and critical lovers require, together with the flexibility to print on media as much as 420 mm extensive. Its ‘footprint’ measures 615 x 902 mm with output trays prolonged, as proven on this illustration. (Supply: Epson.)
Most A2 desktop printers are designed for photographers, graphic designers, superb artwork producers and illustrators who require top quality output. The printer proven right here can output prints as much as 1.5 metres lengthy and is ready to print on roll paper or canvas when outfitted with an optionally available roll media holder.
Usually, the extra particular person cartridges the printer makes use of the broader – and extra delicate – the vary of hues and tones it could print. When deciding on a photograph printer, be certain it makes use of no less than six inks.
Dye or pigment inks?
Your media preferences will affect the kind of printer you select: dye or pigment (no printer can use each sorts). Whereas each sorts can be utilized with shiny and matte papers, every works higher with a distinct vary of media.
Dye inks are liquid, which permits them to be simply absorbed by the coated surfaces of shiny and lustre (semi-gloss) papers. Pigment inks include microscopic particles of stable colors in a quick-drying provider liquid. When the ink dries, the particles stay on the paper’s floor which is roughened to maintain them in place, though they’re susceptible to abrasion.
Dye-ink printers reproduce the best element and boldest colors on shiny and papers. The ensuing prints are additionally extra strong as a result of the dyes are absorbed into the paper’s floor coating. Though they can be utilized for printing on canvas, the prints from dye ink printers are inferior to these from printers that use pigment inks.
Pigment ink printers work finest with matte and lightly-textured papers however they’re additionally very best for heavier ‘superb artwork’ media, together with canvas. However even prints on textured media would require cautious dealing with to forestall the pigments from flaking. Spraying the floor of the print with preservation lacquer is really useful.
Pigment inks usually provide superior fade-resistance and are most popular when long-lasting prints are required. Apparently, beneath optimum circumstances the newest dye-based inks from Canon (Chromalife) and Epson (Claria) come near the sturdiness of their pigment-based counterparts.
There’s no ‘proper’ printing paper for each picture and each scenario, however you may match your paper option to the tip consequence on the idea of the next standards:
Dimension: That is the simplest to quantify since it’s partly dictated by the output dimension of the printer. Aside from that, the alternatives are additionally easy: massive prints are finest for framing, whereas A4 dimension is good for books and smaller prints are finest for sticking in albums.
Photograph high quality papers are available all kinds of sizes, from A4 by means of to A2 and in addition on rolls of various widths to swimsuit totally different printers.
Thickness: This can be dictated by the printer as many consumer-level printers can’t deal with thicker, heavier papers. Examine your printer’s specs to seek out its limits.
Paper thickness is normally laid out in millimeters (mm) or as ‘weight’, which is outlined in grams per sq. metre (gsm) – and there’s no correct correlation between these measurements. Some producers use gsm, whereas others use mm.
Heavier papers have a extra substantial and tactile really feel that means increased high quality, whereas lighter papers are extra simply sure into books. The best paper weight for books is between 170 and 230 gsm, relying on the web page dimension. No less than 260 gsm is really useful for A3+ prints and 310 gsm for A2 prints that will likely be framed.
Floor: Paper surfaces vary from excessive gloss by means of semi-gloss, lustre, pearl and satin to clean matte. Textured papers are additionally accessible, together with ‘metallic’ papers with a particular floor that comprises particles of mica to mirror gentle with an iridescent sheen. Different choices embody ‘baryta’ papers that simulate the surfaces of conventional picture papers, canvas, linen and silk media and papers that simulate the ‘hand-made’ look of conventional Japanese ‘washi’ paper.
Impartial producer Ilford has a variety of various papers.
For printing a picture with a number of element, papers with clean surfaces will reproduce particulars higher than textured papers. Heavy textures can distract the viewer’s consideration from the picture, though they’ll work properly for photographs with broad tonal gradations and areas of excessive distinction.
Tonality: Inkjet papers are normally labeled as ‘heat’ or ‘cool’ tone. Heat papers retain the pale buff color of their supply supplies (normally wooden pulp). Cool papers are as shut as potential to pure white in color, actually because they comprise optical brighteners, though generally as a result of cotton rag is used of their manufacturing.
Most panorama photographs look finest on cooler toned papers as a result of they make colors seem livelier and spotlight clouds and brighter areas. Portraits and photographs of autumn colors normally look higher on hotter paper, notably when the topic comprises hotter hues and delicate tones.
Speciality picture papers embody ‘baryta’ surfaces, which replicate the floor look and tonality of conventional black and white picture papers.
Optical brightening brokers (OBAs) are added to the coatings on inkjet media to make them look whiter, normally in papers made primarily from wooden pulp. These chemical compounds fluoresce beneath ultraviolet gentle, emitting seen gentle on the blue/white finish of the seen spectrum, which overpowers the paper’s pure buff tone. Prints made on papers with OBAs seem to have a wider color gamut, elevated saturation and denser blacks, though the complete good thing about OBAs solely reveals beneath gentle with excessive ranges of UV, similar to daylight or fluorescent lighting.
Whereas brilliant white papers work properly for picture books (the place they obtain restricted gentle publicity) and a few short-term initiatives, OBAs lose their fluorescence over time, particularly when uncovered to brilliant gentle, making the paper revert to its pure buff. As this takes place, the printed picture will present color shifts.
OBA-free papers can be found for archival work however they’re normally dearer as a result of they comprise a excessive share of cotton rag. These papers might not reproduce the unique brilliance in printed photographs, however many superb artwork photographers want them as a result of they preserve constant color over time and their pure surfaces complement the printed photographs.
Many producers promote pattern packs in A4 or comparable sizes to provide photographers a low-cost method to check out their papers. The place the manufacturers themselves don’t make up pattern packs, some skilled re-sellers like Picture Science make up their very own packs, normally containing one or two A4 sheets of every paper kind inside a selected vary of between three and eight totally different papers. Costs vary between $12 and $35, relying on the kind of paper and the variety of sheets in a pack.
Pattern packs present a straightforward and inexpensive method to see whether or not you just like the look, really feel and tonal copy of a paper before you purchase it.
When you’ve chosen an acceptable paper, you must be capable to discover a associated ICC profile for the paper that matches your printer on the paper producer’s web site. For those who can’t discover a profile, use the closest match in your printer’s canned profiles and make a check print on a small sheet of the paper. You might want to provide a number of prints, making small changes between them to tweak colors and distinction ranges earlier than attaining a passable consequence.
Paper and ink selection
How to decide on inkjet media