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Digital Photo Image Printing Tips

A quick guide to successful digital camera photo printing

digital photo image printing digital photo image printing digital photo image printing

This is a quick guide to digital photo image printing, with top tips on the key things you need to remember. It's not a complicated business really, but digital photo printing equipment can sometimes be a bit daunting.

The great thing about digital photography is that it sets you free from the time consuming tasks of the darkroom. It's just snap, edit and print!

But hang on a minute! It isn't quite that simple actually. Why not...?

Well, basically because printers render images using a different system to computers.

So, for successful digital camera photo printing, you need to square them up (or 'calibrate' them). You need to make the settings that determine the way a printer reproduces an image equivalent to those that affect how it displays on your monitor. 

It would be no good taking a great photo, making it even better with careful work in Photoshop, and then to throw it all away at the printing stage!


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The problem is simple really: Photos on a computer screen are made up of pixels (short for 'picture elements') which are rendered through the RGB (red, green, blue) colour system. Meanwhile printed images are comprised of dots of ink (dpi/ 'dots per inch') created using a 'CMYK' (cyan, magenta, yellow, key black) colour system.

The CMYK ink system in printers blends together the component colours to produce accurate representations of a whole range of colours and tones. This makes for slight differences in appearance to images on a computer screen made up of single pixels with the RGB system.

So how do we negotiate this little alteration in colour system that interrupts our workflow? How to successfully 'translate' photos on screen to nice printed pictures where our skin isn't a grim green or lips a crazy red!

Most of the time it's pretty simple; there are 2 steps. Firstly calibrate your monitor then calibrate your printer. Let's see how it's done...


Digital photo image printing tips to calibrate your monitor


The first thing to say is that there is lots of excellent software out there to help you in doing a really good job of this. But if you don't want to add yet another expense to your already expensive hobby (!) here's a simple way of doing things.

Take a photo with fairly neutral daytime light that features someone with normal skin tone. Get it printed by a really top notch professional printing company, so that it is rendered as accurately as you could hope.

Hold the printed photo up to the original digital shot on your computer screen. Adjust the colours, brightness and contrast of your screen until it matches the appearance of the photo.

Now your digital photo looks exactly on screen as it should when printed from your printer.

Ok, now for some really important digital photo image printing tips.


What to Look For in a Printer?



Digital photo image printing tips to calibrate your printer


So your monitor is displaying photos as they should be able to be printed. Now you just need to prepare the printer.

Again, there's loads of software that you can use to help calibrate your printer, but I rarely have a problem just doing things in the following way.

First you need to access the printer driver software. I use Windows and go: 'Control Panel' > 'Printers and Faxes' > Click on the name of my printer. I then select 'Printer' from the toolbar and 'Properties' from the drop down menu.

If you find that you need to install the printer driver, or an updated version of it, printer manufacturers enable you to do this for free from their websites.

Download printer drivers:

Quotable Quote:

By furnishing this already crowded world with a duplicate one of images, photography makes us feel that the world is more available than it really is.

- Susan Sontag


Digital camera photo printing can often be made nice and easy by the fact that printer drivers contain some handy pre-set options. These are called 'profiles', and simply relate to certain printer/ink/paper combo's that work well together to give accurate results.

But you can tweak things manually too. Under the 'colour management' section of your printer driver just play around with the cyan, magenta, yellow and black sliders. Adjust their respective intensities until the print that it produces matches the onscreen image satisfactorily.

You can also manage the CMYK colours that your printer outputs from within image editing software, like Photoshop. In Photoshop go File > Print > Page Setup > Printer > Properties.


digital photo image printing Too much cyan...
digital photo image printing Too much magenta...
digital photo image printing Just right!



This is one of the most crucial digital photo image printing tips: Sometimes people set up the colours, paper options, and so on, within image editing software and do not select the option to switch off the printer driver's colour management.

As a result the settings are doubled up and bad quality prints result.

In Photoshop Elements you can simply choose whether to use the printer driver's settings or those configured in Photoshop, then go ahead and print. Simple!

Here's a guide to digital photo printing equipment to help you find the best digital photo printer for your needs.

Printer paper is an important component in the style and accuracy of your prints. Here are some digital photo image printing tips on choosing from the range of papers.


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