Printing photos

Printing tips

Written by Gail Bjork

Give your photos some tender, loving care. Follow these basic tips for proofing, printing, drying and storing pictures.

Inkjet photo printer

Printer settings and type of paper used are important for obtaining quality prints

To obtain the best quality photos, make sure your printer is set to the highest quality for the type of paper you’re using. After selecting Print, the print dialog box opens. Click on the printer properties button and choose your preferred settings such as paper type and size, number of prints and if you want borderless prints.

For best results, use a premium inkjet photo paper.

Match the paper to the printer

If ink balls up on paper causing images look spotted, use a different photo paper or adjust the printer speed. This shouldn’t happen when using paper made by the same manufacturer as the printer.

Name brand paper, when used on the same brand printer, may be more expensive than non-name brand but usually produces optimal image quality.

Print drying time

Give photos about an hour to dry after printing and before stacking on top of one another. When prints will come in direct contact with another surface such as glass or pages in a photo album, let it dry for at least 24 hours.

Avoid drying prints in a room that is is hot and humid.

Proofing prints

If you need to review a lot of photos and not sure which ones you want to print out fully, consider making a proof.  Proofs not only give you an idea of what photos look like, but save money by not wasting ink on photos you don’t care to print out.

  • Set the printer to draft mode – print full sized images on standard or light-weight photo paper using draft mode. Save the more expensive, heavy-weight photo paper for the final job. The highest quality printer setting consumes much more ink than draft or standard print mode. However, draft mode it the least reliable proofing method for checking color accuracy.
  • Print at reduced sizes – make scaled down versions of photos. Use light-weight photo paper.
  • Make contact sheets – small-sized thumbnail photos. Many programs giving you the option to print contacts, also give you the option to print the image file name.

Proofing lets you preview the subject and composition, but rarely should be relied upon for an accurate rendition of colors.

Storing prints

Avoid storing prints in hot and humid areas or placing them in direct sunlight. One of the best places to store photos is in an above ground interior closet. Interior closets have a fairly consistent, dry temperature.

Use specially treated albums and acid-free envelopes, folders and sleeves for long-term storing and archiving photos.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.