January 5, 2017

Getting better prints from your printer

Can you believe it, 2017 is already here?  I’m hoping everyone enjoyed the holidays and got some time to spend with family and loved ones. Maybe Santa brought you a few of those goodies you asked for like that printer you had your eye on?

These days the costs of printers have gone down drastically and the quality has actually gotten much better, which is a good thing right? Maybe you picked up a new printer recently but for some reason you’re not getting the quality you were expecting. A lot of times I’ll see someone with a nice printer but they just can’t seem to get their images quite right? Does this sound like you? I know that sometimes your monitor might need to be calibrated, but this is assuming that’s already done and you’re working in the right color space (sRGB, RGB, Pro RGB etc.)

One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your images is by making sure you have the right ICC printer color profile for your printer.  I use a bunch of different papers for various projects, but I always make sure I’ve got the correct profile for my printer / paper combination.  Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the paper profiles that come with your printer are pretty good and I use them myself quite often for printing JPEGs or anything on plain paper. But when I’m using a quality paper, I always make sure I’ve downloaded the correct paper profile for my printer.
The first thing you want to do is go to the paper manufacturer’s website and download the correct profile. Search for color profiles and it’ll take you to a profile locator page with a list of available printer brands and models. Choose your printer brand and model from the pop-up menus and that will send you to a list of free color profiles for your paper type and printer. I download mine into a special folder with all my other color profiles, along with instructions.  They’ll all show you how to install them (sometimes with a video) basically because they want you to purchase more paper right?  Installing these is basically a no-brainer and very simple. 
Once you’ve installed your profile, it’s time to make your print. Just choose your ICC profile in Photoshops Print Settings dialog box (Command P or Ctrl+P on a PC)  Under Color Management, choose Photoshop Manages Colors from the Color Handling menu and then choose the correct profile from the profile menu below it. You’ll notice that I’ve selected the MOAB Lasal Luster profile. Right from the start your images will be a whole lot better because now the paper and printer match up perfectly.

Pretty Nice huh?  I hope this helps you and remember, as always, keep shooting and have some fun!
© D. Gould Photography