A good print doesn’t just happen — it takes a bit of work on your part to make your images look impressive on paper. Here are some of the basic steps you can take to give your images their best print version:
Start with a good image
Printers print a certain number of dots per inch (dpi). Many inkjet printers are set to print at 150 and 300 dpi, and if you print an image with a lower dpi than your printer, the image will probably turn out pixelated. In comparison, most monitors have a resolution output of 72 dpi. A 4×6-inch image, for example, only needs 288×432 pixels to look good on the monitor. This, however, will not translate into a good printed image with the same size. If your printer has 300 dpi, and your 4×6-inch image only has 150 dpi, the best way to maintain the clarity of your image would be to print it at half its screen size (2×3 inches). You can also opt to find images with high resolution to ensure the integrity of your prints but, in practice, saving high res pictures can take up too much memory.
Familiarize yourself with your printer
Inkjet printers, the most commonly used consumer printer, are typically capable of printing photos that come close to the quality produced by dedicated photo printers in photo processing stores.
To make full use of your inkjet printer’s capability of producing true quality photos, you should be familiar with its editing options, if it has any, and how to manipulate its drivers. In due time, your knowledge on how to control your printer’s print quality, contrast, brightness, and color levels, can help you bring out the best print for your image.
Additionally, you also have to provide your printer with high quality ink that can resist blurring and running to keep your print in the best condition for the longest time possible. Ideally, you should use ink products made by your printer’s manufacturers, but you can also use remanufactured and compatible ink cartridges provided that they come from a reputable manufacturer.
Quality prints need quality paper
Last but not the least is finding a proper media for your print. As a rule of thumb, smooth paper works best with inkjet printers, but this is still dependent a number of other factors, such as how the paper is manufactured, the presence of recycled materials, and the percentage of rag to cellulose.
The best way to find the right paper for your images would be to experiment with various photo papers beforehand. It would be a good idea to invest on high quality paper if you are aiming to have your photo framed or displayed. You may also want to consider using heavy paper if you want to give your finished product an air of class, elegance, and exclusivity.
Remember to set your printer to match the quality and dimensions of the paper you are using. Some printers have automatic sensors to do this, but it is good practice to adjust this setting manually.