Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Proof is in the Paper - Step 2 Toward Quality Prints

Last week we covered the importance of screen calibration in the printing process.  Until you know you're getting consistent colors on your display from image to image, don't bother wasting your ink on inconsistent prints.  Assuming you have your display color under control, the next step is to look at the paper on which you're going to print.

When we purchased our Epson R1900, we had visions of wide format prints (13"x19") hanging all over our walls so we also purchased a 20 pack of Epson's 13x19 Premium Photo Glossy paper.  I remember thinking at the time, this is rather expensive stuff at nearly $3 per sheet.  Obviously we didn't always want to print 13x19 so we picked up some 8.5x11 photo paper at the local Wal Mart for the rest.  Well, guess what.  The same image printed on Wal Mart's bargain brand 8.5x 11 photo paper looks nothing like the image printed on the Epson paper!

I've come to appreciate that printing is an iterative process.  By that I mean you're going to burn through some paper and ink before you're happy with the results and proceed to the "final print".  That being the case, it's time to go paper shopping.  The mistake I made in the beginning was to have quality paper for our final print and something less for "screwing around".  This time around I decided to order a sample kit of papers from a well known supplier - Red River Paper.  With a  few sheets of each of their different types of inkjet papers, I can now experiment with what paper I prefer for the types of images I print.  Once I've "dialed it in", I'll be placing another order for larger stock of that type as well as smaller sheets for use in the testing process.

Next week we'll review ICC Color Profiles, what they are, and how to use them within Lightroom.

Until next time, keep on click'n.


Post a Comment