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Printing Photo Quality Images Using Standard Printer Ink

2010-05-19

With the rapid technological advancements being made in the world of digital photography, image editing programs and archival printers, one would assume that producing a photo quality image is something that can be achieved in your sleep. This may be true to an extent, but it is also hinged upon the presumption that high-tech gadgets are within your budget, or that a local service bureau will do the best printing job for you. One need not worry though, as there are certain fundamental laws in the production of professional looking prints that can be executed in your own home. Plain point and shoot cameras and generic printer ink cartridges will suffice, even if it seems unlikely.

Taking your image from the start with the appropriate settings is key, of course. What matters most in the final image is its resolution and noise level. That equates to minimal pixelation and fuzziness of details. If the image in your memory card is not optimal, then there is nothing that your printer ink cartridges can do for you to render satisfactory output. Therefore, always shoot at the lowest possible ISO setting for the least noise, and at the correct resolution setting based on the projected size of your print. (It seems sensible to shoot at the highest resolution and then reduce the size and crop down, if necessary). Don't believe that a fancy DSLR is requisite for good photos - it's not!

Second, check the functionality of your printer. Clean your printer heads using your printer's maintenance tool. Printer ink cartridges are notorious for streaks, clogging, and blank banding if they are not regularly used. Image quality is contingent upon how well ink flows from the tanks and to ensure that you get the best possible results, it's essential to make sure that your nozzles are clean and free of any dried up debris.

Finally, to get the most out of your desktop printer, use quality paper! If you want longevity, richness and depth of tones, and a professional finish to the surface of your images, it is well worth the money to print on premium paper. Even standard printer ink will show up better on a sheet of 8 x 10 glossy than on copy paper or matte cardstock.

Getting a photo quality image is easier than one might think. It's easy to be intimidated by all the expensive options out there on the market which promise the results of a professional photographer, but the reality is that a little mindfulness and knowledge about your equipment will assuredly render comparable results. Doing the research can yield grand results, so it's well worth the time.

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