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gary_hendricks
04-20-2005, 10:44 AM
Forum articles:
Here is an article I published on my website about night photography. I hope it'll be useful to some of you in this forum.

Essential Tips for Printing Digital Photos
by Gary Hendricks

Does this sound familiar? Youíve taken a lot of beautiful digital photos, but you donít know how to make quality printouts? If youíre sending the photos to a printing kiosk to be printed, then thatís well and good. But if youíre printing them yourself using a photo printer, it helps to know some tips and tricks. This article will show you some of the best practices in printing digital photos.

Tip 1: Good Pictures Give Good Prints
This tip is pretty obvious. If youíve taken photo at a measly 1 megapixel resolution, you canít expect to have a huge A4 quality printout. If youíve taken the same photo at a 5 megapixel resolution, then yes, you can have that A4 print. As a rule, remember that you need at least a 2 megapixel resolution photo to have a decent 4x6 printout.

Tip 2: Remove Defects from the Image First
I always apply this tip before printing any image. Check the photo itself to ensure there are no specks or noise. If there are, use your favorite photo editor to remove them if possible. Of course, remember to save a backup copy of the image first. You can read up this guide on touching up photos if you need help.

Tip 3: Crop if Necessary
Another image editing tip Ė crop the picture youíre going to print if it makes sense to do so. Sometimes, I find that my subject is located in the middle of the photo and I donít really want to print the surrounding environmental detail. Thatís where you should crop away the area around the subject first, then proceed to print. This saves you a lot of ink too.

Tip 4: Select a Good Printer
This is very important. Only use a quality printer to do the job. At home, I use a nice little Canon Pixma iP4000 printer to print my pictures. You donít need a super high-end machine to print, just go for a mid-range inkjet printer thatís suitable for home use.

Always try to find a printer with excellent print quality (Canon and HP models come to mind) and an intelligent ink system. In the Canon Pixma iP4000 printer, for example, there is a 5 color ink system with individually replacable ink tanks. If one color runs out, I just need to replace that one color, instead of throwing away the whole cartridge.

Tip 5: Select Good Photo Paper
Many people tend to forget that good photo prints also depend on the paper you use. As a rule, you should go for paper that is of the correct thickness, produces good color and has good resistance to fading.

If you will be handling your photos a lot, try to choose thicker paper. If you intend to place your photos in an album, then paper thickness isnít too important Ė you can choose thinner photo paper.

Color brilliance is important too. Try buying some sheaves of photo paper and print out some colorful images on them to test them out. Buy them in bulk only if the color tests turn out good.

I also like to check resistance to fading. Again, buy some sheaves of photo paper for testing. Print out some pictures, then expose them to sunlight for a couple of days. If you notice any fading, then avoid that brand of paper in future.

Conclusion
Hopefully, this article has made you realize there are some guidelines to producing good photo printouts. If you follow the tips above the next time youíre printing photos, Iím sure you will have printouts that youíll be proud to share with friends and family.