Sharper Solutions – How to Get Higher Quality Prints
It’s not the software or photography equipment that is the afterthought for many creatives, but the printing solutions themselves. We don’t spend our time perfecting our craft, only to be let down by the print job that is supposed to bring our work to life. If you are not happy with the quality you are seeing, let’s review what you can do to get a sharper picture that honours your creative eye. Let’s get to it!
Ink cartridges and printer
Your ink cartridge of choice should be carefully selected, as cartridges are not a one size fits all. You will need to choose an ink cartridge that is compatible with your printer, and you should only use genuine ink cartridges as counterfeit options will potentially damage your printer and will give you average-looking prints. Don’t go there. If you are unsure of where to start, do your research of which ink cartridges perform best, and you might arrive at the decision that you need to replace your printer entirely. Epson, Canon and Konica Minolta are of particular note in this category, with creatives and photographers often flocking to these printing brands.
The right paper
There is great variety in the type of paper you can use when trying to achieve high-quality prints, and this is an area you will want to get up to speed with. From the thickness of the stock to the desired finish, you want to be selecting something that will give your work the best canvas. If you have a flat image or shape, you may want to use a glossy photo paper or a matte finish for an image with greater depth. Every artist has their own intention and style, so play around with a few options until you decide on the best one for you. You might be trying to achieve a flatter image, or could be drawn to the look and feel of a matte paper. You can also reach out to those who are succeeding in your space, and ask them what paper they are using and why they have chosen that gsm and finish.
Get in the habit of doing test strips
Test strips are something photographers will be familiar with, although you can apply this practice to any production outside of photography. Before you feed your premium paper into the tray, put some standard paper in and select a portion of the picture to print. Choose an area that exhibits many colours and shapes so that you can see how it all looks. Then print this test strip and see what you think. If you want to use your premium paper, you can feed the same piece of paper through many times, shifting the area of the test strip so you can get the right resolution and colour saturation. This habit will be a huge cost saver.
Get it right first up
You don’t want to get too far into a project only to find that the reason you can’t get a higher quality print is that you got a blurry shot to start with or used poor quality shapes and resolution. Before you start creating, achieve a greater resolution and then you can begin creating and printing. You will want to make sure you have the right tools to achieve these productions, which might include a quality DSLR and Adobe products. You want to be asking yourself – ‘is this shot a high enough quality that I can continue to work on it, or am I going to experience some difficulty?’
Here are just a few ways to achieve a higher quality print result, but you may want to test your own techniques and see what sort of output they bring to the table. It would be a real shame to have your innovative ideas betrayed by a poor printer and an inferior paper, so invest in the time and tools to avoid this.