Read these 12 Photo Printing Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Printing tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you've decided that you would rather print your digital photos at home, you'll need to decide which type of printer is right for your situation. Many color printers can run photo paper through their systems, meaning that they can be used both as regular printers and as photo printers. If you want superior quality, however, you'll need to purchase a dedicated photo printer. Photo printers are made to print at a higher resolution, which will make your photos come out looking more crisp and bright. They also can be made to just print on pre-cut photo paper – so you can purchase already formatted 4”x6” paper for these printers. A final thing to consider is cost; often, the cost of printing a digital photo at home on a dedicated printer can cost up to 30 cents per print, if you factor in the cost of the printer, paper and inks. Be sure to figure out whether purchasing a photo printer will be worth the extra cost (above how much it would cost to get your photos professionally printed).
Digital photography involves the use of a digital camera; and it differs from traditional photography in that no film is used. Instead, images are taken by the digital camera and stored as a digital file on a memory card, which can be looked at as a kind of digital film. The advantages to digital photography over traditional photography are great; there is no film to buy, and since memory cards have the capability to store many more photos than film, and you don't have to wait until the photos are developed to see what they look like. You only need to print the photos you actually like, which also saves you money on this as well. Digital photo printing services are offered by many different on line retailers, and for those who prefer to go into a store to get their photos printed, large retailers such as Target, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens also offer services where you can bring your memory card and get photos printed from digital files. The typical cost of these in-store photo services is less than 29 cents a print, which makes the cost less than that of traditional film developing.
If you need to print many different digital photos (multiple copies, or many photos from an event), you might be looking for discount digital photo printing services. While many photo printing companies are cheaper than the cost of getting film developed, the cost of many prints can still add up. Some of the bigger online photo printers do offer discounts when you're purchasing more than 100 prints at a time, but if you're looking for the cheapest overall; there are a few sites to check. Winkflash has perhaps the cheapest cost of printing digital photos; just 5 cents a print for 4”x6” prints, with no minimum. Shipping costs are also very reasonable. York Photo offers their prints for just 10 cents per print – making them a great discount digital photo printing service as well. Searching online for sales can also get you very cheap prices on photos, with some companies offering free prints to new customers.
Know the image size required for your layout before you scan—guess larger if uncertain. If the photo is larger than the layout size, simply scan at 300dpi. If the photo is smaller than the layout size, adjust your scanner settings (resolution and scan percentage size).
To calculate the resolution you must scan a photo at, increase the scanning resolution above 300dpi by the same percentage you will be enlarging the original photo. For example, if the photo measures 2 x 3 inches and the image layout size is 5 x 7 inches, 5/2 = 2.5 (you will be enlarging the photo 2.5 times, or 250%). Scan the photo at 2.5x 300dpi, or 750dpi.
*If you need to enlarge anything larger than 300% it is best to contact your local service provider for a professional scan.
Printing out pictures can be an adventure for many consumers who use photos in their home or small business. There are many different types of software which can tear apart a photo and add all sorts of neat features.
But one thing remains the same -- you need a good photo.
A poor photo will still be a poor photo. If it is out of focus, bad lighting, or the wrong format, it will not transfer well into the layout of the piece or even worse print out and look like the puppy barfed all over the paper again.
Be sure that photos are sharp, clean and crisp. The subject of the photo should be properly framed within the shot.
An important term to understand is DPI--dots per inch. If you have a 300 DPI photo that will be printed out at 1200 DPI -- you will have one blurry photo because a photo with less resolution is being printed out on a printer with a high resolution. If you only need 300 DPI, use a print out with that same amount or just a little higher. Otherwise, reshoot the photo, save it at a higher DPI and you will be fine.
Before taking a picture, determine the quality of an image and how it can be used in a layout. Use the highest quality setting available on the camera.
The pixel dimensions of an image identify the resolution. Dividing the pixel width and height by 300 determines the dpi. Divide by 400 for images with text. For example, if your digital camera image (with no text) equals 1200 pixels x 1600 pixels, 1200/300 equals 4 inches, 1600/300 equals 5.33 inches. So, the layout size for your image equals 4 inches x 5.33 inches. The image can print at this size or smaller for clear and crisp printing.
Digital cameras use the RGB color space. When RGB is converted to CMYK, images tend to darken. Brighten and sharpen your image for clearer printing. Convert the image to the CMYK color space, if possible. Professionals frequently use Adobe Photoshop for this task.
Of course, not everyone who takes pictures these days uses a digital camera. Some people just prefer the look and feel of film loaded in a traditional camera. But what if you still want to take advantage of cheaper film developing prices, as well as online photo albums? Well, there are a few companies that are willing to develop film, and some will even put the photos on the Internet digitally for you. One such company is photothru.com – they will send you prepaid mailers so you can mail them your film rolls, as well as give you a photo CD and upload your photos to an online photo album when you pay for developing. Other companies, such as Photoworks, also offer similar services to the film photographer – and while these services are not as cheap as getting digital photos printed, they are convenient and allow film photographers to have their pictures in a digital format as well.
If you are looking for the largest selection of digital photo printers, online digital photo printing is for you. There are many different companies that offer online digital photo printing, and each company has their own advantages. If you're looking for a good balance of price (around 15 cents for a 4”x6” print) and online editing, the Kodak Easyshare Gallery offers this and more. They also have great photo quality, and the company offers poster size prints, which are great gifts. For the best quality in prints, CNET rated Fujifilm.net the highest among online photo sites, but they're also more expensive (around 27 cents per 4”x6” print). Most sites that offer online digital photo printing also offer photo hosting, which means you can upload your photos to an online photo album for others to see. This is a great way to share photos with loved ones and allow them to purchase their own prints.
Photographic images can be saved in different file formats. The format of choice is one that does not lose color quality, contrast, or file size.
TIF or EPS files are examples of lossless file formats. They are designed to print clear and crisp at a resolution of 300dpi at their final size in the layout.
JPEG/JPG or GIF files are examples of lossy file formats. They were originally designed for easy file transmission and Internet use, not for printing. When a lossy file format is saved over and over again, the jagged edges are exaggerated. The process creates extra pixel garbage that you do not want printed. Therefore, if you start with a JPEG file that then needs edits, save it as an EPS or TIF file. This way, additional information will not get lost and the quality of the original JPEG image will be maintained.
Another option that digital photographers have is to print their photos at home. Home photo printing has become increasingly more popular, as the price of color and photo printers has decreased over time. Technology has made it so that printers have gotten smaller and easier to use – some photo printers do not even require a computer to use with them. An advantage to printing your photos at home over sending them over the Internet or bringing them to a store is how immediately you can get your prints – instantly. You can also choose from different sizes and qualities of paper when you're printing photos at home, which makes it a good idea for people who like to be more hands-on with their photo projects. Printing photos at home may not be a good idea, however, for people who are looking for the ultimate in quality. You will get much better quality prints from a store or online photo printer.
There are many photo printing choices available to photographers these days. You can choose to have your digital photos printed on line, in a store or even in your own home, depending on the size and quality you're looking for. Getting film developed also offers you several choices; there are different companies on line and in stores that are willing to develop your film, and the many different options mean that you can easily find a good deal. There are also many different programs that you can use to get your photos printed via your computer - from expensive professional photo editing suites to free, downloadable programs. Photo printing today has come a long way from the first photo services – so you can definitely find one to suit your needs.
You might be wondering if you can edit digital photos you've taken. The answer is that you can, and there are many different types of photo printing software that can be used for this purpose. At the high end of the cost spectrum, you have full-featured image editing software like Adobe Photoshop. This software can cost up to $800, and is really designed to be used by graphic designers and professional photographers. At the other end, there are several on line photo companies that offer their own photo printing software so that you can edit your photos. Kodak offers services that you can use on their website to edit photos, as well as a free downloadable program. Photosite, another online photo printer, offers a similar arrangement of photo software. These free photo printing software programs are definitely full-featured enough for most home photographers' needs, and there is no cost to using them.