Tips for How to Print Digital Photos Yourself
If you want to take your digital photos and transform them into stunning, professional-quality images, it is easier than you think. In fact, you can easily learn how to print digital photos at home.
If you have some digital photos on your hands that you would love to have printed off so that you can display them proudly in your home. However, sometimes when you take stunning digital photos and turn them into prints—it can disrupt the original quality of the image.
That is unless you know how to print digital photos .
We have a few easy, practical tips for you to keep in mind as you attempt to print your own digital photos right at home.
Start With the Right Calibrated Display
Before you ever worry about anything making it on to paper—make sure that you calibrate your display properly. Before you edit an image and get it ready to print, your screen needs to be calibrated so you what you see on your screen will look like what comes out of the printer.
This is important whether you are printing the images yourself, or if you are sending them off to a lab.
If you are really serious about printing off digital photos at home—then you may even want to consider upgrading your screen. This is the best way to get the most accurate view of what your final product is going to look like.
Printing on the Right Paper
Another little thing that can make a big difference in the quality of your digital prints is the paper that you use. Obviously, printing a digital photo off on everyday printer paper is not going to deliver the best results.
You want a quality photo paper.
However, these photo papers come in a number of finishes: luster, glossy, matte, hot press, baryta, etc. And each of these papers has their own unique benefits.
There is no one best type of photo paper out there. If you are unsure which one will work best for your particular photo and desired aesthetic, there are variety packs you can buy to try out a few different finishes.
Assign a “Profile.”
If you aren’t already using a profile when you edit your photos in photoshop—you should start doing it. Shooting in raw is typically best for digital photo. However, when you take that raw photo and translate it into Photoshop and then again to print it—you image is going to go through a number of different conversions which can impact the color quality during translation.
Assigning a “profile” will make sure that everything is translated properly so that what you capture on your camera ends up being what you see on paper, no matter how many times the file gets moved.
Use the Soft Proofing Function
Most editing software programs will have a function called “soft proofing” on it. This is what you will use to match up your image you have edited with the printer and even the printer paper that you want.
The program will get to work creating a soft proof for you based on your printer and paper settings, and let you know if there are any issues. Sometimes, the printer will tell you that certain colors may not turn out exactly like they look in the screen—or not as bright. It can also help you change tones or levels in your image now so that it translates better on to paper.
During this process you can even make changes to see how different photo paper or printer settings will impact your colors and what hues your printer is able to print.
Run a Test Print
Once you think you have everything figured out on your computer—and you have the right paper, print out a single print of your digital photo. Then make sure that you put that print under good lighting to get a real look at how it turns out.
The best source is natural daylight from a window. If you are really worried about how your photos are turning out—consider getting a dedicated color viewing lamp. This will give you a good view on how the colors will turn out in different lighting situations.
Tips on Sending Your Images to a Lab
If you ultimately decide that sending your images to a lab is the right choice for you—then there are many great labs out there. However, you want to double check on a few things before sending it off.
First, make sure that your photo fits the dimensions of the lab’s print size. If your image is not perfectly sized to the final print size—the lab may try to crop for you. This likely isn’t something you want. So, crop your image before you send it off to make sure it turns out exactly as you want.
You should also double check on color space. Not all labs accept Adobe RGB and may want you to submit your photo some other way. While some labs have limits when it comes to file size—others may only accept JPEGs. You need to be clear before you do your editing.
If you are unable to calibrate when editing your photo and are sending it off to a lab—then consider letting them do your color correction. A lot of new photographers struggle with color correction—and you can ask the lab techs to do it for you. They are very familiar with printers and paper types and can make sure that you get the results you are looking for.
Now that you know the basics—there is no better time to give it a try and to start printing your digital photos at home so you can have stunning prints you are sure to love. Whether you are printing off your digital photos at home, or sending them off to a lab for printing, paying a little extra attention during the prep stage can make sure you once again get the beautiful final product you want.