There’s still nothing quite like having a printed photo in your hand. An actual photo print has depth, texture, and weight you just can’t reproduce with a digital image on a screen. What’s even better is being able to print one of your photos at home yourself.
While there have been many improvements with inkjet photo printers in recent years to make them easier to use, you still might run into trouble with getting your prints the way you want them. Pro photographer Mark Denney is someone who has learned the hard way. By his own admission, he made a lot of photo printing mistakes when he was a beginner.
In the below video tutorial, Denney explains the error(s) of his photo printing ways and how he overcame them with the hope that beginner photo printers out there can learn from the mistakes he made.
“From my personal experience, printing is perhaps the most difficult aspect of photography, but at the same time the most rewarding and educational as well,” Denney says. “I’ve learned a great deal over the past four years that I’ve been printing my own landscape photos and have made a ton of costly mistakes along the way as well.”
Here are the five photo printing mistakes that Denney says beginners should try to avoid (watch the video at the bottom of the post to hear all his commentary) :
Mistake #1: Jumping Right In
“The first time I printed, I didn’t do my due diligence and I didn’t study up and figure out all the steps that are required before you actually print an image,” Denney explains. “I just figured I could find the photograph and print it. I just started printing image after image after image, and I printed large prints and I wasted a ton of ink and I wasted a ton of paper. I didn’t quite understand what is needed to get an image ready for print.”
Mistake #2: Uncalibrated Monitor
“Calibrating your monitor is a very crucial step. I printed for about three or four months before I even knew that calibrating a monitor was a thing.”
Mistake #3: Single Paper
“Don’t stick to one type of paper. There are so many different fantastic papers out there that will produce a completely different end result. You have matte paper, you have gloss, semi-gloss, luster etc. Certain images print better on certain types of paper.”
Mistake #4: No Paper Profiles
“A paper profile is like a language. There are many different ways to say a singular word just as there are many specific profiles for particular papers. You can download these paper profiles from most paper manufacturers for free and it’s really cool what they will help you do with your prints.”
Mistake #5: Not Print Editing
“This is a big one. The way that you see an image on the screen is totally different than the way it was printed. So, you have to make some changes to an image before printing. In my experience, I almost always have to increase the exposure a little bit on my photographs and then maybe I’ll decrease the blacks somewhat. You just have to really practice it. Every photograph is different and the only way you’re really going better at it is doing it more often.”
Watch Denney’s full tutorial below where he demonstrates his photo printing tips on some of his images. If you’re in the market for a new photo printer, check out our review of the Epson XP-8600, which we feel is one of the best budget photo printers out there. You should also read this excellent guide to the best photo printers of 2021 from our sister site, Outdoor Photographer.