Three Steps to Great Inkjet Prints


You only need to know three things to get great prints from your inkjet printer. Sure, you can add many micro-steps in between to refine your output, but if you follow this workflow exactly as I list it, your prints will improve.

First, calibrate your monitor. I like the Pantone Eye-One Display LT Monitor Color Calibrator for about $163 US, but any good colorimeter will work.

Next, match your ICC profiles and printing paper. Usually the easiest way to do this is to buy paper manufactured by the same company that makes your printer. If you have an Epson, buy Epson paper. The corresponding ICC profile will be available in your printer dialog box because they are loaded on to your computer when you install the print driver. If they're not there, go to the manufacturer's web site, download them, and install them on your own.

Finally, let the application control the color management (Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, etc.). Make sure you're using the matching ICC profile (usually called out under "Profile") for the paper that's in your printer, and you're set.

Printing can be that easy. This conversation came up (again) while chatting with photographer friend Colleen Wheeler. She had just published Beginner's Luck: Paper Matters to the Inside Lightroom web site. Her story of getting a good print for Father's Day will resonate with many of you.

Now go off and print something beautiful!

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