Advanced Printing

The main focus of advanced printing is printing with printer profiles designed specifically for your printer and paper. The main advantage of printing with profiles is a more precise match between monitor and printer right before printing. This allows careful editing of print colors on the computer before you print and the ability to use most or all of the color range available from your printer. In order to print with profiles, you will need to obtain the appropriate profiles for your printer.

Manufacturer's profiles The easiest source of profiles is from the appropriate paper manufacturer (including the printer manufacturer for the papers that they sell for that printer). Printer profiles are widely available for a modest number of photo printers on the web sites of a number of paper manufacturers. Many make excellent profiles for their papers and a number of printers popular with professional print makers. Epson, Ilford, Kodak, Legion Paper, Red River Paper, Pictorico, and others provide printer profiles for their papers via the Internet. And often the paper box provides a web site for profiles. You need to obtain profiles for your specific printer model and paper type. Usually, profiles are only available for the printer manufacturer's inks, but if the printer can use multiple types of ink (like the Epson 2200 or R2400 printers), be careful about which inks you use. Additionally, find specific instructions for each profile on configuring the printer driver. If the driver settings are not configured on your computer the same as the instructions for the printer profile, the profile won't print properly.

Custom profiles You can also have custom profiles made for you by a professional profile service. These have some good advantages but cost money. A quick Google for "custom printer profiles" found several services for around US$40/€30. These companies provide a test target and instructions on how to best print this target. Once you print the target, snail mail the physical target to the profile service and they e-mail you the specific profile. Purchase a profile for each paper type you'll be using.

Installing profiles Once you download the profiles, you need to install them. Some of the manufacturer's profiles include an installer that install the profile for you, but most require you install them yourself.

On Mac OSX, copy the profiles to the appropriate directory. If you have admin privileges for your computer (most users running their own desktop computers have admin privileges), use the <drive>/Library/ColorSync/Profiles folder. Just move the profile files to this location. If you don't have admin privileges, use the <drive>/Users/<username>/Library/ColorSync/Profiles folder. You'll have private access to profiles in this folder. Once installed, you'll be able to use these profiles from within Photoshop.

Mac icc icon

Mac icc icon

On Windows XP, install the profile by right-clicking on the profile and selecting Install Profile from the context menu. This action copies the profile to the appropriate directory.

Install Profile

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Profile names Profiles can be named almost anything, but there's a general consensus that a good profile name includes a reference to the printer model, paper, and ink (if appropriate). A typical Epson profile is named "EP2200 EnhancedMatte 2880MK.icc" - the printer is EP2200 (Epson 2200), the paper Enhanced Matte, the ink Matte Black (MK), and the printer resolution 2880 dots per inch (dpi). With some practice, understanding profile name will become a snap.

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