Basics on Getting High-Quality Prints

Here's a preview of what you can do to ensure that you get quality prints every time:

ii Get friendly with your printer. Learn everything you can about it.

i Be sure you follow the directions and establish the correct printing options to get your prints. Know what options are best for different formats — single prints, contact sheets, cards, calendars, and so on.

i Make absolutely certain you have the best source material possible. If your image is of lousy quality, you're not going to get a great print, no matter what you do. You need to make sure your images have sufficient resolution, are saved in the correct file format, and are cleaned up and fixed of any flaws.

i Make sure you use good quality equipment and materials. This includes everything from your printer to your paper to ink.

What you see is not always what you get

Although you can do many things to improve the quality of your prints, you can't translate all the colors, nor their vivid brightness from screen to paper. Here are a few factors that influence this disparity:

I Color models: Monitors and printers use two different color models. Your monitor displays colors in RGB (red, green, and blue), while printers print in CMYK (cyan, yellow, magenta, and black). The RGB color gamut (or range) is 16.7 million colors, and the CMYK gamut is around 55,000 colors. There's a big difference between those two numbers, so a lot of what you see on-screen cannot be physically output onto paper. (See Chapter 3 for more on color.)

ii Quality and calibration of your monitor: You can do a basic calibration of your monitor by following the steps in Chapter 10.

i Whether or not you use a color management system for all your devices: For example, a color management system based on using ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles can help you control your color across all of your devices. Unfortunately, color management is way beyond the scope of this book. But if you are bound and determined to try and get your monitor to match your printed output, I would suggest buying a book solely devoted to this topic.

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