Use a good printer

Just as the source of the print is important, so is the final destination. If your printer is old or on the low end of the printer quality totem pole, you may be disappointed with your prints, no matter how great the image looks on-screen. High-quality photo printers are so reasonably priced now that it would be a shame not to have one if you are serious about home printing.

Shop around and request some sample prints. Some companies or retail outlets even let you print your file. Make sure the printer's specs say that the printer provides photo-quality printouts and can handle all of the paper types and sizes you need. After you acquire a good printer, get to know it. Run it through a gamut of tests. For more on this topic, see the first section in this chapter.

Keep your inkjet printer clean. Use the cleaning utility to unclog or align the heads. You may find that if you haven't used your printer in awhile, you may need to clean the nozzles. And aligning the heads when you change ink cartridges may be necessary. Refer to your owner's manual for details.

Print resolution

Many printers are capable of printing at various resolutions, such as 360 dpi, 720 dpi, 1440 dpi and 2880 dpi. How do you know which to use? It depends on the intended use. For example:

i Is it for a flyer for your child's school? If so, maybe 360 to 720 dpi is fine.

i Is it for an exhibit at the local coffeehouse? Better crank it up to 1440 to 2880 dpi.

Run sample prints to see the differences between the various print settings. The higher the printer resolution, the longer the print time and the more ink is consumed.

Figure 14-12:

Performing a few fixes on your image can transform a mediocre photo into a very good image.

Figure 14-12:

Performing a few fixes on your image can transform a mediocre photo into a very good image.

Alternatives to the Inkjet

There are a couple of other types of photo printers to consider besides inkjet:

l Dye-sublimation printers: These printers, which are becoming more affordable, use a heating element to melt pigment from a colored ribbon onto the paper. Dye-sublimation printers print much faster than inkjet prints and provide excellent quality prints, but are more expensive to purchase than the average inkjet printer. The printers in the Fujifilm PG series are the most expensive, but can produce prints that rival traditional photographic prints.

l Direct-print printers: These printers allow you to bypass the computer completely. Instead, you cable your digital camera to the printer or insert your memory card into a slot on the printer. You can print everything from contact sheets to regular-size prints. The downside, of course, is that aside from a couple of brightness and color adjustments on some models, you cannot repair or fix your images before you print them.

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Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Digital Camera and Digital Photography

Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.

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