Photo Printer Setup
Have you ever tried to print your own photographs but given up in frustration? If you have then you’re in good company. I know many photographers who have tried and failed . I too struggled for years when trying to make prints. Fortunately I managed to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary. One common source of problems is that of the printer setup.
Printer Driver Configuration
Your printer driver is the key to setting up the printer properly but you need a little knowledge to get it right. The printer driver is a critical piece of software linking the printer and computer. Without the printer driver the two won’t work together. It’s quite likely you're already familiar with your printer but may not know it. This is because you use it for common tasks such as changing paper size, switching to higher or lower quality printer etc. But the printer driver is also where you need take control of the printer’s colour management. It’s just not sufficient to rely on the printer default settings as they will be far from optimal.
Before You Start
Before you can setup your printer you will need a few things:
- Your printer and driver are installed to your computer.
- You have suitable photo paper to which you will print.
- You have a printer profile installed.
What is a Printer Profile?
This is a special instruction file that tells the printer how to interpret the colour information from the computer. This means when the ink is applied to the paper by the printer the correct colour is produced. For each paper and printer combination you use, you should need a specific printer profile. For example, if you are using Epson Archival Matte paper with an Epson R3000 printer, you will need the profile for that paper and printer combination. If you switch to printing on an Epson 3880 printer, you will need to use a different printer profile. If you don't the colours in the image will be printed wrong. Sometimes these errors are hard to notice. Sometimes though they can ruin the print.
You can create your own printer profiles using special tools such as a Color Munki. It's often easier though to download profiles from the Internet. Most well-known manufacturers of photo paper provid profiles on their website for popular printers. These are usually free to download and come with installation instructions.
Now Watch These Video
Now it’s time to watch the videos. These demonstrate how to setup a printer driver. Both videos use an Epson 3880 printer driver which may differ from your printer. Don’t worry if you have a different printer, understand the principles and you should be able to apply them to your own printer driver.
This first video demonstrates how to setup the printer driver for colour printing from Lightroom using a printer profile.