Sunday, December 1, 2013

Looking for images to Print

For the past few weeks I have been revitalized with my photography.   I have been learning how to use photoediting software and my first project was to make a few T-shirts.  It's a bit different selecting images to be printed directly onto garments, rather than printed on photo paper.  For printing on cotton or other materials your image can be more forgiving.   It can be less sharp and less technically perfect

Printing on photopaper is less forgiving and subject to closer scrutiny.  If you are a photographer you will generally put your nose right up to the print and see how sharp it is, look at your focus and check to see if your horizon is level.   A few years ago I bought a wide carriage Canon Pro 9000 mark 2 printer.  I have printed many 13" x 19" prints, matted and framed them .  I bought a small Logan mat cutter and cut the mats myself.

I had not used this printer for perhaps,  3 years and I was worried that the heads had clogged.   It is a common problem with Epsons and that is why they tell you to make a print once in a while to keep the ink in the heads "flowing".   Of course I just turned mine off and left it there to gather dust.  I wanted to get back into printing and was looking at buying a newer wide carriage printer, something along the lines of an Epson 3880 but then I have a few packs of expensive Canon Pro Platinum paper which would have been useless if I changed brands, so I did a quick nozzle check . . .  (maintenance item in software).   I didn't believe my eyes when the print pattern looked normal, so I did a second nozzle check, just in case to double check.   Seems like my Canon is "good to go"  so I did my first test print above and the print looks normal with colour as it should be with no smears or missing ink patterns

I am not sure how many of you out there print your own photos.  It's not about saving money as it generally costs more to do it yourself but there is a satisfaction of following your vision from start to finish.   From looking at the image in your camera, snapping the photo, editing and then printing your final product and framing it if necessary.   I do it all.

It took me a while to understand how to make my own prints.  It is not just a matter of loading up your image file and clicking the print button as you would do on consumer grade printers.  You only have to go to photo forums to understand that it is not that easy to match the colour of what shows on your monitor and presume that your print will look exactly as you saw on the screen.  Then there are those different brands of photo paper with different absorbsion rates.   Different papers would print differently as to what you see  on your monitor.   Higher grade printers and higher quality papers have custom print files available from their web sites.  Even Costco+ and Walmart have print profiles available for their machines

After I sorted out my printer and decided that it was ready to print something more serious I went to Canon Support and downloaded (Upgraded all my software) which included Canon Easy-Photoprint EX and the latest upgrade to Canon DPP: Digital Photo Professional as well as all the latest print drivers for my printer model.

Of the three photos directly above, the top left is Canon Glossy, the right is Canon Pro Platinum as is also the bottom.  These photos look like they came out of a commercial lab.  I am particulary fussy and they meet my approval.  These images were all resized and set at 300 dpi before printing.   I started to leave white borders on my photos so you could just put them into a standard frame without having to cut mats for them

Also while I was going through my archives I came across some photos from April  2009.  Recently some of you were mentioning that they liked to hum music from Gordon Lightfoot

    Gordon Lightfoot in concert                                     Orpheum Theatre,  April,  2009

Well,  he sang all the songs that he was known for

and he also threw in a few stories about his life and about the time he got sick and was not expected to live

    Gordon Lightfoot with Mrs Skoot                                   VIP reception at the Orpheum Theatre

Of course I could not get into this photo as I had to stand behind the camera

    Mrs Skoot,  David Suzuki and myself

but I managed to get into this photo with David Suzuki


  1. Really enjoyed this one Bob, the technical as well as the musical.

    1. Coop:

      I'm not that technical that's why it took a while to find out about ICC printer profiles

      lots of info here. They make a profile for each type of paper which work with various professional printers

      I bought a sample pack of Hahnemuehle paper considered one of the best makers of fine art paper but you need to install an ICC profile for each type of paper. Different printers have different nozzles and different spraying patterns and papers have different absorption rates

      The ICC profile tells the printer how much ink of which colour to spray based upon paper and printer combinations

    2. Who's responsibility is it to come out with the profile files, the printer or the paper manufacturer? I remember looking for them in the past and had a hard time finding many and none for the small photo printer I had…

    3. Richard:

      Usually the paper manufacturers

      Hahnemuehle (Germany) is one of the largest and here they are

      Most places who sell pro printers would carry Hahnemeuhle in different finishes

      but there is also Red River

      but I have never seen them in stock. You have to buy on-line

      In Seattle at Glazers they have much more selection

      You would not buy this expensive paper without having an ICC print profile. I was reading that Epson Premium Glossy was the same as Canon Pro Glossy II but who knows. Ilford Glossy was reported that they make paper for Canon and use the same profile. Remember that Canon will most likely job out the paper to manufacture and then brand under the Canon name. Same with inks. Perhaps Precision Colors makes the Canon Ink. Not sure but it is nearly identical and print perfectly using the Canon profiles.

      I would have to say it is in the interest of the paper manufacturer to supply these ICC files or else they won't print well and people wouldn't buy their paper

  2. Dang Bob, didn't realize there was so much to think about when doing your own printing....Martha is the one in the family who prints photos for the scrapbook and snailmails....but she just uses the services at Costco I think.



    1. Dom:

      Believe it or not, Costco+ is known to have consistent print quality, and prices are good too. I have had posters printed there and they came out quite good. The only problem up here is that they limit file size to 8 megs or lower. They would not print my last set until I went home and brought them back with files sizes below 8 megs.

  3. I rarely print anything much larger than 4"x6" and have never framed any pictures. I've never tried any really nice photo printers so have never really been happy with the appearance of the product.

    1. Richard:

      I have always wanted to be in control of my own "vision". I like to do the whole cycle from start to finish. Perhaps that's why I like to edit video and being my own director.

      In the days before digital it was nice to bring in a roll of film and get them printed. That way you had something physical to look at rather than just pixels on a screen or an iPhone.

      there is a lot of buzz on photo forums about images being merely just "good" enough and this is the reason that the P&S market is dead (Mainly caused by camera phones) There would be no point in having competent equipment if you were only going to display them on the Web and there is no media capable of permanently archiving digital images.

  4. How cool that you met Gordon Lightfoot and david Suzuki. Two icons in Canadian history.

    I met David Suzuki years and years ago in high school when I was send to Vancouver for an Information and Technology Expo on behalf of the school. That would have ben mid to late 80's.

    We don't have a photo printer, but I have used for making photo books. That seems to work for us.

    1. Trobairitz:

      Hobbyists don't print their own photos to save money. Rather it costs more money to do them yourself, but in the end you have a better looking print - if you know how to do it.

      I was always intending to do a photo book. My friend does one for each trip he goes on. Makes for a nice coffee table book full of photos. I also have a coil binding machine so I can also put books together with plastic rings where the pages can open flat.

  5. We had used Cosco for the odd printouts but as all family members are online we mostly keep the pics digital. It would not pay off for us keeping all the print equipment and paper handy, and the ink would likely be dried out when needed.

    1. Sonja:

      I probably have thousands of black & white negatives which were never printed. I used to walk around Vancouver all day on Saturdays and snap away. I would come home and hand develop them and print a few in my home darkroom. It was nice to shoot a roll of colour film and get them developed. I have boxes full of photos but perhaps someday, someone would go through them and see our family history. Sort of like digital where you keep them on hard drives or DVD and no one ever sees them. Such a shame to keep them hidden away.

      so for now I make a larger print once in a while and display them. When a new one gets printed I will rotate them. Gives me a chance to have others enjoy my photographic efforts and why I spend so much on camera equipment and accessories.

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