In many ways, your choice of media for printing your portfolio is bound up with the way you decide to present your pictures, so we’ll start by outlining the presentation choices open to photographers. Essentially there are three:
The Print Options box on the Main driver page provides several check boxes that can affect the printing process. The top box allows you to print pages in Reverse Order. Check this box when printing multi-page documents to ensure the pages will be stacked in the order in which they should be read.
How long will the prints of your digital photos last? This issue is vital if you want prints for display or to hand on to future generations because many paper manufacturers make claims about the longevity of prints on their media. Unfortunately, while most inkjet prints made with genuine media are much more durable than colour photo prints, some ink/ paper combinations are even more prone to discolouration than traditional photo prints.
There are often times when you would like to print several photographs on one sheet of paper. Maybe you need a number of copies in smaller sizes than the paper you have; perhaps you would like to minimise paper wastage by making the best use of the available space on the paper. Most image editors support this facility, although some hide it away so it’s difficult to find.
Aspect Ratio: The relationship between the horizontal and vertical dimensions of an image. A 35mm film frame has an aspect ratio of 3:2, which is the same as a standard 15 x 10 cm print but doesn’t match the aspect ratio of A4 printing paper. Most digital cameras produce images with a 4:3 aspect ratio, although many also offer the 16:9 aspect ratio used by widescreen TV sets and some add 1:1, which produces square pictures. When the image aspect ratio does not match the aspect ratio of the printing paper, the image or print may need to be cropped or you may elect to print the picture smaller than the paper, with white borders around it.
The durability of digital prints is an important issue, with many paper manufacturers making claims about the longevity of prints on their media. This issue is vital if you want prints for display or to hand on to future generations because some ink/paper combinations are even more prone to discolouration than traditional photo prints.
While it may be relatively easy to make a digital photo look good on your monitor screen, translating this to a printer can be difficult. For starters, your computer monitor may not display colours correctly. If it doesn’t, there’s no guarantee the image you see on the screen will print out with the correct colour balance.
All printers come with software for producing prints. This bundled software always includes the printer driver and often adds editing application. An online instruction manual is sometimes provided. The functionality of the software usually reflects the price and complexity of the printer, with entry-level printers providing very simple editors.
In this article we’ll focus on meeting your output needs; in other words, choosing a printer. It’s essential to choose a printer that matches your output requirements in terms of print size, quality and longevity and also, perhaps, versatility and printing speed. Different photographers will place different priorities on these characteristics because no printer on the current market can provide an all-in-one solution for every camera user.
Inkjet prints will last longest when they are protected from direct sunlight, heat, humidity and airborne chemicals. Storing them in ø¢â‚¬Ëœarchival’ albums provides the very best protection but, with today’s long-lasting inks and papers there’s no reason not to put prints out on display – as long as you consider these issues.