How to Print High-Quality Photos: Useful Tips for Best Quality

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  By Michael Moodie
How to Print High-Quality Photos: Useful Tips for Best Quality

One of the most rewarding feelings a photographer could have is when we finally see our work printed. In a day and age where everything is so digital, you really find viewers or individuals appreciating prints as much as they should. Getting to know how to print high-quality photos happens to be a very important step in your career as a photographer. Not only does it make you a better photographer but it also makes you a better editor as well.

Tips for Printing Quality Photos

Printing your work helps to show the details that were overlooked during post-production and will motivate you to pay more attention to finer things. It also makes you a better photographer as well. I’ve noticed since my first time printing my images for an exhibition that I changed my style of shooting a bit in regards to my composition and the way I focus on my subject. However, in this article, we will not be talking about the benefits of printing your work but rather useful tips for printing some of your images. These tips should come in handy before you print your images.

1. Understanding Pixels

One of the key things to discovering how to print a high-quality photo is making sure your pixels are correct. This is what helps to separate a good print from a bad print. The more pixels available in your image is the better the quality of the print and the more you have the potential to make a bigger print without losing quality or having your image look pixelated. Before you head to your local print shop or print your images at home.

Try to be mindful of the pixels in your image before choosing a print size. If the print size does not match up to the pixels in your image then you will end up with a distorted, blurred or pixelated print which would be a waste of ink or money. If you’re not sure if your pixels match up to the print size you want then don’t be scared to ask a few questions or do some research to make sure you have the correct size for your pixel count. The first time I printed my images, I was completely lost in this regard and just wanted to see my work actually printed. Regardless of being happy that I actually got to saw prints of my work, I was also bothered by the look of my images as some of them looked very pixelated.

2. Choosing The Right Paper

The paper you choose to put your images on can also play a huge part in the result of your prints itself. You want to make sure you’ve tested and seen each option of printing paper before making your choice. This paper can either help to enhance your images or make them look less amazing than what they are. I have personally never experienced this but I can say I have seen other photographers make this mistake and immediately regret the choice they made so be careful. When it comes to printing images, there are three major types of paper that can be used. The first of the three is called Luster Paper. This paper is popular among many photographers when it comes to printing their work. It generally offers a very vibrant glossy look with color and has a texture that is useful in hiding things like minor scratches or scuffs. The type of paper is popular amongst photographers because it doesn’t give off much of glare or shine and is helpful when looking at the print from different angles.

The second type of printing paper is Glossy paper. This type of paper is popular as well but not used too commonly by photographers. It lives up to its name and can be very shiny and give off a glare when you look at it. However, it does provide a fancy look with a very high quality feel to it. In regards to the print itself, it helps your print to appear much brighter and helps to enhance colors as well. Lastly is the Metallic Paper. This paper is probably one of my personal favorites to print my work as it is very cost effective along with its capability of helping to make my work pop just a bit more and making it unique in its own way.

Always take into consideration the type of paper you’re using for your prints first and how you’d like your print to look. The paper you choose can help to make or break your image itself so always be mindful of the characteristics of each.

3. Correct Your Monitor Settings

Calibrating your monitor to the right settings is very important when you’re interested in printing your Images. The colors seen on your screen can easily look different when printed on any of the papers mentioned above so you might want to make sure you have the right settings before you go ahead with exporting your selection of images to be printed.

I hope these tips have been useful in making sure you get some pretty amazing prints when you do decide to do so. It’s always a pleasure sharing some of these simple tips with you and I look forward to seeing you again very soon.

Common Mistakes Made Prior to Printing Photographs

Here are some of the simple but common mistakes that I have made my self when printing my images and only hope pointing out these mistakes will help you not only to learn from them but prevent you from making the same mistake as well.

1. Not Paying Attention To Pixels

When printing your images, one of the biggest mistakes you could make is not paying much attention to your pixel count. I know as photographers, some of us can get super excited about seeing our prints and end up not paying much attention to the fine details of making sure our prints come out at the best quality possible. We sometimes end up thinking as photography beginners that our images were taken with a good quality full frame camera so our prints should turn out good as well. This is a common misunderstanding that can result in us wasting ink or money on doing a print incorrectly. When preparing to print your images, you should always make sure that the print size you want will match up to the number of pixels in your image or images. If the pixels in your image does not match up to the print size you are looking for then you will end up with your image looking pixelated as a print or even blurry. The more pixels you have your image is the more you will see detail and quality in your shot when it’s printed. Don’t make this mistake and end up regretting not doing your research as I have.

2. Not Using The Right Paper

An important part of printing your photographs is having an idea of which paper to use. Using the right paper is almost as important as having an idea of the right print size in relation to the number of pixels in your photo. The type of paper you print your images on can have both a negative or positive effect on your image itself. Some images are edited in a particular way that might only look good on a certain type of paper and failure to use that paper might just make your print or image look less amazing than it actually is. Knowing your print paper will become an asset as you print more and more of your work during your photography career. When I first did my prints, I had no knowledge of what to expect or how paper even affected how my images look. I even though that all photographers used the same type of printing paper and there was nothing too complex about it at all but boy was I wrong. Before printing your images, do some research and get familiar with the different types of printing paper and they’re characteristics as the information will come in handy.

3. Image Format

Before printing, you should always take a look at the image format first before exporting or sending off your image or images to be printed. Many of us don’t pay much attention to this but it is indeed a very important factor in printing your work. Most printers that are used to do high-quality shots do not accept any other format than JPEG or TIFF. If you export your image in any other format than the two I just listed then you might be in a little problem as they might not work. When printing I recommend using a TIFF format for your images. The abbreviation TIFF stands for “Tagged Imaged File Format” and is the basic standard used by companies that print books and life-size images overall. The TIFF format carries a lot more information than that of the JPEG format and can work in your benefit when doing prints. Images in TIFF format are a lot less compressed that JPEG and will be useful when looking to keep the quality in your shots. Knowing the image format you’re using will play a key role in determining the quality of your prints and how much detail they will hold.

4. Choosing A Cheap Print Company

Cheaper isn’t always better and when it comes to your prints, this can be a very tricky thing. The first set of prints I ever did as a beginner in photography, I went the cost-effective route. Needless to say, while I was indeed excited and happy to actually see my work printed, I started to notice the quality in the print was not exactly what I expected or would hope for. Be very cautious of the prices you see and the companies you use. Some prices will be too good to be true and might not give you the quality print you want. If you want good prints of your work then you will have to invest in it and not always take the cheaper route.

It’s always fun to share some of these points with you and also share some experiences of my own to help understand the results of making these simple mistakes. Until next time, take care.

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Michael Moodie is a Freelance Photographer and Photojournalist. He Enjoys Lifestyle Photography and Traveling while doing all things creative!

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Comments (1)

  1. Sarah Guest

    To print high quality photos it is very necessary to check and make sure that you pixels are correct. With the help of pixels only you will be able to separate a good print from a bad print.