What do you want? Perfection! It’s perfect! Just about the time we press the print button. This is often not the case. You may feel a wave of disappointment when you see the masterpiece on your screen. Compare it with the scrap paper with the ink that the printer managed to produce. Who is to blame? What can be done to fix this? We explore the whys and hows of printing digital images in your home.

Why are pictures different in print?

Printing images can cause problems because they may not look the same as they appear on the screen. Your computer screen emits light and uses a different system to show colours. On the other hand, your print reflects the light falling on it. Printers use a different colouration system. Your printer uses the same basic inks as your scanner to create new colour combinations. Screes display images using 3 light phosphors.

Despite this, the main reason images look different in print is what we have discussed. With a few adjustments we’ll talk about, you can print images that look very similar to what they appear on your monitor.

What could be causing your disappointment?

  1. Monitor light settings
  2. You are not using a photo-printer
  3. The printer does not have the right ink, toners or other essentials
  4. You aren’t using the correct type of paper
  5. Image not at optimal resolution levels
  6. Colours may be changed after production

Other factors can also affect the quality and result of your prints. It’s amazing how close you can get from your screen’s resolution to the final print result. Matching a photo-quality printer to photographic-type papers is the key factor. You will also need to adjust the settings for your image to print it.

What factors affect the quality of prints?

Image resolution

At any size, images look good on a computer monitor. Most monitors only have 72 dpi resolution, which is very low for printing. Printers can print at specific dpi. Inkjet printers, for instance, print at 150 dpi. This is why prints can appear grainy and pixelated. A printer that prints at 300 dpi will require a 4×6″ picture to have a minimum of 1200 pixels by 1800 pixels. Quality prints will require a relationship between the pixel size (or dpi) and the image.

The monitor

As we have already said, images will always look different on your monitor. Your large-screen monitors will display images at their best. It is important to remember that you should not alter the factory settings of the monitor. Even the smallest adjustments in brightness, contrast, and colour display can cause your images to look different in print. To calibrate your printer with your monitor, you can use the control panel on your printer to make the necessary adjustments. This will ensure that your prints look exactly like the images displayed.

The printer

If you plan to print a lot at home, investing in a high-quality printer is a smart move. This printer is becoming more affordable, making it a worthwhile investment. However, inkjet printers can produce decent quality prints using the right paper and settings. They are almost identical to a photographic print made by a photo printer.

The paper

Printing at home has the advantage of experimenting with different types and sizes of paper. There are two basic types of matte paper: glossy and gloss. However, there is no ‘best’ paper. Different paper types can produce different results depending upon what you want. It’s important to explore every type of photo paper available.

Maintaining a high resolution is a problem.

You might be wondering why you don’t save your images at 300 dpi. It can take a while to apply changes when images are edited at 300 dpi. Your hard drive could quickly become full if you saved all of your images at this resolution. This would certainly impact your camera’s memory. Despite this, digital cameras and computers have larger processing speeds and greater capacities.

Digital images can be printed and worked with best using RAW files. However, you may have to deal with the storage of your images if there are many of them. Or the issue of shooting in RAW and then filling your memory card. RAW files allow for greater flexibility in post-processing and more depth when it comes to colours, and more detail when printing large images.