Photo Printing Tips

Is my printer good enough to make quality photo prints?

Not all printers are equal. An image may look good on-screen, but not so good once printed.
Some cheap printers are fine for printing documents but are not capable of photo-realistic results. 
If your printer has a “photo mode” you should be able to obtain good prints.

I’m looking to buy a printer – What should I look for?

Consider buying a printer with at least four ink colors.
You’ll want at least 300 or 600 dpi resolution for consumer-level photo output.
You don’t need a special photo printer unless you intend to print a lot of pictures. There are
many general purpose printers capable of doing a fine job. Get one that can print good photos.

Printing Tips

File size is very important

For best results, try to print photo files with a resolution of at least 240 dpi (dots per inch).
Anything less could result in prints with a noticeable pixilated look. 
The higher the resolution, the finer the printed image quality.

Photo print size guide

Use this guide to determine the optimal size to print at, based on the photo’s size.

Print Size   Minimum     Minimum
                    Width           Height 

4″x6″            800               600

5″x7″           1050              750

8″x10″         1536              1024

11″x14″        1750              1375

If you decide to print at 5″x7″ or less on 8″x10″ size photo paper, be sure to adjust your printer’s driver settings to center the photo on the sheet of paper.

Enhance your photos before printing (Image Master restored photos do not need enhancing).

It’s a good idea to use a photo-editing program to clean up your photos before printing. You will
want to do some cropping and dust removal. Your prints may will show dust spots even if they are 
very small. You can also use the sharpening tool to enhance a soft focus picture.

Paper – Always use paper designed for printing photos

You’ll get the best results if you use paper specifically designed for your printer. However, you
can achieve very good results using other brands as well. Be sure to test a variety of paper types
before buying large quantities. 

Here’s what to consider when buying photo paper:


Whiter papers produce sharper, more vibrant colors. Check the differences between manufactures.

Weight or thickness

Some projects (like calendars) require a heavier paper stock. But most photo printing jobs only need a standard weight paper.

Paper surface

Glossy papers produce vibrant colors but are susceptible to fingerprints. So matte papers might be a better choice for prints that will be handled often. Be careful with extremely smooth, shiny, or coated papers not specifically designed for your printer. They can cause jams and even repel ink. 

Use your printer correctly

Driver settings

Go into your printer’s settings on your PC (Start/Settings/Control Panel/Printers and Faxes) Make sure your printer is set for highest quality color photo printing. This may by expressed in dpi, or “dots per inch”. If your printer has a “Quality versus Speed” setting choose “quality”

Always adjust the printer preferences settings to the highest print quality before starting a photo
printing session. 
Always choose the highest output resolution (dpi) your printer will allow. 
Experiment with all the quality options your printer offers – you may find variables such as Advanced Color Settings that could improve your printing results. 

Paper setting

Make sure you’re using the right setting for your chosen paper: e.g., “Photo Paper.” Generally, the paper settings control the amount of ink that is put on the paper. “Plain Paper” setting uses the most ink, for example, while the “Glossy Film” and Photo Paper settings use the least. When you find a setting that works for a particular paper type, save it and give it a name you can remember. 

Printer head cleaning

It’s a good idea to run the printer’s cleaner function from time to time, in order to get the best
quality prints possible.