As digital cameras are now the preferred method for taking photographs, the business of photographic printing at home has grown. Often times, however, many who get home printers aren't aware of which printers are best to buy, the cost involved with printing photographs at home, and other important information on the subject. We wanted to provide that information both for those amateur enthusiasts and devoted pros.
An easy place to start looking for photo-based printers is by browsing through technology blogs' best-of lists. For instance, CNET has a list of the best inkjet printers for photography. Inkjet pinters are preferred because they tend to save ink over laser printers, are more compact, and use technology where tiny ink droplets create a higher quality image. When considering specific inkjet models, it's a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:
- How much do I want to spend? Inkjet models can range from $160 to almost $500 depending on the features and manufacturer.
- How big are my photos going to be? For images larger than 8 x 10 inches, you'll need to consult a professional printer. For those smaller sized photos, home printing can save a few cents per photo, and a lot of added convenience. This review of printing 4 x 6 inch prints showed the reduction in cost at home.
- What else do I need my printer to do? While this seems like a no brainer, many neglect to consider everything they use their printer for. If you're looking for copy or fax ability, and to be able to print higher volumes in black and white, a multi-purpose inkjet is your best bet.
- How much does the ink itself cost? Many don't take into account the cost of color ink, which can run $20-$50 per cartridge, depending on the model. Visit our website to do cost comparisons, and to find potential deals by buying ink cartridge packages for multi-cartridge printing.
Once you have considered the right model, it's important to consider if you want to do photo-editing. While most computers have basic image editing capabilities (including cropping, changing saturation or sharpness, and resizing), for those who need more advanced image-editing capabilities, you'll need to consider additional software. The most popular software is Adobe Photoshop, which costs $699. However, if you're not familiar with this software, it may require books or online courses to become familiar with all of the features, so it is only recommended for those devoted pros.
It's also important to be aware of two things while using these home inkjet printers. When printing with a high-gloss photo paper, you will need to give your prints time to dry, otherwise your image will smudge. While the ink cartridges sometimes clog, especially after periods where they haven't been used for a long time, they can be fixed easily, and many resources are available online to guide you through that process.
Now that you know the many advantages, minor disadvantages, and other considerations when choosing photographic printing at home, you're ready to go out and record those special moments you want to remember forever! Feel free to share your favorite photos or other home printing tips below.