Be a printer genius.
16. Why doesn't my inkjet print as fast or give me as many pages per ink set as the manufacturer claims?
Printer makers use different test images and driver settings to report print speed and page yield. Some of those images use only 5-percent page coverage per ink and are printed at high-speed settings. Obviously, print time will go up and page yield down when you print photos at higher quality settings with less white space. Pop Photo speed tests at any given page size use images that cover the full page at high print-quality settings.
17. How can I cut my inkjet's per-print cost?
Buy a printer with separate cartridges for each ink color, so you can replace them individually when they're empty. An optional roll feeder can also help, since paper usually costs less in a roll than in sheets.
Before you print, softproof by using your image editing software to preview your print: Select the ICC profile and a rendering intent, the method by which colors are translated from your working color space to your printing color space. You can also create a ringaround proof, a series of thumbnails of an image on one page, showing variations in color, brightness, contrast, and saturation. Canon includes an automatic tool for this in its Easy-PhotoPrint Pro software.
When you're done printing, turn the printer off. Leaving it on all the time may dry up inks, requiring a cleaning cycle.
18. How should I set my printer's dots-per-inch (dpi) controls?
Don't get carried away by the high dpi numbers and quality settings you find in your printer driver. The visible difference, if any, between prints made at the highest and second-highest settings will likely be negligible. You'll save ink and print faster with a lower dpi or quality setting, although it's best to set the printer drive at or above 1200 dpi.
19. How long will my prints last?
Only time will tell, but independent researchers make educated guesses by performing accelerated tests of paper/ink combinations. Among the most widely known and respected are Henry Wilhelm and his colleagues at Wilhelm Imaging Research. Longevity test results for many papers and inks are available at www.wilhelm-research.com. According to Wilhelm, the best pigment-based inkjet prints can outlast not only dye-based prints but also dye-sub and color silver halide prints, retaining vibrant colors for longer than 200 years.
But only if you take care of them. Direct sunlight, UV radiation, pollutants, and moisture are the enemies of all types of prints. Dye-based inkjet prints are particularly susceptible to ozone damage. Store your prints in an album or box made of contaminant- and acid-free materials. Paper made of 100-percent cotton is the most stable.
20. What is the best way to display my prints?
Frame those you want to display, using an acid-free mat and UV-filtering glass, and keep them away from direct sunlight. Don't want a frame with glass? Consider spraying your print with a protective sealer, such as those from Premier, Luminos, Lyson, and Marshall.
Wilhelm and others have found that some dry-mounting adhesives cause bright yellow stains on inkjet papers. Fortunately, this type of stain is also reported to disappear once the print is exposed to light. Bienfang claims its ClearMount adhesive is immune to this and is formulated for use with pigment inkjet prints.