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Photo Printer Professional - Is a Professional Photo Printer Necessary?

printing color quality printers

The title implies quality, whether it defines a professional printing service, or, the actual mechanical printing device used to produce photographs. One uses the other for achieving the best possible end result.

Beginning with the tangible apparatus, a professional photo printer is not simply a fortified desktop printer. Professional printers are technologically different from their home-based cousins, utilizing techniques such as dye-sublimation, offset printing, and high end lasers, depending on the desired output. Professional photo printers run on intricate software, allowing for exact color reproduction and extraordinary resolution for sharp crisp images and documents. For paramount printing, particularly for life’s momentous events, only professional printing will do. As a bonus, professionally printed photographs are generally the most cost-effective.

Desktop publishers, using the all familiar, expensive, and short-lived ink cartridges, are generally satisfied with their projects. Desktop photo printers are perfect for school reports, letters, and home documents, but not so perfect when it comes to photographs. Many people willingly accept medium quality photos printed at home, and some individuals simply can’t discern the difference between average prints and superb. (Envision shopping mall Santas and Easter bunnies – all selling in droves their inkjet or low quality laser prints to parents and grandparents.) The many variables in home photo printing can cause fluctuations in color, often noticeable in photos. Brands of printers, inks and paper, software used and even the age of the ink can affect the end color result. Photographs printed with ink, at home, are not of archival quality, and with time colors can run and fade. Professional photographers will often use a quality inkjet for proofs or “disposable” prints, sending them on to a professional photo printer to guarantee perfect color and archival quality.

Quality printing calls for the ability produce accurate colors with a good color management system. One such system used by graphic designers is the Pantone process. This system contains over 3,000 colors, consisting of numbered colored swatches on a ring or hinge. The graphic artist selects the color, and sends the Pantone color information, along with the file to be printed, to the service. The printer matches the chosen colors using the Pantone information. Once the file arrives at the service bureau either a positive paper image is made of your digital file or a negative image is made for use on a printing press. With all the attention given to perfect color, one may overlook another area where professional photographic printers excel, and that is black and white. Because desktop photo printers used a blend of colors to create a composite black, a bluish or pinkish cast may be seen on the output. Photographers who do a lot of B&W shooting truly appreciate professional prints for their accurate lack of color, yielding a true black.

Photo printing services are everywhere. Virtually very drugstore has a photo processing mini-lab producing images a few steps above a desktop photo printer, and online services are in abundance. Digital imaging centers, sometimes called service bureaus, offer a variety of professional photo printing services, including folding, stapling, and binding. There you will find a knowledgeable staff whose expertise will oversee, correct and quality control the printing process. Professionally printed photographs are the culmination of your skills, and upon which your work will be judged. Photographers must asses their needs and consider the cost before deciding to print in-house, online, with a mini-lab, or to utilize a commercial professional printer. Sending a few of the same images to several professional printers will make determining the best printer a simple task. If you or your company wish to convey quality, don’t let shoddy printing detract from your message. Carpe excellentia.

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