A few weeks I posted about my first experience with home printing, read the full details here.
In these few weeks I have printed a substantial amount of my pictures. Most of my prints where done through an online lab. I use mainly snapfish their quality is pretty good and the prices great, even better when they run promotions, which does happen very often. They are also the only ones who print the small sized photo books I create for one of my clients.
Meanwhile I have been experimenting with my small printer to get a feel for printing my own prints. The Canon glossy paper for small prints is really cool and makes great images. My interests was however to print larger sized prints A4 (the largest my current printer can do).The results have been mixed so far. The color is not always on the mark, there is a clear lack of color management with this printer. There is no support for color profiles.
To dive a bit deeper into diving I decided to order the sample packages from Museo, Canson and Hahnemühle. I had read different stories where people swear only by some kind of paper.
Just opening the boxes and feeling the paper (on the non print side of course) I started to see why people would be so partial toward a certain paper type. There is something very sensual about touching this kind of paper.
Getting ready for the first print on fine art paper I was in for my first deception. The paper I wanted to try was to thick/heavy and the Canon would not take the paper, no problem lets take a different paper this is what the sample packs are here for.
The 2nd disappointment I printed on the wrong side of the paper, I know user error should have known that, cancel the print, flip the paper and try again. Finally the print is coming out.There was just one word “WOW” I have the same print as a 30x45cm poster and this looked just great. I printed a comparison on plain glossy paper and it looked ok but nothing like the FineArt pearl 280g paper from Hahnemühle. There is probably a reason they have been in business for 430 years (founded 1584).
Trying out another paper I tried a color print on Canson canvas (Canson Infinity Arches Velin Museum Rag 250g), this time I am only half happy with the result. I printed the same on my laser jet color (just to compare) and the difference is not mind boggling. there seems also to be a problem with the printer with too much red, I have also a lab print 30×45 and it looks stunning. There are also some strange vertical lines on the print. it could be the paper or print settings
I printed another landscape on Hanhnemühl Paper this time (FineArt Photo Rag 220g) this was in color and the water really seem to sparkle. Love this one even if I did mess up the printing by using borderless which did re-size the image and lost some of the appeal of composition of the image, it is however good enough to show the potential of this paper.
After this month of printing experiments I am torn on how to move forward. The ink cartidges are getting low and not cheap to replace. Should I refill them or treat my self to a real photo printer where I can print up to A2 ? My experiment so far has been that the online labs provide good prints. When I really want great quality I send my work to PrintArt in Switzerland, their photo posters are just of top notch finish and exactly as I would expect them . I am even more impressed with their metal print. I have a 180x40cm New York skyline in our hallway and every time I look at it I get a big smile. Printing fine art and mainly B&W on the right paper is an exhilarating activity. Touching and feeling the paper is an incredible experience.
My portfolio needs some updating and I will definitely print some of these images my self. For many of the larger jobs I will still depend on the labs. Once you printed on metal it is really hard to move back photo paper behind a glass frame.
So far I have not decided what route I will take with my printing. What I know for sure is that I will be printing a lot more of my pictures one way or the other. Pictures are real only when you can hold them in your hands.