If you don’t have a photo printer yet, but are considering buying your own photo printer, look at your printing needs first. Think about how big you will normally print photos. If 8″ x 10″ and smaller will be your norm, you have many more options at reasonable prices.
If you need a photo now and then at 11″ x 14″ or larger, it is cheaper in the long run to get it custom printed by a photo lab. Once you get over the 8″ X 10″ size, printers capable of making lab-quality prints get expensive as does the larger-sized paper. Larger prints use more ink, so ink costs are higher also. If the largest size you will print will be 4″ x 6″, there are some reasonably priced options also.
While you don’t need to spend a fortune to print your digital photos from home, choosing the lowest quality printer, ink, and paper will leave you with prints that look like came from a low quality printer. Spending a little extra for a printer capable of providing you with rich colors and textures will pay for itself by providing you with lab-quality photos – ones you can’t tell from professionally printed prints.
Look for a printer with the word “photo” in the printer name. Generally six-ink printers matched with the same ink and paper as the printer manufacturer will give you the best results. For example, if you buy a Canon Printer, use Canon ink and Canon paper.
Higher resolution and DPI (dots per inch), will allow you to print higher quality photos. Keep in mind however, high resolution printers take longer to print and use more ink, but if bright beautiful photos are important to you, high resolution is necessary.
Ink and Paper
In the end, it won’t be the printer alone that determines how your photos turn out. Using high quality ink and paper that’s compatible with your printer model will play a huge part in your photo results. Before purchasing any specific printer model, look into the paper and ink brands that will work with that printer and determine how much it will cost to restock with the appropriate supplies. Some good printers are reasonable to buy, but the ink and paper for them are more expensive.
While some printers use two tricolor ink cartridges, I prefer a printer with six individual ink tanks. With tricolor cartridges, if you end up printing a lot of one or two colors, you usually end up throwing away the third color left in the cartridge. With individual cartidges, you only replace one cartridge at a time as it is used up.
Don’t let a salesman talk you into buying a printer with a lot of features you will never use. Instead, look at product reviews and price ranges before you go shopping, so you have an idea of what you want before you get to the store. Also, too many features could make the printer hard to use, while too few features may not fulfill your needs. Know what you expect your printer to do on a regular basis before choosing one.
Doing your homework beforehand will make your shopping experience go smoother and get you a printer you will be happy with and within your budget.