How to Print Professional-Looking Photos at Home

There’s simply no better feeling than printing off your favourite photographs on quality paper and physically holding them in your hands like works of art. The good news is that modern technology brings the power of professional-grade photo printing directly to your home, allowing you full creative control over the entire process.

Image of the Twelve Apostles, Victoria. Shot by Kirk Richard

“I feel like printing my photographs is the actual final stage of my creation process. Nothing beats the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction it gives you.”

 Kirk Richards

In this guide, photographers Kirk Richards and Julian Lallo share their tips on choosing the best photo printer, inks and paper, as well as advice on preparing your images for print. Whether you’re interested in printing off your favourite shots to hang at home or you’re a professional photographer looking to sell fine art prints, this is everything you need to know.

The Best Printers for Printing Photographs and Artwork

There’s a special synergy between Canon printers and Canon cameras. They just work so seamlessly well together. Canon printers also feature powerful Colour Management technology, consistently producing ultra-fine detail and true colour reproduction. What’s more, Canon’s range of printers are supported by Canon Print Assist, with step-by-step setup tips and simple video tutorials to help you get the most out of your printer from day one.

The PIXMA PRO-10S

Kirk and I both use the PIXMA PRO-10S photo printer. This is an ideal professional-grade printer for all photographers. It’s the perfect size to set up in your house or office, it’s easy to use and, in our opinion, the print quality is the best on the market. Each image comes out with absolute precision, with perfect colours, contrast, blacks and sharpness.

Image of a PIXMA PRO-10S photo. Shot by Kirk Richard

Benefits

A3+ Borderless Printing: The great thing about printing with the PIXMA PRO-10S is that it prints borderless images up to A3+ (11.7 x 16.5 inches), which is an excellent size to frame and attract attention.

WiFi: Having the convenience of wireless printing means we’re able to edit and print from totally different rooms. You can also print directly from your laptop, smartphone or tablet, which gives us the flexibility we need as photographers.

Optimum Imaging Generation: The Optimum Imaging Generation (OIG) feature ensures your prints are perfectly balanced with precise colour and droplet placement.

Pro Styling: The PIXMA PRO-10S is beautifully designed and adds a professional look to our studios. Unlike some printers that can be a bit of an eyesore, this one looks like a piece of art itself.

Image of a PIXMA PRO-10S photo.

Canon PRO-1000 Photo Printer

We’ve also had the opportunity to use the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer. This has all the great features of the PIXMA PRO-10S but also boasts the ability to print larger A2 images. We would recommend the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 to photographers who plan on printing more frequently, as it holds more ink and prints a little faster than the PIXMA PRO-10S. It also uses Canon’s Chroma Optimizer ink technology to achieve uniform glossiness and regulate surface reflection.

Image of a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer.

The Best Ink for Home Photography Printing

If you want consistently long lasting archival quality prints and the very best colour precision then we recommend the use of genuine Canon inks with your Canon printer. Canon inks are renowned for their quality blacks and true colour reproduction, drawing on oil-less fusing technology to achieve exceptionally sharp, glare-free colour output. Unlike some third party inks, Canon cartridges are designed to work seamlessly with Canon toner technology and will not damage your printer. They’ll even help clean and lubricate your print heads, which is important for preventing build up blockages.

The Best Photo Paper for Printing

Both Julian and I advise printing with Canon paper. Different types of paper offer different textures, brightness and gloss, with each affecting the look of your images in a different way. When selecting your paper, be sure to consider the specific colours, contrasts and tones of the particular image you want to print.

Here are three main paper types we recommend for achieving the best quality photography prints:

Lustre: This popular photo paper has a semi-gloss finish and is a very versatile paper choice. Lustre photo paper can be used for all types of images and is particularly well suited to monochrome images. When printing with lustre paper you can expect your images to come out super sharp, with vivid colours and deep blacks.

Fine Art Smooth: With a smooth matte surface, this high quality photo paper perfectly reproduces dense blacks and tones and also has an impressively dynamic colour range. Use this paper to bring your most colourful images to life. The matte surface means there’s no gloss or reflections, making it ideal for images you want to hang on your walls.

Pro Platinum: This is a super high-gloss paper that will really make your images pop with bold colours and high contrast. Be aware, though, that the paper’s high-gloss finish means you’ll need to be selective about where you hang the image if you want to avoid reflections.

Image of Canon Photo Paper

How to Prepare Your Photos for Print

Recently we have both been enjoying editing our photos with Canon’s Digital Photo Professional Software. It offers high-performance RAW image processing that works seamlessly with Canon printers and Canon EOS or PowerShot cameras. Ultimately, whether you use Print Studio Pro, Lightroom or Photoshop, preparing your photos for printing comes down to your personal preference and how you want to portray your image.

Here’s a few essential things to consider:

Your shadows and blacks will look darker: Your printed image won’t be backlit like it is on a digital monitor, so it’s important to adjust your shadows and blacks to get the most possible detail out of each photo.

More detail needs more editing: You’ll be surprised by how much more detail you notice in your images when you start printing them. We usually go through our images with the clone/healing tool to remove any unnecessary distractions before printing

You should export images as TIFF files for print: We export our images as TIFF image files with colour space Adobe RGB. This ensures colours are printed accurately. An easy alternative is to print using Print Studio Pro. Using Lightroom’s plugin feature, all you need to do is go to ‘plugin extras’, select Print Studio Pro and you’re ready to start the printing process without needing to export the image or adjust colour space settings.

How to Frame Your Photo Prints

Framing: A quality frame with a nice matte border is an ideal way to enhance your prints. Simple is always best when it comes to design – a good frame should be complementary to your image without distracting the eye.

Dimensions and Borders: If you’re planning to use a matte border then its best not to print all the way to the edge as your images will be cropped by the frame. We would advise printing with a 20mm border to ensure your image is fully visible once framed.

Glass/Perspex: Your budget will influence your decision when selecting glass or perspex, but be mindful that it will play an important role in taking care of your prints. Depending on where you plan to hang your photos, and the type of paper they are printed on, an anti-reflection, non-glare or UV filtering glass may also be worth investing in, especially if you plan to hang your photos in direct sunlight.

Image of the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer

Why Should Photographers Print Their Images?

Kirk: For me, printing my photographs is like creating something timeless. We live in such a digital age and we rely heavily on computers and screens to display our art, but this is not always the best way to experience it. Art is formed through physical creation and I believe the way we present it should capture the audience in a more direct way.

Print A Day

Printing your work also helps you learn more about yourself and how you photograph. With the ability to print your images at a scale larger than your computer screen, you can grow as a photographer and inspire yourself to capture light in different ways, to shoot more precisely and edit more diligently.

Julian: I’m always looking to improve as a photographer and have found that printing my work is a fantastic learning tool. I’m able to see my images in a much larger format when I print them, as opposed to only ever seeing them on a screen (most commonly on a small smartphone screen). There’s also something really special about physically touching and holding something you have created from nothing.

Professionally printed photograph

After taking part in The Canon Experience Store’s #APrintaDay campaign, we now have great insight into the world of print, as well as the benefit it can have on our photography. Whether you’ve been following along on Instagram or have stumbled across this guide online, we hope we’ve inspired you to print your images and share them with the world.

More about the Photographers

Kirk Richards is an experienced landscape and lifestyle photographer from Melbourne. He’s passionate about the great outdoors and shooting scenes in mountains, forests and coastal settings.

Julian Lallo is a celebrated fashion and lifestyle photographer based in Melbourne. He began his photography journey by shooting street scenes and cityscapes in 2015 but, he soon began venturing out of the city and discovered a passion for capturing people in nature.

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