a few years ago i invested in a canon pixma pro-10 series printer. probably the single worst purchase/investment i’ve ever made. the printer makes wonderful prints – when i’m not fighting with it. the ink is pigment based and archival quality. nice to be able to make prints that will last for a couple generations.
the printer problem
but, i never printed any of my pictures. not really. i’ve printed a few. most a test of different paper types and trying to get a handle on the art of bringing a digital electronic image created in the physical world. icc profiles. color matching. paper types. margins. borderless printing. operating system errors. it was never a pleasant experience. i did print out some different family pictures and framed them as christmas gifts one year. i wasn’t expecting them to be liked and appreciated as much as they were. when we moved from huntsville i said i would use the printer more. that failed. i unboxed and used the printer once to print some family pictures as part of a photo shoot i did. i got quality prints that i was happy with and pleased to deliver after a couple of hours fussing about with the printer. it’s been sitting untouched for almost a year.
i often peruse old images in my library. memories. i try to keep them at the fore of my mind. remind me of years that have gone by all too fast. all those photos are digital. they live as bits and bytes on spinning magnetic plates. i started thinking about it. there’s something to be said for images that exist in the real world. ink and paper that is physical and tangible.
today i resolved to plug the printer in and starting making prints of pictures. nothing large. 4 x 6. the pro-10 is notorious for having its nozzles plug up if left sitting unused for any extended period. i have had to perform cleaning cycle after cleaning cycle in the past to get it to print correctly. as mentioned before, it’s been a year. i was prepared for a long protracted battle and the exsanguination of all ink cartridges.
plug it in. turn it on. print a test page.
“not possible,” i said to myself. “maybe i just think it looks right.” quick web search. yep, it looks right.
print another one for good measure. perfect again. it’s an unholy miracle, but i’m grateful.
i had a couple of other issues i had to deal with, but i got them solved within about 30 minutes because i’ve had them before.
i will say this for anyone reading, our computer monitors are led backlit. this means images appear much brighter on screen than they will when printed. i’ve found that i have to increase the image exposure on average 0.6 of a stop to have the image print with the brightness that i expect to see.
once i got everything sorted, it was a pleasure to print.
i printed over a dozen pictures of the kids and grandkids. that doesn’t sound like a lot, but i reprocessed some of the images before printing. they all printed out great with the exception of one. user error: i didn’t increase the exposure before printing and it was a little dark.
i wrote dates and important notes as applicable on the backs of each one.
if you haven’t printed any of those pictures that live on your phone, computer, or in the cloud, i would highly recommend it. most inkjet printers these days turn out great quality. pick up some decent quality photo paper and experiment. there are also many companies that offer print services. i can’t speak to any of those other than whcc (white house custom colour). i had a few 8 x 10 prints done by them several years ago before i got the canon pro-10. they turned out nice and were relatively inexpensive.
things i did different this time to lower my frustration level was not fight with the printer. i printed with a margin and simply adjusted all sides so that they were roughly equal. the top and bottom settings were not equal, but the print output was. this is the most frustrating thing about this printer. i finally accepted it and just did what i needed to do to get the desired output consistently.
make notes of any and all settings that you change to the image and to the actual printer settings. make a test. don’t get too turned off if the first results are not to your liking. perform some small changes to the image and/or the printer settings. note those changes and make another test. this goes for both the printing you do and the settings for any prints you have done by someone else.
once you get everything dialed in, it should be a breeze from there.
Very good post and advice! The pictures came out beautifully.