If you want to save yourself time and money, you need to ensure that your printer has the right settings selected. If you don't, you could end up with prints that don't match what you see on-screen and it can take a lot of retouching effort to put it right.
With this in-mind, we've put together some tips that'll help when you're preparing your device for printing.
For advice on how getting your environment right, along with selecting the right monitor and software settings will help ensure your prints match what you see on screen, have a read of this: How To Colour Match Your Monitor & Prints
Settings Printer Adjustments
It's important to select the colour matching settings of your printer when printing images.
If you are an Adobe user (Photoshop or Elements) you can adjust the print settings according to the image retouching software's colour management system. Other software users will have to use the settings of the printer driver.
Lightroom offers a feature called soft proofing which helps with this and is something we'll be covering in another tutorial.
What Operating System you are using, the printer maker and the image retouching software you have installed can change how you check the print settings in regards to the colour management system. However, generally you do follow the same steps with only a few little changes here-or-there.
We're using an example for a Windows machine, using an Epson printer with Photoshop CS6.
1. Go to File > Print and a new window will open.
2. In the Colour Management tab and under colour handling, select 'Photoshop Manages Colours'. Under printer profile, select the paper type you'll be using and under rendering intent, select 'Relative Colourimetric'. Make sure the 'Black Point Compensation' box is checked then turn your attention to the Printer Setup section of this window.
3. Select the correct printer name and click 'Printer Settings'.
4. Under the 'Main' tab find the 'Select Setting' menu and select 'Current Settings'. Under 'Media Type' pick the type of paper you'll be using and as we are using the 'Photoshop Manages Colours' option we selected earlier, under 'Mode' ensure it says: Off (No Colour Adjustment). Click 'OK'.
5. When back on the 'Print' screen, click the 'Print' button.
After printing you need to compare the print with the image you see on your monitor screen and adjust your monitor to match the results you see on the print. You can use your monitor's controls to do this but most calibration software will allow you to manually adjust settings such as brightness and colour tones. Here we are using ColorNavigator 6 as an example of how results can be tweaked.
With ColorNavigator 6 software, adjustments can be made manually by adjusting the screen's luminance (Brightness) and colour tone (white point). So, if the screen appears darker than the print, pull the mouse cursor on the Brightness adjustment bar to the right. For the white point, if the screen seems bluer than the print, move the pointer away from the blue tones, more towards the yellow to remove excess blue.
After making your adjustments, you can fine-tune the results by using the same calibration sensor you used previously.
In ColorNavigator 6 you are shown a list of adjustment results once the calibration is complete then on the next screen you can create a name for this set of adjustment targets and add it to the target list which you can then select every time you calibrate your monitor for editing and printing images.
Finally, compare the print with the on-screen image a second time and the colours should match even more closely. If colours couldn't be successfully matched there may be a problem with your printer settings or performance.
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