Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Frugality and Printing Your Own Photos

I am in the process of writing a blog post on Corporations as legal persons but the research goes on still. Also a tough one to understand. So while working on the Corporation post and working on printing photos for my spouse I thought I would write about printing those photos.

You would think there would be nothing to printing photos these days wouldn't you. Well, not if you lived in our house. First there is the two different printers for different sizes problem. My mind has times when it is hard to shift gears so to speak. The two printers require different color calculations, different routines for just pushing their buttons, pun intended, and the way they interact with the computer software used to edit the photos is really different.

The old Epson 2200 is great for the larger prints just by the mere fact it will handle the paper. But, it doesn't like all photo papers. It has it's own color quirks as well. It is a little interesting when printing on glossy white paper. And though by changing black cartridges you get less of the funny black look, I call it mapping or pooling up. (there is a technical name, but it slips my mind at this time and I am trying to hurry to get to the printing). Then there is what you see on the display is not always what you get when printed colors. Yes you can buy calibration software but we are frugal so I have figure it out.
I do then I use the other printer for a while so I have to get my brain to shift gears again. When I do get this pea-brain working, I get some pretty good prints and a few bad prints. We are frugal about using paper and ink too. So when I do a “miss” print, it is costly as far as we are concerned. Sometimes we both are frugal to the point of being silly but that is us and our finances.

The other day I printed the same photo on the same paper on both the Epson and the HP. Neither I nor the photographer were thrilled with either one. So yours truly decided to get with it and figure both of them out. So away I went with the little HP.

The HP Deskjet D4360 is a little more controllable for me. The software for it is more to my style of thinking. But it takes work and brain power too. Yesterday morning I spent hours reprinting the same photo over and over until I got pretty close to matching what my eyes and my brain perceived as the display colors and shading. Do you know how guilty I felt using that photo paper and that ink? Now I have it where I want it and I wrote copious notes so when I get back to it I can remind my fading memory of the settings. The problem with this little printer is the limitation of print size. Only up to legal size paper.

I have been through this type of thing over and over with the different home printers we have owned. It is not something I just want to do. But eventually I get tired of near miss prints and do it. Now, let us talk about displays, computers, and lighting. We have two computers we use for photo processing so you know as well as I that each has its own display quirks and its own software quirks. I kid you not.
Like most machines they are individuals. Then there is the lighting in the different rooms and the lighting of the different displays. Of course the access to the different ports for the memory chips of the cameras or the memory “dongles” we carry from one to another is on the front of one computer and the side of the other. I could go on for hours here.

Now let us consider the eyes of the beholders. One of us has an astigmatism; the other does not. One wants more color; the other does not. One prefers a rectangular print in the portrait positioning;the other prefers landscape. One prefers square prints; the other does not with few exceptions. One is a pixel worker; the other is not. One is frugal to the extreme and takes great pride in it; the other is frugal but believes there comes a point... And on these preferences go. It gets lively.

Then we buy frames and mats on sale or here and there. Now the prints have to be made to fit the sales. I told you we are frugal. You really should be around as all this happens. It is hard work. But your brain gets exercise and you learn to get along or take a break.

So there are times when I think I would just love to throw in the towel. Once in a great while I do for an hour or two. But overall I learn and I flex the brain. And in the end we get some agreement and some pretty fair prints.


  1. Oh I know, I know. I have three printers and...and...and after much guilt riddled scraping and redoing I discovered that most of the pictures fade big time when exposed to light--even soft indirect light. What is the answer??? I don't know. I turns out to be cheaper just to take them to Walmart and play with their photo printing machine, the prints hold their color better too.

  2. Must be the paper and the ink.
    Huge difference for fading.
    Sometimes Walmart processor is fine, I agree.
    But that won't do precisely what we are doing here.
    Most photographers RR knows, and one that has a business too, send them to a specific processor.
    Anyway the work goes on here.

  3. I have only printed a few photos, so I have no suggestions, but in my limited experience; I know it is a hassle. I need to send more prints to my dad, soon. Maybe I will pay more attention... We have a little all in one, but I do know that all printers have their quirks. Just getting the driver to go from mac to hp was a challenge.

  4. I'll bet.
    So far we have 2 PC's and a Mac.
    The printer before this HP was an all in one.
    Really just straight printing is not too bad but we need all sizes and shapes and very important to get color match correct for art-type photo editing.
    We are about to have a booth in an Art Fair in KC. So we are really picky right now.
    Thanks for the comments, always.

  5. I hope things go well for your booth. I do enjoy your photos. I hope you have success with the printing.

  6. If it works we will then have something to do together and at least pay for gas and a little ink.

  7. And a fine photo printer she is! A demanding job, more art than science. The relentless part really helps too! Now if she only had money too.