In this day of digital technology its very easy to take photographs and share them with others via the internet but the problem is that although many of us do that we neglect to actually print an image. In my opinion the printed image is the best way to present and preserve our images.
There are so many options for printing digital files that are readily available and easy to do. Printing at home on a photo printer has never been easier and the instant gratification can't be beat. There is a bit of a learning curve to printing but here are a couple things to get you going.
Monitor Calibration-Monitors vary in color and brightness and when we are printing we are making adjustments to the image based on what we see on the monitor. Therefore it is imperative that you get some sort of monitor calibration device to make sure you are looking at an accurate rendering. I like the Datacolor Spyder 4 Pro for most people.
Work in subdued light-having bright light hitting the monitor can also alter what the image looks like-generally making it look too light and then you make an adjustment to make it look darker. Then when it comes out of the printer it looks nothing like what is on the monitor.
Use a Photo Editing program-Photoshop Elements, CS6 and Lightroom will all give you many other options in the print dialog box to get the most accurate rendering.
Use a Photo Printer-There are many printers out there but you really need to spend the money on a true 'photo' printer to get the best results. I am partial to Epson printers and there are many options available in the "Stylus" series. The Epson 2000 and Epson 3000 are great starter printers. Go to www.berger-bros.com for availability and pricing.
Use good quality photo paper-There are tons of papers out there these days. Everything from glossy and matte to metallic, canvas and fine art. In addition to choosing quality paper you need to get and use the proper ICC profile for each paper. An ICC profile is given to you by the paper manufacturer which is basically instructions for how your particular printer should apply the ink to that particular type of paper.
Although the above may sound like a lot of information for getting a simple print I promise if you take the necessary steps you will discover the joy of printing. So consider your memories and start printing your images. Sitting around the coffee table and passing around the family photo album will never be obsolete.