Printing for the first time (Epson P800)

Wawe

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I just bought the Epson P800 and am now ready to start trying out with the very first prints of my own as soon I get the printer set up and installed.

Even before buying the product I tried to read as much as I could online and watched tens of hours of training videos on the subject. However, previously I’ve only presented my images in digital format, so I have zero actual experience in printing (hence the following dumb questions).

So, my first questions have to with paper. Does anyone happen to know if the printer ships with sample paper sheets or do I have to buy some basic paper for the initial testing and print head alignment? Any recommendations for these purposes? Moreover, how about the types of paper to start out with the actual printing? I mainly shoot landscapes if this is relevant. I’ve understood that perhaps the easiest way for a newbie like me is to print on Epson’s own paper as they have direct matches for media type options (to control to amount of the ink used and so on). Is this correct?

Secondly, I’ve understood that color management is going to take some time to get familiar with and that it’s extremely hard getting the prints to (closely) match what you see on your screen. Nonetheless, I’m going to pursue this and try to learn a solid color management workflow to minimize waste of ink and paper. I currently have the Asus P248Q as my monitor and calibrate it with the Spyder4 Express that came along with the monitor. I believe that the monitor is good enough to produce an okay soft proofing view but I’m not sure about the quality of the profiler/calibrator. I also find it troublesome to (remember to) calibrate the monitor regularly and partly for these reasons will probably upgrade to the Eizo CG318-4K in the near future. Any comments on the hardware needed considering my needs? How about recommendations for learning material on color management?

Lastly, as I’m going to hang the prints on the walls at home etc., I also probably need to know how to frame them. This is the part that, at this point, I know the least about. So can you recommend a shop for the framing supplies? I’ve understood that I should buy UV glass to protect the prints from harmful light to preserve the color and other properties. Is this critical?

Also, any other general comments or tips are very much appreciated.

Thanks for all the help in advance!
 

Ysarex

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Secondly, I’ve understood that color management is going to take some time to get familiar with and that it’s extremely hard getting the prints to (closely) match what you see on your screen. Nonetheless, I’m going to pursue this and try to learn a solid color management workflow to minimize waste of ink and paper. I currently have the Asus P248Q as my monitor and calibrate it with the Spyder4 Express that came along with the monitor. I believe that the monitor is good enough to produce an okay soft proofing view but I’m not sure about the quality of the profiler/calibrator. I also find it troublesome to (remember to) calibrate the monitor regularly and partly for these reasons will probably upgrade to the Eizo CG318-4K in the near future. Any comments on the hardware needed considering my needs? How about recommendations for learning material on color management?

You need to calibrate and profile your display and you also need to calibrate and profile the printer with each paper stock used. You'll get best results if you use the same hardware to calibrate both. The profiles supplied for Epson paper that come with the printer are generic and not specific to your printer -- same for the profiles available from the paper manufacturers.

Datacolor and X-Rite both sell spectrophotometers that will do the job.

Joe
 
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Wawe

Wawe

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Ysarex:

Thanks for you help! I'm a little confused about your suggestion to "calibrate and profile the printer with each paper stock used". I've calibrated my display, as I mentioned, but how do you calibrate and profile the printer? And how is this done specifically for certain paper stocks? Moreover, the monitor I'm considering comes with an integrated calibrator, so would I be able to do all this with this hardware setup?

gryphonslair99:

Much appreciated, I'll definitely have a look at the site you linked!
 

Designer

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So, my first questions have to with paper. Does anyone happen to know if the printer ships with sample paper sheets or do I have to buy some basic paper for the initial testing and print head alignment? Any recommendations for these purposes?

Lastly, as I’m going to hang the prints on the walls at home etc., I also probably need to know how to frame them. This is the part that, at this point, I know the least about. So can you recommend a shop for the framing supplies? I’ve understood that I should buy UV glass to protect the prints from harmful light to preserve the color and other properties. Is this critical?
No paper will be shipped with your printer. I use ordinary copier paper for printing notes, recipes, and other non-photographs. I buy it by the case because it's cheap, you can use it for anything, and I like to have a good supply on hand at all times.

Then I use "photo white" for proofing photographs. This is very white, smooth paper that costs a little more, so I usually buy only one ream at a time. I love writing on this paper with a ball-point pen, so I make strips to use as "list" paper.

When I want the best possible outcome for photographs, I use special ink-jet photo paper. Just like the other types, this is available at your local office supply store or online. This is usually packaged in packs of 25 sheets and is offered in standard sizes such as 8x10, 5x7, 4x5, etc.

I buy my frames used from the local thrift store or the local hobby store. I have no idea if any of that glass is UV resistant, but frankly, it doesn't matter much considering the ease and low cost of printing another photo if it is ever needed. I don't hang anything where it will receive direct sunlight, and my photos have not faded after years of being hung.
 

KmH

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You will never get a print to look exactly like what you see on a computer display.
Because the computer display is back lit and a print is fore lit.
If you don't print regularly expect to waste a lot of expensive ink just keeping the piezo-electric prints heads in your Epson printer clean.

Here is a place to get framing supplies and some how-to instruction:
American Frame How To - American Frame
There are lots of sources for framing materials.
Picture Framing Services - Fine Arts Framing

Both printing and framing are arts/crafts into themselves.
Cheap framing materials can damage a photographic print from acids in the materials.
Consequently framing materials are offered in various grades each successive grade having less impact on print longevity by virtue of not being acidic. Even the most archival materials will need to be replaced as they age and absorb contaminants from the atmosphere.
UV light is only going to be a problem for prints in rooms often or regularly allowed to be brightly sunlit.

Other recommended printing resources, if you don't already have them:
The Digital Print: Preparing Images in Lightroom and Photoshop for Printing
Fine Art Printing for Photographers: Exhibition Quality Prints with Inkjet Printers
The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop (2nd Edition)
Real World Image Sharpening with Adobe Photoshop, Camera Raw, and Lightroom (2nd Edition)
 
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Wawe

Wawe

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Thanks for your tips!

I'll have a look at the links you posted, KmH. How often would you recommend to print to avoid the ink-wasting cleaning procedures?

This is something I've been a little worried about even before buying the printer. Is there an easy, most preferably cheap, solution to keep the print heads clean? Say, could I print some test page every week that would use each color so that the heads would not clog?

What about the matte black and photo black colors? Would I need to use both of these regularly, as well, to avoid clogging, or do they go through the same print head?
 

john.margetts

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I use my printer infrequently and have yet to have any problems with clogged print heads.

I would not recommend trying to go too cheap. I tried paper from my local supermarket and the colours were visibly fading after a few weeks. I use either Canon's own brand paper or Tecco paper (the Tecco is very expensive but very nice). Same goes for ink - avoid refills or non-branded ink as you do not know what the quality is.

www.johns-old-cameras.blogspot.co.uk
 

Ysarex

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Ysarex:

Thanks for you help! I'm a little confused about your suggestion to "calibrate and profile the printer with each paper stock used". I've calibrated my display, as I mentioned, but how do you calibrate and profile the printer? And how is this done specifically for certain paper stocks? Moreover, the monitor I'm considering comes with an integrated calibrator, so would I be able to do all this with this hardware setup?

Think about what you have to do to calibrate and profile a monitor. You need a hardware device that will allow you to close a loop. The monitor displays colors. How do you know it's displaying the colors correctly? You could specify that it display a specific color but that won't help you know that the color displayed is what's supposed to be displayed. The hardware calibrator closes that loop and examines the monitor display. The calibrator software instructs the monitor to display specific colors and the colorimeter measures the display to see if that's what is really showing. If not the discrepancy is measured.

You have to do the same with a printer. This requires a spectrophotometer which is capable of measuring reflected light (print). Different papers will display your photos with color shifts and changes in contrast one to the next so a calibration profile is made for each paper stock.

Printer calibration : how to calibrate your photo printer?

Joe
 

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