The advent of affordable digital printing opened up the possibility of producing colour prints at home for the first time. Before this, working with colour photography meant either complex, time consuming processing, or sending away to a lab. Neither of which being ideal.
Over the last decade the quality of inkjet printer have come to equal, and is some circumstances, surpass that of traditional colour printing.
One of the greatest advantages of digital printing is that the final image can be viewed on screen with a high degree of accuracy before printing, saving time and money in wasted prints.
The choice of paper is also greater than before. These range from textured art papers for images that benefit from a softer look to high gloss papers for high contrast, saturated images.
It’s important to have the printer set up to produce results that are accurate to the image displayed on screen. To achieve that I use special monitors that are calibrated to colour targets. This ensures that the image you are viewing on screen is representative of what will be sent to the printer.
The printer also needs to be accurate. This is achieved by using colour profiles, specific to the printer model, that alter the way the printer lays down ink.
I calibrate my monitors, and printer with an X-rite i1 Photo Pro.
I use is an Epson SC-7500 wide format roll printer. This printer uses 12 inks to produce the full range of colours needed. It can print up to 24 inches wide. The inks are fully archival, and do not fade over time.
My choice of papers depends on the image I’m printing. Generally for black & white prints I prefer a soft glossy paper such as Canson Platine. This paper has a surface similar to traditional black & white paper, and displays deep blacks and well separated shadow detail.
For colour printing I sometimes use a smooth matt paper like Moab Entrada. This paper doesn’t have the same contrast as the Canson paper, but it suits many types of colour image.