Key skills The right profile
If you buy specialist photo paper you’ll need to tell your printer how to deal with it in a printer profile
Printer manufacturers do a cracking job of making accurate profiles, which are then built into the printer driver – that’s why you can allow the printer to do colour management when you use the manufacturer’s paper and inks. The problem is that they only make them for their own papers and inks, so for other brands you need to select Photoshop Manages Colour when you’re printing and then select the correct printer profile from those offered.
Profiles specify how to change image colours so that the print comes out correctly, based on ink characteristics, distribution and how the paper absorbs or responds to it.
If you don’t buy the printer manufacturer’s ink or paper, visit the website of your supplier and look for a profile for your printer, the paper you’re using, and the correct ink. Download and install this profile on your computer, following their instructions. However, since only one profile can be used at a time, it has to include information for both ink and paper. So if you buy paper from one source and ink from another, you could find yourself in trouble! Also, If you buy the very cheapest ink and paper, it’s possible that there won’t be a profile for you to download and use.
To make a profile, a standard image is printed. It is then photo-electronically analysed and a profile generated. This profile is then used to print another standard print and this is analysed again until the copy is perfect. You have three options for creating profiles:
a device like a ColorMunki Photo (£289/$440, www.xritephoto.com) and create your own profile – this ensures the very best quality!
print and mail a standard colour chart to a specialist company like www.colourprofiles.com, who will make a custom profile for you for around £15.
with all the paper setting options in the print driver to see if one will work well enough for your combination, even though it wasn’t designed for it.