I LOVE to print! I’ve been printing since 1974. I’ve never stopped printing averaging 45 prints a month for clients. Printing serves three roles in our office, first, we sell gallery prints. Second, it’s a means of saying thank you and sharing my images. And lastly, it’s how I measure and push my image photography forward. All of that demand that the print coming out of the printer not only meets my standards but is consistent for our clients. Since I print so much and talk about it here on the website, it’s only natural folks email me questions about printing. I don’t have the ability to answer all printing questions and realize that when you get started, it can be very frustrating. I hope this though provides some general answers that might help you with your printing and get you out sharing your images with others! This is very important to remember in this conversation. This is not the only way and it’s not necessarily the right way to print. It’s just the way I’ve print consistently the same quality over and over again for decades.
The Epson SC-P7000 and SC-P900 (while a great printer, the SC-P800 is no longer in our office) are the most amazing printer to ever hit our office! They are the two principal printers I use with the SC-P7000 receiving the print orders. This big, bad boy outputs (fancy word for printing) 24×30″ prints in record time. The SC-P7000 sports eleven inks which include the two Blacks. This ten ink set is what makes the 7000 an HDR printer (high Dynamic Range, not the same as the photo technique). You have a couple of options when it comes to the ink cartridge sizes, I prefer the 700ml cartridge. The SC-P900 only has one ink cartridge size. I have always a complete set of inks for the P7000 and SC-P900 on the shelf because I print that much. But both printers are gentle on ink usage. More importantly, then having ink on the shelf is a spare Maintenance Tank. If your tank gets filled and you don’t have a spare, you ain’t going to print no matter what you try.
The one thing books, articles, or websites can’t really help you learn about is the paper! Paper is everything and if you want to see for yourself how important it is, just Soft Proof in Photoshop which will provide you a visual (while still not exact) how changing from just a glossy or matte finish paper (or visa verse) will change your print. With that said, the Epson 7000 is loaded with a roll of Metal Luster or Legacy Platine these days. Now to come clean, I love the 24×30 sheet over the roll, I really am not a huge fan of roll paper. You need a Seal DeRoller. You have to put the print straight from the printer into the DeRoller to remove the curl of the roll paper.
If there is one complaint I have about Printers is they always want to clean the heads. Cleaning heads suck up ink. It’s real simple, I leave the P7000 on all the time and that takes care of the issue. It rarely runs the cleaning cycle and plugged nozzles, knock on wood, has never been an issue. Now if you have a clogged nozzle head, BLOW it out by printing on a piece of cheap 8×10 paper. Don’t tun the cleaning cycle which just SUCKS the clog in further.
I have written an entirely new Print Lab 2020 for you to download (3.5mb) and use. It contains a whole lot more nuts and bolts about printing with Windows or Mac, Photoshop, Lightroom, or Epson Print Layout. It has a whole lot more about paper, profiles, everything you need to get started printing. And that’s the keyword here, getting started. As those folks who just joined us for our Print Lab learned, printing shows all you know and don’t know so it’s a learning process. I hope this helps you!