#187 – Royal Photographic Society Portfolio – part 4 printing and mounting

As mentioned before, I was considering getting my prints done by a lab, but given the amount of control I needed over the final output, I opted to print them myself, without quite realising the amount of time and money I’d end up throwing at it ūüė¶

Calibrated my screen – wow, what a huge difference!!!!!!

As Margaret Salisbury is sponsored by Fotospeed¬†Papers, she recommended them to us, and jolly good they are to, but they’re not cheap! I ended up using Fotospeed¬†PF Gloss which was recommended¬†to me, and then I was recommended¬† Baryta paper, which sounded good until¬†I realised¬†just how much it cost!!!!!! Given that I was printing A3, the cost of the paper and the large volumes of ink made this the most expensive bit of the entire process by some distance. Thankfully, the cost of consumables¬†was spread out over an 18 month period, otherwise I’d probably be divorced by now.

I’d previously bought an HP A3¬†printer with some overtime money, as it was on a great offer and the¬†price of ¬†ink¬†looked almost reasonable compared to¬†Epsons, and I’d also heard they were very good at doing neutral B +W. However, the more I got into it, the more I realised what a nightmare printing monochrome on inkjets¬†is. Basically, you’re going to get some kind of colour cast unless you have a RIP software on your computer, and they’re hugely expensive. The initial cast was red, so I printed a test sheet out and sent it to Fotospeed¬†for them to¬†produce¬†a profile for that paper and¬†my printer (a free of charge service on Fotospeed¬†branded papers BTW). This pretty much eliminated it, but I struggled then with the selective colours, so I had to get another one done just for them. Under certain lights, there is still a slight green cast, but not others, so I just took a leap of faith and hoped that the lights at the RPS were ones that were OK.

For the mounting of the prints I opted to window mount them using plain white card, and back them with board for stiffness. I decided not to tape the backing and the mount together, as I then had the option of re-using the mount if I needed to re-submit.

Learning Points

Colour management¬†= minefield, but if you’re serious about your photography, and print out regularly, then it’s a necessary evil.

Printing monochrome on an inkjet is a right pain in the arse. Using bespoke profiles for your printer and papers are a good thing but not a panacea.

Good quality papers make a world of difference Рforget the supermarket rubbish and even the printer manufacturers own, papers from the likes of Permajet, Fotospeed and Hahnemuhle are the way forward.

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