PRINTING & TIPS

The Art of Picture-Perfect Printing with Printing Expert Suhaib Hussain

We gain advice from Suhaib Hussain around perfecting the skill that is photography printing to ensure high-quality photos.
Portrait of Suhaib Hussain sitting at his desk, with Canon printer on the desk to his right. Shot on Canon.

Bringing your photos to life in stunning colour and clarity is not merely a matter of hitting the print button. From media settings to shooting formats, there’s a lot to know when it comes to printing. We’ll use this piece to explore some of this knowledge and upskill on how to get quality prints every time.

To educate us on this craft, we spoke to Suhaib Hussain, a member of the team at Canon Europe managing the Office and Personal Products division. With over a decade of experience at Canon, Suhaib is an expert in producing top-quality printing results.

The first thing he tells us is that, before the ink touches the paper, you need to be ready.

“Preparation is so important,” says Suhaib. “If all these steps are done correctly, the result will be a successful print."

1. Calibrate your monitor

Canon printer on desk, with paper in both input and output trays. Lever arch files and stacked paper to the left and a computer screen to the right. Shot on Canon.

Our printers make working life that bit easier, and you can expect high quality prints with ease of use and a wide range of functions.

Monitor calibration is the process of fine-tuning the settings of a computer monitor. No-one wants a print that doesn’t look like the image on their device, so monitor calibration ensures the colours and brightness displayed on the screen actually represent the original content.

When printing, there are settings on monitors that can help to ensure you get the right outcome. For example, saturation, contrast, and colour balance all help to achieve consistency in colour reproduction.

“Without proper calibration, the vibrancy and clarity of your images may fall short of expectations,” says Suhaib.

By calibrating the monitor, you can ensure that what they see on screen closely matches the final output, whether it's in print or on other display devices. To do this, make sure you use the appropriate Calibrating software for your computer. (For Windows: Calibrate Display Colour; for MacOS: Display Calibrator Assistant.)

2. Adjust the media settings

Black Canon branded computer monitor. Shot on Canon.

A good quality, state of the art, Canon 4k monitor is always a good idea.

“Media settings are an important part of the prep, too,” says Suhaib.

In the context of printing, media settings refer to the specific configurations and adjustments made on a printer – such as paper size, type, and thickness – to accommodate different types of media. These settings ensure that the printer operates optimally for the chosen media, resulting in high-quality prints with accurate colour reproduction and sharpness.

Media settings typically include options to select the paper size (e.g., A4, A3, A2), the type of paper being used (e.g., glossy, matte, photo paper), and sometimes the thickness or weight of the paper. Additionally, printers may offer advanced settings related to print quality, ink density, and colour management to further customise the output based on the specific requirements of the print job.

Properly configuring media settings is essential for achieving the desired results when printing, as using incorrect settings can lead to issues such as misalignment, smudging, or poor colour accuracy. There are so many variations of prints, and you have to consider what exactly you’re going for.

For example, if you’re printing on paper larger or smaller than A4, using a thicker card or going for glossy print, you’ll need to make sure your printer is adjusted to the necessary settings. You can select the needed media setting via the digital display on your printer also.

“By ensuring that the media settings are aligned with the characteristics of the printing media being used,” Suhaib advises, “users can optimise print quality and produce professional-grade prints.”

You can find help on adjusting your media settings using the Canon PRINT app as well as other handy functions like checking printer levels.

3. Don’t be afraid to print

Canon printer on office desk. Travel related posters and two clocks on the wall behind, as well as brochures to the right and a toy airplane on the desk. Shot on Canon.

Whatever the printing needs, from reports to brochures to posters, using the right media settings is vital.

Transitioning seamlessly from capturing moments to immortalising them in print requires a shift in perspective. If you’re a photographer getting to grips with printing, Suhaib advises you to consider the printing implications during the photo-taking process itself.

“Paying attention to colour balance and exposure ensures that the essence of the moment is preserved, ready to be brought to life on paper.”

Suhaib also suggests trying out Canon's Dual Pixel (DP) RAW feature, which he says is “a game-changer” for printing photography. This innovative technology, available with most new R system camera models, optimises image details, resulting in sharper and clearer prints.

“Integrated with Canon's editing software, DP RAW simplifies the path from capture to print with just a click,” he says.

You can edit DP RAW within Digital Photo Professional (DPP), a high-performance RAW image processing, viewing, and editing software for EOS digital cameras and PowerShot models.

“With DPP you can easily perform basic and advanced editing and printing of RAW images,” says Suhaib.

Shooting in RAW format involves capturing images with a file format that preserves all the unprocessed data recorded by the camera's sensor, unlike a JPEG. The RAW format retains maximum flexibility and control over editing, allowing for extensive adjustments to factors like exposure and white balance during post-processing without sacrificing image quality. Despite larger file sizes, raw files offer superior image fidelity and provides photographers with greater creative freedom to manipulate their images, making it a preferred choice for printing.

4. When it comes to printing, size matters

Canon printer surrounded by various coloured 6 by 4 printed photos and Canon camera. Shot on Canon.

Printing in different colours, sizes and formats is made possible with Canon. By choosing your ideal settings, you can capture your memories and keep them forever.

Hands positioning a papercraft gift box on a Creative Park papercraft Christmas wreath.

"I thought the challenge was brilliant and we really really enjoyed it," says Chris. "It was more rewarding than I thought it was going to be, and having fun and giggles with Eli made it well worth the time spent."

“Size is important. If you’re looking to print A2 or a large size, you want to give yourself the max leeway to scale. Otherwise, the photos won’t look as natural on the paper and might even appear a bit stretched,” says Suhaib.

With respect to sizing, Suhaib again emphasises the importance of shooting in RAW format, as this provides maximum flexibility for scaling. This is particularly important if you are considering larger prints. (Even in JPEG format, opting for the highest resolution is the best way to preserve the integrity of the image.)

If you find the dimensions of your photo aren’t suited to the size you hope to print in, most photo editing software will help you remedy these issues. (Canon’s software is Print Studio Pro, compatible with imagePROGRAF and PIXMA PRO printers).

If you’re new to printing and want to see the output so that you can test and learn, Print Studio Pro includes a useful function called Pattern Print. If you’re not sure what brightness or contrast level to use, the Pattern Print setting will print a tiled sample of the same thumbnail image using different colour variations, so that you can pick the one that looks best.

Seeing what kinds of images different settings produce at once gives you the creative freedom to keep tinkering until it’s fit to print. Eventually, the right colour settings will become something you can adjust intuitively. But that takes practice, says Suhaib.

“You can really be creative and try different settings,” he says. “That’s the only way to learn and get better.”

As with any other aspect of your photography journey, we encourage you to test out different methods and settings to really get familiar with all things printing. Be sure to use the Canon site to explore our different resources on the topic too.

Written by John Marshall and Mabinty Taylor-Kamara

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