How I print and mount photos

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Last night I lugged a bunch of stuff – computer, printer, mat cutter, supplies, past images – up to the camera club to do a demonstration on how I print and submit images for the monthly competitions. While I rambled on and showed things in a non-sequential manner I think that at least a couple of people got something out of the night.

In case this might be useful at other times, here are some notes from my process: (with the disclaimer that this is just my process, there are other ways to print images)

  • I was very lucky that at the time I decided to start printing my own images I was able to pick up a secondhand printer at a reasonable price.
  • From the beginning I decided to stick with genuine Epson inks.
  • I got a sample pack of different Ilford papers and did some test prints with both these and some Epson papers.
  • I decided to just use Ilford Galerie Smooth Pearl paper, even though some types of images can benefit from certain types (matt, gloss, art, metallic) of paper. I looked around online to get A3+ paper at a good price.
  • Ensure that you use the profile for your paper/printer combination, you get these from the paper manufacturer.
  • I do not try to match the print against my screen, instead I care about a print that looks good.
  • Do a nozzle check if it has been a while since you last used the printer. The one time I forgot to do this there was a blocked nozzle (fixed by a head clean) that ruined a full size print.
  • Any unused areas of the A3+ sheet are salvaged into 6×4″ pieces. Test prints are made on these before committing to a full size print.
  • The size of the printed image is worked out based on the size and orientation of the mat board, the border width and allowing for a small overlap.
  • Leave a small margin above the image on the paper, this is the area that will be used for tape later.
  • Mark everything out on the back of the mat board. These markings are then lined up with the edge of the rail in the mat cutter. I cut slightly longer (both before and after) to ensure a clean cut in the corners with no tear out.
  • Only use tape across the top of the image, this allows it to float between the mat and backing, otherwise it might buckle.
  • I use double sided tape (squares in the corners, spots along the edges) to attach 3mm foam core board as the backing. As no tape is exposed it cannot peel up and cause damage when in the box with other prints.
  • The foam core board is larger than the 16×20″ mat board, this is attached and then trimmed down to the size of the mat board instead of trying to align exactly.

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