What's The Best Printer For Large Format Paper?

Posted by Ajax Union Blogging | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, July 12, 2010

If you're an artist or professional who prints on large format paper, you may be interested in a comparison test done informally on two leading wide format printers, the new HP Z3100 challenger and the Epson 9800.

Right away, rest easy: these two printers are both capable of the highest image quality currently available. There were visible differences in the results tested on exactly the same large format paper, but they were really only visible when prints were viewed critically side-by-side. In a blind test in a gallery, even those of us who performed the test were hard-pressed to claim which printer made which print.

We felt that the debate on image quality differences came down to quibbling. The better questions were related to reliability, ergonomics and user interface. Which is to say: we've all been in a production environment where a client is waiting for prints and the printer has a jammed paper feed or clogged heads. Which one would be better in a pinch?

Our staff was split down the middle. If you're looking for a high end large format paper printer, either one of these will probably knock your socks off.

Adhesive Vinyl Sheets, You Rock

Posted by Ajax Union Blogging | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, July 05, 2010

Back in the day, people interested in DIY sticker or decal making used contact paper. You remember the stuff your grandmother lined her shelves with? There was a mildly complicated process to make sure the paper was sticky enough, glossy enough, waterproof enough. It was fun, if you're into messy projects (I was), but it's no wonder not many people got into it.

Want to know the secret to today's DIY sticker and decal projects? Drum roll, please!
Adhesive vinyl sheets.

Maybe you were hoping for something more dramatic, but adhesive vinyl sheets are where it's at when it comes to printing your own stickers or decals.

As an art school student turned producer for local indie bands, I've started to think of adhesive vinyl sheets as my best friend. If I've gone to the trouble of printing a postcard for a show, and then we need to change the date, or use leftovers for another show, I just print new stickers for the back of the postcard and voila, problem solved.

Ditto for promotional stickers! I love this stuff. If you're still using contact paper, let me just say, the glory days of sticker making are now, my friend. Join the fun.

Want a Little Texture? Try Inkpress Linen Matte

Posted by Jessica G. | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, June 28, 2010

When you’re doing highly detailed photographic work, you ideally, don’t want the details of the image to be clouded when it’s printed out on paper. So although inkjet glossy photo paper is the most common choice for photographs, premium matte photo paper could be more practical. With matte photo paper, the images will most likely appear sharper and more defined and the details will really pop.

Colors will also be more vibrant. So if you’re working on color photography and really want to capture the reality of the image and every detail in true form, you would be better off sticking with a matte photo paper like Inkpress Linen Matte. The linen matte has the non-reflective qualities you want, but with enough texture to give it a unique yet professional feel. In addition, its texture is subtle enough that it doesn’t affect image quality at all. For enlargements or reprinting, this paper is truly the best option. The images will still look bolder and sharper, even when blown up to a larger size.

For the best selection of premium matte photo paper, including Inkpress Linen Matte, be sure to visit Photopaperplus.com!

How to Photograph Paintings for Fine Art Prints

Posted by Jessica G. | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, June 21, 2010

When trying to replicate a painting for fine art prints, there are two factors that determine your success: your DSLR photography skills and good photo quality inkjet paper. Here are a few tips:

-Avoid using a flash. It will create reflections on the painting and make it looked washed out.
-Take several photographs of the painting using various shutter speeds and light settings to have a good selection of photographs.
-Watch out for bright lights behind the painting that could wash out the photo.  If possible drape a dark cloth behind the painting, as it will keep light from leaking over the edges of the painting.
-Don’t stand too close to the painting when photographing it and similarly, don’t use a wide angle lens setting. Your best bet is to stand about 4-6 feet back and use an ordinary lens or telephoto lens.
-Allow some of the background to be included in the shot so you can crop the image using photo editing software.
-Using a slow shutter speed will increase the focal depth and make the image more focused.
- Be sure to hold the camera very still when shooting to avoid shake and in turn, a blurry final product. 

Once you're done touching up the photo with your editing software, you're ready to print it out on the photo quality inkjet paper of your choosing. 

Luster: The Forgotten Photo Quality Inkjet Paper

Posted by Jessica G. | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, June 14, 2010

Whenever I’m printing out photos, I’m always drawn to inkjet glossy photo paper, especially if I’m shooting in black and white. In my mind professionalism correlates to bold images on glossy paper. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to replicate what I’m used to getting from the developers, I’m not sure, but recently I’ve vowed to step outside the box and try something new. That new thing was Luster paper. Wedding, portrait and school photographers have traditionally used luster paper for printing their photos mainly because of its super-subtle sheen and slightly textured feel. It really compliments close up shots, especially when they’re faces, and makes colors bold and warm.

Inkpress Luster paper, available at photopaperplus.com, is a premium resolution, resin coated, bright white photo grade paper and works with both dye and pigment inkjet printers. It dries instantly, which was a huge plus for me. I hate having to wait around and handle the photo with tweezers after I take it out of the printer, just so I don’t ruin it. Apparently its secret is that it has a new ultra-absorbent coating which keeps the inks from puddling or merely laying on top of the paper. Whatever it is I love it and it’s such a nice change from my default inkjet glossy photo paper.

Have You Tried Semi-Gloss Photo Quality InkJet Paper?

Posted by Jessica G. | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, June 07, 2010

When printing photos from personal computers, inkjet glossy photo paper is usually the first choice of many consumers. And for good reason! The shiny finish can give even amateur shots a professional and polished look, colors look vibrant and rich, and it reflects light well. But there are a few downers with with high-gloss papers as well: the shine may produce a glare in certain light settings, especially when framed in glass and they tend to collect fingerprints quite easily.

If you love the look of inkjet glossy photo paper but want something a little more balanced, you should consider purchasing Semi-Gloss or Satin Finish paper. This is a good middle ground between glossy and matte as it’s less shiny than high gloss, it reflects less light, it’s easy to view under strong light setting and fingerprints and dust are less of a problem. Inkpress makes a fantastic Semi-Gloss double sided paper. It’s microporous, 100% acid and lignin free, it dries instantly, and is water resistant. For high resolution printing this paper is ideal and it’s double-sided nature makes it perfect for projects like brochures, portfolios, greeting cards, scrapbooking, and making pre-press proofs.

How Paper Brightness Affects Image Quality

Posted by Jessica G. | Posted in , , , , | Posted on Monday, May 24, 2010

When you’ve been shopping around for photo quality inkjet paper, you may have noticed that every package has a brightness level listed along with the weight and thickness. To the untrained eye brightness may seem like a trivial thing to include on the packaging, isn’t most paper white anyway? The answer is yes and no. Yes, all white paper is white, but different paper has different levels of whiteness. Individually all papers seem the same shade of white. But when you put them side by side, you see the subtle nuances in their colors: sometimes one’s a bit warmer and ivory-toned while the other is a strikingly cool, bright white.

The whiteness/brightness can really have an affect the vividness of an image’s print out. Specifically, the whiter and brighter a paper is the lighter and more vivid an image is going to be. The brightness level is typically expressed on a scale of 1 to 100, with 100, of course, being the brightness. Multipurpose copy paper generally tends to have brightness in the 80s while photo quality inkjet paper tends to be in the 90s. Sometimes paper manufacturers tends to use terms like Bright White and UltraBright to indicate brightness, which is actually a little misleading because the numerical indications are more precise.