Many years ago I used to print my own photographs in a little wet darkroom I had in a walk-in wardrobe at home. With the advent of digital, I was happy with processing the images and placing them on Flickr etc. I did get some images printed for galleries, my Royal Photographic Society submissions and for commissions. I used The Printspace for all these and provided you prepare the image correctly, e.g. calibrated monitor, correct ICC profile and soft proofing, the results were excellent.
I have now decided to print my own and have purchased an Epson SC-P600 printer. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been testing the printer with different papers, profiles and photographs, and I have to say I am really pleased with the results.
I soft proof and print directly from Lightroom using the dialogue in the Print module to output to the Epson. I take mainly monochrome images and so I use the Epson ABW (Advanced Black and White) driver for producing these, which means the printer is managing the printing rather than the software.
For colour, I use Lightroom and the relevant paper profile to produce the prints. I did have a slight hiccup when I forgot to stop the printer interfering with the colour print process and my images were coming out with a magenta cast as a result of the conflicting profiles, but once sorted everything was fine.
The output of the printer is excellent. I print to a 6 x 4 size as a test print before I do a full-sized version. I find this test photograph helps me to see any alterations I may have to do to the image to get it exactly how I want it to look.
I was a little worried before I bought the printer that it would take too much of my time away from actually taking and processing photographs, but once the printer was set up and I got the hang of how everything worked, it became a part of my standard workflow.
Printers that can give professional (whatever that means) results at home are not cheap, but the act of printing your images and actually holding them to view and handing them around is really the last stage in the creative process and should be embraced. If you ever get the chance to print your own, please do so – I’m sure you won’t regret it.