Choosing the Right Settings for Your Inkjet Photo Printer

inkjet photo printer settings

Always examine your photo printer settings before printing!

As printer technology advances, it becomes increasingly difficult to know exactly what type of performance to expect from them. Pamphlets included with the printers indicate that the DPI (Dots per Inch) for one function varies from one to the other. In actuality inkjet printers are comparably adequate of each other in terms of output resolution due to the constraints of inkjet technology.

There are varying types of printers capable of producing images in a higher resolution then high end inkjet printers. Select color laser printers as well as any dye-sub limitation printers produce a superior image. However,  these printers are not commonly used.

Many modern color printers are capable of producing photos instantaneously. There are multiple kinds, though the most popular and most affordable of these, are the inkjet type. Modern inkjet printers are able of producing prints of what some distinguish as photographs due to the capability of these new technologies.

The inkjet printer and digital camera industry are in a constant, simultaneous evolution. Things are always changing. Though, there are a few important things that remain unchanged when it comes to producing excellent photographs.

The dpi capability listed on your inkjet printer is not the set resolution it is capable of printing. This is the number of DPI or Dots Per Inch that the printer is capable of leaving on paper. So when the instruction guide or box that your printer came with says it is capable of 1440×720 DPI or 1200×4800 DPI, this is the amount of ink dots per square inch used to produce an image. These numbers are representative of settings for glossy photograph paper.

Never confuse your DPI with your PPI. PPI stands for Pixels Per Inch. Modern printers are capable of producing the colors of the rainbow using a limited number of primary base inks. Usually limited to four to seven colors of primary inks, though there are some restrictions of possible colors it can produce based on the limitations of the inks it is supplied with.

How to select the Correct Settings for Printing an Image

Forget all the complicated words and references you know about digital printing. It is not that hard to apply the proper settings to properly print your image. What you need to remember when printing is to set your PPI at 150 to 300 when printing on glossy photograph paper. You can set the PPI up to 400 when printing on a Dye-Sublimation printer if you’re lucky enough to be using one of those. 150 to 300 is the standard, no matter the type of printer. If you save your image at a PPI in that range, you will have perfectly printed photos on glossy photo paper. Do remember to set your PPI at 150 or lower when printing on standard office paper.

Nearly all modern inkjet printers can operate within the 150 to 300 PPI range. When you set the PPI at 400, the most advanced inkjet printer would have trouble printing at a density higher then 400 PPI. As advanced as the latest inkjet printers are, capable of ejecting a 2-picoliter splash of ink, (two millionths of a millionth of a liter.) That PPI setting is just too much.

Lower the PPI setting and adjust it till you get the result you want if you are trying to print a larger image. For larger images bigger then 11×17, set the PPI at 200 or less. All image editing programs have settings that allow you to adjust the PPI. For example in Photoshop you can adjust the PPI of the image by selecting Image, then Image size, then select changing resolution.