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How to print on a budget

Tips and tricks to save a fortune

You want great-looking output. You don't want to spend a fortune on ink and paper. These tips and tricks can help.

Digital photo tips

You can't put a price on memories, but printing cherished family photos on an ink jet will definitely cost you. What are your options?

Third-party services
For your highest-resolution, most precious photos, it's probably best to pay the high price for total control over the process from editing to printing. But for everyday shots, letting someone else print the photos (by either uploading your images to an online photo service or dropping off a CD or memory card at a store) is the easiest, and often cheapest, solution - especially for large.

Find flaws and fix 'em
Whether you've digitised a film photo or downloaded an image from your digital camera, checking for stray thumbs, red-eye, and other flaws before you print will keep you from wasting pricey photo paper. It also pays to preview photos before sending them to a print service; many major services also offer online editing tools.

The best quality is worth the money
When PC Advisor's sister title PC World partnered with the archivability experts at Wilhelm Research to test and rate ink jet-printed photos for longevity in 'The Fade Factor', they found that the manufacturer's inks and papers generally produce the best-looking, longest-lasting prints. If you want to preserve photos for posterity, you may have to resign yourself to spending a little extra.

Take good care
Who wants to spend money reprinting a photo that's faded or otherwise damaged? Make prints last by taking a few precautions. Henry Wilhelm of Wilhelm Research recommends framing displayed photos under glass and avoiding prolonged exposure to bright light sources.

Even mild light exposure may eventually fade a print, however, so just to be safe, Wilhelm also recommends having a second copy in an album. Store redundant copies of your digital image files (in their highest resolution) somewhere safe, too.

NEXT PAGE: Taking a chance on cheap

  1. Tips and tricks to ensure you don't spend a fortune on ink
  2. The incredible, shrunken starter cartridge
  3. Penny-saving printer settings
  4. Digital photo tips
  5. Taking a chance on cheap
  6. Pay it again, Sam: ink costs can dwarf printer prices
  7. Bulk ink: feed the need, cheaply


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