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3 Easy Ways to Conserve Ink When Printing Photos

May 21, 2020

3 Easy Ways to Conserve Ink When Printing Photos

Printing photos at home

We've come a long way from printing and developing photos. No longer in need of printing kiosks, we've bypassed the era of needing to leave the house to print. Not to mention that you'd be hard-pressed even to find disposable cameras that aren't being sold for a premium. We've changed the way we take pictures; according to a study done by InfoTrends, we've taken over 1.2 trillion smartphone photos in 2017 alone. Smartphone photography is at its peak and continues to climb every year. 

So if we change the way we shoot photos, there is definitely a change in the way that we print them. Printing photos directly from your phone has never been easier. When you want to share those photos with the world, it's hard to overlook one glaring issue. The ink consumption for printing photos is absolutely ridiculous. Photo printing can become an extremely costly hobby for those who print large amounts as they must tap into all of the color as well as the black ink cartridge.

But what about conservation? Are there any tips or tricks to get the most out of your printer ink when printing photos? If you're interested in learning more general methods of conserving your ink, we have an entire article dedicated to that titled How to Save Ink When printing. For photo-specific ink conservation, there are also some key techniques that you can take advantage of to conserve the most amount of ink.

grayscale printing

  1. Use Grayscale Printing

Grayscale printing is a method of printing that can significantly reduce the amount of colored ink consumed by your printer. Although it may seem like Black and White printing modes, the greyscale option is superior when printing photographs or other images with depth. Most often found in newspapers, greyscale is a method that has been used commercially and in the home use for decades.

Greyscale can produce up to 256 different shades of grey, meaning that you can portrait different "colors" within essentially a grey photo. The emulation of color gives depth to your images and can portrait details that would be flat out missed when printing solely in black and white.

Grayscale is extremely helpful when printing photos that are shot in black and white. The color black in images heavily drains the ink cartridge as it is so rich and prominent in most pictures taken. Shadows, dark spacing, and absence of light can all contribute to heavy black tones on your image.

Although you may not preserve the exact colors of the original photos, greyscale is perfect for encapsulating the mood lighting of dramatic portraits.

  1. Reduce Color Saturation

There are some settings you can adjust within your printing options that actually reduce the amount of ink used by a significant amount. Saturation is usually one of the most popular options to reduce when it comes to modifying photos. By reducing the saturation, you are reducing the density of the ink applied to the page. 

Saturation is simply "how bright" the photo is, higher color saturations will result in more vibrant colors. In comparison, lower saturations take on more muted color tones—the more color-saturated, or vibrant, the more ink that is going to be consumed. If you reduce color saturation on your print job, the colors may be muted in some capacities, but you will still be able to retain most of the photo aesthetic. Saturation can usually be manipulated through specific photo editing programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom, and many more. 

photo printer

  1. Specialized Photo Printers

If you're looking to print photos primarily, you should look into purchasing a specialized photo printer. Not only will the results come out better than a regular inkjet printer, but the crisp and vibrant colors will make your photos look like they were professionally printed. With the prices of photo printers becoming more and more reasonable and available to a broader audience, now is a great time to consider this investment.

Canon PIXMA printers are one of the most affordable and easy to use photo printers that you can find on the market today. The Canon PIXMA IP8720 Photo printer and other specialized inkjet photo printers can produce borderless 13x19' photographs that rival what you would purchase from a photo kiosk. 

That being said, although the photo printer might be on sale, other consumables can cost a pretty penny when added up. Specialized photo paper, as well as photo ink, can drive up the maintenance cost fairly quickly. Pigment-based ink is often much more expensive than its dye counterpart. Usually coming in smaller ink cartridges, what it lacks in the quantity department, it more than makes up with its quality aspects. 

If your printer supports these specialized ink cartridges, then you're pretty much set to produce stunning visuals without losing any of the aesthetics when going from digital to print. Special cartridges such as HP's  PhotoSmart ink are designed to give you rich results without sacrificing large amounts of ink. 

While shopping online for these cartridges could cost you a great deal, you could look into buying compatible and remanufactured cartridges. These specialized ink cartridges function identically to their name-brand counterparts and cost a fraction of the price. You could find massive deals right here at 1ink.com. With over 20 years of experience under our belt, our wide array of discount printer ink and toner are sure to fit any of your printer needs.