I was helping my son make a Father’s Day present this past weekend, printing out images of him and his dad playing baseball. My first instinct was to send them to Costco for printing, but it was 105 degrees outside, so I decided to see what kind of results I could get in the comfort of my air-conditioned home from my simple desktop inkjet photo printer (Canon Pixma iP4300, retail value $99) and Lightroom’s Print module.
To avoid having to venture out in blazing heat, I decided to use some nice matte finish stock I’d purchased from my friendly neighborhood camera store’s Epson-laden shelves. Why wouldn’t that work as well as anything? I mean Epson is a reputable company that makes good paper, right? How different can paper be? And the only Canon paper my neighborhood vendor had was a high gloss number that was just too, well, shiny.
Rookie mistake. The experienced photographers out there are shaking their heads at the obvious flaw in my plan. The rub is that the only ICC profiles that Lightroom’s Color Management pane has for my Canon printer were for specific (Canon) papers. Some part of my brain was convinced I’d be able to guess at the equivalent paper, but with all the variables, how much paper, ink, time and CMH (Color Management Headache) are you going to risk? Answer from my photographer friend was, “Just. Um. No.”
So I braved the heat, walked back over to my friendly neighborhood Epson paper-loving store, bought the one Canon paper they had, set the right profile in Lightroom, and ended up with truly frameable (albeit glossy) prints that had my son beaming on Sunday morning when he presented his dad with the final product.