Authors: Michael Freeman and John Beardsworth

Publisher: Focal Press (Elsevier)

Review by Conrad J. Obregon

I guess I was being flippant when I once said about using an Epson printer “just read the instructions!” I still feel almost the same way, but I also acknowledge that there are a few things that you have to do to an image that you have on a monitor to get a good print that might not be intuitive or in the instruction booklet for your printer. The Art of Printing Photos on Your Epson Printer provides most of the advice you might need.

The book talks about printers and inks; paper; color management; print comparisons between the printers photographers have and some printers used by printing houses; Photoshop preparation for printing; and presentation of the final images.

The authors write clearly and accurately about the process. I’m not certain you need to know everything that they explain, but it certainly won’t harm you, and, as I’ve found with a lot of things I’ve learned over the years, it might ultimately prove useful. For example, I’m not certain one needs to know exactly how the ink drops are sprayed onto paper, but I’ll bet that knowing that makes it easier to diagnose a problem when one comes up. On the other hand, there are a few common problems that come up that have not been covered. (For example, some rag papers leave a residue behind on the printer feed wheels that can prevent proper feeding. It would be useful to know how to deal with this.)

Sometimes the authors go into great but useful and important detail, as when they explain several different methods of sharpening images for output. Other times they give little hints that one might never have to use, but that are just as helpful. (You will know what I mean if you’ve ever gotten paper stuck on the sticky patch on the polythene package that paper usually comes in.)

The authors emphasize what to me seems to be the most common problem with printing which is improper color management. On the other hand, I wish they had gone into a little more detail on some subjects, like soft-proofing. I would have liked more suggestions on how to deal with out-of-gamut colors, or at least to be told that some times you just have to suck it up.

I also wish they had been willing to stick their necks out a little. I often feel I have not selected the best paper to present an image. I would have liked not only their explanation of the characteristics of paper, but also some ideas about how to select a paper, even if that is a very subjective matter.

Books on printing don’t often have a section on display so I was glad to see the authors tackle this task, and give some good advice. On the other hand, you certainly won’t be able to nicely mat an image with just the instruction here.

Beginning printers will certainly find it easier if they read the information provided here, and won’t be too overwhelmed as compared to some other printing books. More experienced printers will probably also pick up a tip or two, and even find an incentive to try something new. On the other hand, those who use a printer brand other then Epson will probably find the information less useful. Perhaps they might consider switching to Epson! (Consider smiley inserted here.)