How to calibrate your printer
An accurate screen isn’t a guarantee for an accurate print. Accurate prints depend on profiling or calibrating of your printer. Every printer is different and each model prints colour slightly differently depending on the batch of ink used and the type of paper you’re printing on.
Here are 3 options to help you get the best colours:
Option A: Do nothing
Most printers have their own colour management built into the printer driver. This takes the RGB values from a digital photo and translates them into instructions that tell the printer where to squire individual droplets of different coloured inks at what size.
A lot of today’s printer drivers are pretty accurate so it’s worth trying this method first once you’ve calibrated your monitor. Assess the result and if it’s close enough for your needs then don’t torture yourself any further.
However, if it’s not close to what you’re seeing on your calibrated screen, then go to option B.
Option B: An ICC profile
Most printer manufacturers produce ICC profiles for their printers. ICC stands for International Color Consortium – the industry body that sets the standards for colour management.
These small files contain a description of how your printer handles colour. Each profile is created for use with the manufacturer’s own range of paper and printers.
There will even be seperate profiles for different types of paper. Most specialist paper makers produce ICC Profiles that you can use with your specific model of printer. To use ICC Profiles configure Photoshop’s print dialog box properly.
Option C: Custom profile
If you want total accuracy then you can use a colorimeter to profile your own printer. Using a device such as the ColorMunki you can print out a special test chart, which you then scan with a colorimeter.
The software then produces an ICC Profile unique to your printer. You’ll need to create a fresh profile for each different paper type you use.