15 common photo printer problems and DIY solutions

15 common photo printer problems and DIY solutions

When photo printers work, it’s hard not to be amazed at the ‘photographic’ print quality that even the cheapest model can produce. But when they don’t, it’s hard not to reach for the hammer and blow-torch.

There’s as much to go wrong in the digital darkroom as there ever was in the wet chemical era, so you need troubleshooting knowledge if you want to avoid lengthy conversations with technical support.

15 common photo printer problems and DIY solutions

Knowing what can go wrong with your photo printer is more likely to make you realise that something really is wrong, instead of accepting that those little white lines that run the length of all your prints are actually unavoidable.

Remember, you shouldn’t have to put up with anything less than excellent; that’s the standard all inkjet printers are now capable of reaching.

In this DIY Photography Hacks guide we’ll run through the most common problems you might encounter with your inkjet printer, and a host of possible solutions. Work your way through these and you’ll have a good grounding in printer maintenance.

There are stacks of models out there, so online troubleshooting for your specific printer is a good idea before you attempt
any major works!

Common photo printer problems and DIY solutions

The first port of call for any print quality issue is to check the basics: have you done something silly?

Selecting the wrong paper type, printing on the wrong side of the paper, overloading the sheet feeder, printing on curled paper, using a low resolution setting, failing to install ink cartridges correctly or not replacing an empty ink tank are all common sources of problems, and can lead to streaks, banding (visible lines), or uneven printing.

If you’re sure that none of the above are the source of your woes, your next step should be the printer maintenance section of your printer’s driver interface.

There should be nozzle check, alignment check and cleaning cycle options – running these can solve the vast majority of problems.

PAGE 1: Common photo printer problems and DIY solutions
PAGE 2: Troubleshooting common photo printer problems
PAGE 3: Paper feed and alignment errors
PAGE 4: Nozzle and roller problems
PAGE 5: DIY photo printer prevention techniques


20 questions you need to ask about how to print photos
Colour management: fine tune your kit for the most accurate colours possible
Monitor Calibration Made Easy