Printing Revelation

Infrared image captured with an infrared converted Panasonic GX1
Infrared image captured with an infrared converted Panasonic GX1

It’s funny how we become locked into a way of thinking and acting as the result of conditions that no longer apply. Unless we are prepared to constantly experiment and challenge ourselves we don’t even recognise this is happening. Here’s one example from my very recent past.

After I blogged the Friday Image last week I decided to print the staircase that I featured. Initially I printed this using Hahnemuehle Bright White Photo Rag 310 paper which is my matte paper of choice. The image looked good but for some reason I wondered what it might look like on other matte papers. Whilst I didn’t have any test packs around I did have an old pack of Epson Archival Matte photo paper so decided to give it a try.

This is a much thinner/lighter paper than I am used to but it’s still quite stiff. I did use this paper for a short time about 8 years ago but stopped because I couldn’t find any profiles for my printer. Without profiles the images were coming out with strange colour casts that was very unattractive so I just stopped using it. Now that I am printing with an Epson 3880 printer I have no problems obtaining a printer profile or even generating my own using my Color Munki.

When I produced the print on the Epson paper it took me completely by surprise. The appearance was excellent and it had a great depth. It took a few test prints to perfect the black and white images but I cracked it in the end by printing using ABW, selecting the “Dark” option and increased my contrast by +20 in Lightroom. If you don’t use Epson ABW and print from Lightroom this probably won’t mean much to you so just take it that I made the printer darker and added a little contrast.

Overall I am quite impressed, so much so that I have order another batch of this paper in A4 and A3 sizes from Amazon (link on and as it’s very well priced. I intend to now use this as my matte proofing paper as it’s a much cheaper option and very good value.

The image above is an old one I have posted before because I don’t want to post the Friday image again so soon. I therefore repreocessed this image and printed to check the output. It’s also quite impressive on the Epson paper.

4 thoughts on “Printing Revelation

  1. I too like using the Epson ABW on my 3880 which gives great results and superb tonal range.
    I think Epson recommend using the Dark Tone rather than Darker and will check out your suggestion of upping the contrast.

    1. Hi Dave,

      Yes I think they do recommend using the Dark option. You can get away with printing Neutral if you do a soft proof first and use this to darken the image by eye. It’s easier to just pop it into a Dark print though. Let me know how the contrast adjustment goes.

    1. Thanks Paul. The ABW is part of the print driver and stands for Advanced Black and White. It’s an alternative (and a good one) to using a printer profile. I’m not sure if all Epson printers offer this or if it’s just a few such as the 3880 and 3000 models. Don’t worry if you don’t have it, just print with the correct profile for your paper and add a little contrast adjustment as you are doing. Alternatively you could soft proof the image and try to manually adjust the soft proof to match the original – I’m straying into complex ground here aren’t I.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.