Choose the right resolution for your print


Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. The more pixels your photo has the more clarity and detail it will retain as you increase its dimensions. Resolution is sometimes expressed by the width and height of the image as well as the total number of pixels it contains. For example, an image that is 1600 pixels wide and 1200 pixels high (1600 x 1200) contains 1,920,000 pixels-or almost two megapixels (two million pixels).

Most digital cameras offer a range of resolution settings. It's a good idea to use a higher-quality setting if you plan on printing larger-than-wallet-sized pictures. Here are some general guidelines:

Minimum image resolution

Megapixels required

Maximum print size

Output possibilities

Less than 640 x 480


Wallet-size prints

E-mailing to friends

Picture displays on the refrigerator

640 x 480


4" x 6"

Photo albums

Craft projects (scrapbooks, stickers, etc.)

1152 x 864


5" x 7"

Framing for home display

Photo greeting cards

1600 x 1200


8" x 10" or larger

Framing for home or gallery display

Photo calendars


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Select the best format for your image files

Chances are, your digital camera shoots in JPEG. It's the most common file format, and is especially well suited to:

·               Use online

·               E-mail

·               Most printing needs (4" x 6", 5" x 7", panoramic)

JPEG compresses the photo, meaning pictures will take up less room on your memory card or computer. This lets you take more of them, and makes them faster to download in an e-mail.

Some cameras let you change the format you shoot in to TIFF or RAW. These are best for:

·               Large format printing

·               Prints made from cropped photos

These formats have the least amount of compression, meaning the photo will take up considerably more space on your memory card and computer. The advantage of these formats is that you get very clear prints, and in large sizes. Check your camera's manual to see if you can change the format.







Edit images for printing


Use a photo-editing program, like free HP Photosmart Essential—to do basic photo editing such as cropping, contrast and color changes for your digital photos.

·               Tip: Use the auto-fix button in HP Photosmart Essential to adjust contrast and brightness automatically—one click and you're done.





Pick the right dpi

Dots per inch (dpi) is a measurement of print resolution that indicates how many individual dots a device can create on a page per square inch of area. For crisp, colorful, professional-looking prints, choose a printer with at least 600 x 600 dpi. HP Photosmart printers offer up to 4800 x 1200 dpi color prints on HP premium photo paper, for amazingly sharp images.




Use the latest printer drivers

Printer drivers act like translators so your printer and computer can communicate with each other. It's important to use the most current version available for your printer. Download new versions for HP printers. They're free, and help fix problems and bring significant performance improvements.


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Match print quality to the job


You can designate the "quality" of the print, depending on what you're printing. For routine print jobs, such as letters or recipes, "draft" or "fast" is probably sufficient. Reference your printer's manual to learn how to change quality settings.

·               Choose "Best quality" for most photos

·               Use "Normal" for wallet-sized




Select the best format for your image files

Chances are, your digital camera shoots in JPEG. It's the most common file format, and is especially well suited to:

·               Use online

·               E-mail

·               Most printing needs (4" x 6", 5" x 7", panoramic)



Adjust paper settings

Paper settings control the amount of ink that's laid down on paper, so using the setting in your printer software that matches your photo paper is essential for quality good prints. When you find a setting that works for a particular paper type, make note of it so you'll be able to get the same results when you use the paper again.






Perform routine printer maintenance

Running the Cleaner function in your printer every two to three months improves print appearance and prevents problems such as streaking. Access "properties" settings to perform maintenance such as cleaning the printer nozzles and aligning the print head.



Match paper and ink

There's a good reason to use genuine HP supplies-they're specifically developed to work with your HP printer. HP's newest generation of inks, HP Vivera inks, deliver optimum color and fade resistance, and they're engineered for the absorption properties of HP photo paper.

·               Choose HP Premium Plus photo paper for prints that will last generations.

·               Choose HP Advanced photo paper for quick drying and water resistance.





Use print preview

Before you put it on paper, preview your prints on your computer. Simply select File > Print Preview. Hit Esc to return to the normal view. Microsoft Word even allows you to type documents in page layout, so you can see what your page will look like in printed form while you're typing. Just go to View > Page Layout.



Buy ink combo packs

You can realize significant savings over time if you buy your HP inks in a combo pack. Combo packs combine the black and color cartridges for your HP printer in one convenient package.

HP value packs combine ink and paper, so have just the right amount of ink and photo paper for a predetermined number of photos.


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Give prints time to dry

Before you frame a photo or add it to a scrapbook, be sure to give it enough time to dry. Most HP inks and papers are designed to dry within an hour or so, and some much more quickly. It's best, though, to allow the print to dry for about 24 hours prior to framing or placing it in a photo album. Use HP Advanced photo paper for the fastest drying time.

Tip: If you're printing multiple pictures, remove them from the printer as they emerge and set them aside. This will eliminate accidental smearing or running.

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