What are custom printer profiles ?

Custom printer profiles are individually made files that calibrate a specific individual printer to one type of paper with one inkset at one specific set of printer driver settings.

What can a custom profile do for me ?

  • A custom made profile will ensure that your printer is delivering the closest matched output to the data it receives. This should make prints more predictable and reduce, or eliminate, the need to make corrections to the photograph you see on your monitor to make it match the final printed photograph.
  • With greater predictability you will need to make fewer reprints.
  • Ink costs may be lower per sheet of paper.
  • By carefully measuring exactly what your own printer can output, custom profiles may be able to print a wider range of colours than the manufacturer's generic profile.
  • Custom profiles can be made for any ink or paper combination, so you can print with a proper colour managed workflow on papers not made by the original printer manufacturer.
  • You may be able to make considerable saving in paper costs by not being tied to having to use the manufacturer's own paper to get the best results from your printer.

What a custom profile CAN'T do

  • Correct for poorly set up monitors.
  • Print more colours than the ink and paper will allow.
  • Cure incompatibilities between paper and ink, e.g. bronzing. Although a good profile can reduce the effects.
  • Cure metamerism, but an accurate profile may significantly reduce the effect.

An example

The images below show pictorially what difference a custom printer profile may give you.
The original picture was taken with a Canon 10D digital camera in RAW mode and the picture outputted in Adobe RGB colourspace.
It is not possible to fully show the difference of using a wide gamut colourspace on a web page as web browsers will only show images in sRGB. In the example below this means that the colours have far more saturation and vibrancy in the actual prints than can be shown here.
This print was made with one of our custom colour profiles. A good match to the soft proof we can assure you.
This print was made following the paper manufacturers exact instructions. Dull, flat and with inaccurate colours

Methodology for the above demonstration.
The prints were both made on Fuji Multijet Premium Inkjet Glossy paper using an Epson 1290s printer with Epson's own inks. We followed the supplied instructions with the Fuji paper to the letter which uses Epson's default profile.
Fuji Multijet is actually a very nice paper, nice and glossy with a good brilliant base white that isn't too cold. It suffers from some noticeable colour shift when drying, but finished prints are excellent. A good custom profile allows the paper to deliver the full results it's capable of. At the time of writing it is also available for half the price of the comparable Epson paper.

For a more technical demonstration of the advantages of using a custom printer profile to increase a printer's gamut please have a look at this example.