Fine Art prints on inkjet printers?

I’ve met many couples who’ll flinch at the idea that I actually make my fine art prints on inkjet printers. To them, this is quite unthinkable.

“How can fine art prints worthy for a once-in-a-lifetime wedding album be made on inkjet printers?”

First and foremost, there are many kinds of inkjet printers just like there many kinds of cameras. Most people associate inkjet printers with 3-in-1 (print, fax & copy) printers that they have at home which of all us know don’t make very good photo prints. They’re not meant for that purpose anyway.

The other kind of inkjet printers which most people are not familiar with are those used by professional photographers and fine art printers. These are the ones, along with proper calibration and custom profiling can cost well over $10,000.

I’m currently using the Epson Stylus PRO 4800 with the UltraChrome K3 ink system. When printed on premium-grade fine art photo papers, the color and black & white prints are nothing short of stunning. You’ll be amazed how much inkjet photo printing technology has improved over the last few years. Best of all, you can print on a wide range of fine art papers from watercolor-textured papers to fabric canvas. My current favorite is the Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Satin. This paper gives you a very unique sheen to your photos and it looks absolutely beautiful on black & white prints. This is by far the most impressive photo paper I’ve used along with the original Photo Rag.

Print Permanence – will it last?
This is another concern that most couples have when it comes to inkjet prints. This is certainly a valid concern given the fact that wedding photos are meant to be eternal memories. A test by Wilhelm Imaging Research states that photo prints made on Epson’s UltraChrome K3 ink pigments on average last more than 100 years (see article: Epson Stylus Pro 4800 – Print Permanence Ratings). Of course, I have no way of proving that. So, I’ll have to trust Wilhelm Imaging Research who has been conducting research on stability and preservation of traditional and digital color photographs and motion pictures.

In Conclusion
I made my first foray into inkjet photo printing 3 years ago when I bought my HP PhotoSmart 7960. I remembered making my first black and white print on the Ilford Classic Pearl paper. Even back then, it was already impressive except for the lack of water resistence on the final prints. I heard that this is no longer an issue with HP Vivera ink system. I’ve never looked back ever since and I’ve upgraded twice. First, to the Epson Stylus Photo 2100, a trusty A3-size printer that have produced so many beautiful prints for so many of my wedding couples for a good 2 years. Now, I have my Epson Stylus Pro 4800, defintely a more-than-worthy replacement that would continue to produce remarkable prints for yet more wedding couples for many years to come.