Category Archives for "Tips"

Inkjet FAQ 001: My Monitor is Too Bright, Even After Calibrating/Profiling. What Do I Do?

I’ve decided to launch an Inkjet FAQ on, and this is the first entry. Look for more soon, and to see a full list of the Inkjet FAQs, just click here, or choose Inkjet FAQs from the Category List at the top of the center column on In all cases the FAQs will cover topics that relate to inkjet printing, but many of the tips will be more broad in scope. This one is a good example. A well calibrated and profiled display is an important step in any inkjet printing workflow.

Inkjet FAQ 001: My Monitor is Too Bright, Even After Calibrating and Profiling. What Do I Do?

After working with a client recently who has an Intel Core 2 Duo iMac 24″, I wrote an article about how to adjust the contrast in a way few people realize is available. The iMac 24″ does not have a specific on-screen display menu with Contrast, Brightness and specific that is common on virtually all CRT monitors and many LCD monitors. For monitors that do have adjustments, you can often tone down the display brightness with a combination of adjustments to the Contrast, Brightness and in some cases, individual RGB color controls.

Here are a few excerpts from another article I wrote on the topic:

After adjusting the contrast bar to a point nearly all the way to the left, and then calibrating and profiling, the iMac’s screen was still too bright (even at minimum brightness), so I installed a freeware application by Charcoal Design named Shades. Just a small adjustment did the trick. I recommend turning on Shades (you’ll find it in System Preferences after installing) after doing a hardware calibration with a device like the Spyder 3 Colorimeter or the X-Rite i1 Display 2 Colorimeter. It is important to only run shades after you do a hardware calibration. You can also use the built-in calibration/profiling options on your  Mac, or Adobe Gamma on Windows, but a hardware calibration is better.

I recommend using a standard image that contains a range of color images, plus a neutral gray step wedge to determine how well your monitor is displaying images. You can find one that I assembled at If your screen is well calibrated and profiled, you should be able to distinguish individual tones in all of the 21 boxes of the step wedge.

Thoughts on the Epson Stylus Photo R2880 and an Excellent Review on

Epson recently announced the successor to its 13-inch-wide Stylus Photo R2400 inkjet printer, the Epson Stylus Photo R2880. I’ve been using and teaching students and consulting clients how to use the Epson Stylus Photo R2400 printer for years, and this new printer looks very impressive.

There are a number of differences between the R2400 and R2880, including two USB 2.0 ports that allow two computers to simultaneously connect to the printer (the R2400 has both a USB 2.0 and FireWire (IEEE 1394) port). A welcome improvement is that Epson Stylus Photo R2880 will allow direct printing on CD/DVDs. Also welcome is a new ink-repelling coating on the print head, which according to the company, will prolong the life of the head and decrease maintenance time.

I do wish that Epson had added another ink channel to avoid the need to switch between Photo Black and Matte Black (a manual cartridge switch is necessary for optimum results on both semi-gloss/glossy and matte/watercolor papers).


An excellent hands-on review of the printer can be found here, on, a site that contains many excellent reviews, tutorials and DVD user guides.

The Epson R2880 is now available for an estimated street price of $799.99 through direct market resellers, specialty photo stores, computer superstores, online retailers, and Epson’s retail Web site at

inkAID tutorial PDF available on inkAID’s website

A four page PDF by Artist, educator and author Karin Schminke entitled: “Printing on Uncoated Papers Using inkAID Coatings” was just posted on inkAID’s website. I’m very happy to have the technique as a part of the 301 Inkjet Tips book, and appreciate the work of all of the guest artists whose tips and techniques appear in the book.

The 4 page PDF with additional information about inkAID and the bookis available here for download:

or you can download the PDF directly here.

A Recycling Tip from “301 Tips” Chosen by for Earth Day

One of my favorite photo sites on the web is They have a great collection of tips, techniques and interesting photo-related products. The best way to keep them coming is to sign up for their twice monthly newsletter at


I recently contributed a tip from my book, 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques for their Earth Day article entitled: 10 Tips for Being a Greener Photographer. There is a lot of helpful advice there. The tip I contributed from the book covers recycling inkjet printers and cartridges.

Related Stories: NBC Universal, HP and Staples Make it Easy to Recycle Outdated Technology During Earth Week in New York City
Great podcast by the folks at DL.TV with many suggestions for conserving energy and recycling Compact Fluorescent Bulbs.