If you don’t need to print out professional quality photos, a laser printer can print out decent photos and let you add some colour to brochures, leaflets and internal memos, without you having to splash out on professional printing services. The secret lies in choosing the right paper, understanding what you can print with a laser printer and setting it up correctly.
Picking the right image
You can print out those moody black and white landscapes or the snaps you took of the table decorations at a child’s birthday party, but understand that some images are more suited to laser printing than others. The best results come from images that have a lot of detail, are well lit or have bright colours.
Images with subtle difference in hues and tones or images with emphasis on pastel colours aren’t ideal for printing on a laser printer, mainly because toner cartridges aren’t the best at precisely mixing colours like ink cartridges can.
If you want to get the best out of your black and white pictures, make sure to switch the printer to print in black and white only, otherwise you’ll get slight colour tints in your images (we show you how to do this in How To Save Money by Setting Your Printer to Print in Black and White Only).
Knowing your printer’s limitations
Laser printers use a 4 colour system, while most modern inkjet photo printers use 6 or more, so you can’t really compare their ability to reproduce colours. Most laser printers are also calibrated for document printing and not photo printing, so some fiddling with colour and paper settings may be necessary.
You’ll have to check the print settings every time you print, as some printers default back to the factory settings between prints. Select ‘photos’ in the print quality menu and make sure the resolution is as high as it can go.
You also shouldn’t expect seamless colour blending but the colour banding is usually quite subtle. Each printer will also reproduce colour balance, brightness and contrast slightly differently.
Using the right paper
With laser printing, you do have more choice when it comes to paper. But picking the right one for printing photos can be tricky. You can’t use paper designed for use in an inkjet printer, the toner powder won’t stick properly. Your paper also can’t be too thick or it will get stuck in the paper feed.
Make sure you use a smooth, coated paper, which comes in matte, low gloss and glossy finishes. Make sure that your printer can handle coated papers and check the maximum thickness that your printer can print on. You should also make sure your printer's paper settings match the paper type and thickness you’re printing on.
You can also save on your printer cartridges with our autumn promotion by using the voucher code AUTUMN at checkout to get 10% off compatible ink and toner.