3. Eliminate common errors
People who are new to printing often complain that what they see on screen doesn't match what they get on paper. For one thing, prints often look darker than screen images. "The answer is almost always that your screen is too bright," says Keith. "Ideally you should calibrate your monitor. If you nail down the monitor, you remove one source of error."
In an ideal world, you should adopt a workflow that's colour-managed end-to-end, from camera to printer. Calibration kits can help to ensure your monitor is displaying colours accurately, whereas a professional-level colour management system will enable you to create custom camera, monitor, projector and printer profiles.
The next step, according to Keith – especially if you're new to printing or you've bought a new printer – is to create test prints. "You might feel it's tedious but if you print your own photos first and they come out wrong, you won't know if it's the printer, the paper, or if it has more to do with your photography and editing process," he says.
Test prints can help you evaluate fine detail at a range of brightness and contrast levels, linearity and image quality. There are lots of free test prints available online with instructions for how to use them.