Now that you picked your ideal photographic printer with pigment-based inks for your Epson, HP, or Canon inkjet printer, you will need to pick the proper paper. For the most part, always use the manufacturer’s paper that is made for your printer. If you have an Epson printer, purchase Epson photographic paper and the same holds true with Canon and Hewlett Packard Printers. There is a very good reason for this. Each printer has multiple printer (called ICC) profiles that relate to the various kinds of paper that are used. I normally use two types of Epson paper for general purposes, the Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster and the Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte. For each of these papers, you will have a specialized ICC profile that is designed to provide the optimal ink coverage for that type of paper. These printer profiles are so specialized there is a difference between the Epson Premium Glossy and the regular Epson Glossy paper.
You should always check with your printer manufacturer’s web site under "drivers and support" for the latest printer drivers. Typically your printer drivers will be updated when your computer’s operating system software goes through a major system update. As a rule of thumb, check the manufacturer’s website about every six months. The exception to this rule of thumb is when you want to use a high-end archival quality specialty paper made by Hahnemühle. The Hahnemühle company has been making archival paper for nearly 425 hundred years and is the most preferred paper by museums and galleries for its archival qualities.
If you use this type of paper for your Epson Pigment-based ink printer such as the Epson Photo R1800, then you will definitely want to download the specialized ICC profiles directly from the Hahnemühle site. The recommended Hahnemühle papers also work with the archival inkjet printers with pigment-based inks from Canon and Hewlett Packard. However, I would steer clear from third-party office supply store brand photo paper from such places as Staples and Office Depot. The quality of the output is sub-standard and equally important, the final result will not be archival quality. To investigate a printer’s ink and paper combination for its lightfastness (archival nature), see the Wilhelm Research Imaging website.
The Best of the Best photographic paper period is the Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl archival paper. It has an ISO (International Standards Organization) Brightness of 105%, so it is ideal for black and white as well as color photographs. It is triple-coated, lignin- and acid-free, and has a surface similar to sliver gelatin double-weight photo paper. The weight of paper is measured in a metric system, gsm (grams per square meter). Normal typing paper is about 80 gsm, so the Hahnemühle Fine Art Pearl archival paper is four times this thickness or 320 gsm.
Make sure you use Print Preview with your Adobe Photoshop software (available on version 7.0 through CS-3). This feature allows you to select your paper size (done in the Page Setup area) and to see if your image fits on the size paper you select. You can select the color profile too by using the best default setting, Adobe RGB (1998). Turn on black point compression and make sure relative colormetric is selected.
You should always store your prints either in a clear plastic bag made for matted fine art photographs or behind UV coated glass. Your prints ought to be stored at a relative humidity between 35 – 65% and a temperature of 10 – 30 degrees Centigrade (50-86 degrees Fahrenheit), and you want to avoid direct sunlight. To increase the protection of your images, investigate the Hahnemühle Protective Spray. The spray seals the printed surfaces and protects them from dirt, fingerprints, and moisture. It also increases the water-resistance of printouts and protects images from fading caused by UV rays.