HOME PRINTERS | OUR FAVES

home printer favorites via besotted blog

Printing at home or in your studio has one clear advantage over using a service: control. If you are unhappy with a print, you can make adjustments and reprint it on the spot. Familiarity with your equipment is helpful too. For instance, I know these Epsons print a bit darker than my monitor so I prepare for it in Photoshop by creating a duplicate layer & screening it at 25% opacity. This makes the image too light on screen, but it prints perfectly.

My Epson Artisan 800 is a dinosaur – maybe 6 years old, and even with a broken paper tray, it still prints, and scans like a champ (I don’t make many copies, and never use the fax feature). I have prints from when this printer was new that look as good as the day they were made (the inks are fade resistant up to 98 years!). Super thick card stock doesn’t really work, but I’ve had good luck with heavyweight matte papers. It’s possible this has been corrected in the newer version of this printer, but I can’t speak to that from direct experience. Epson recently replaced the Artisan series with the Expression series, which come in at the same bargain price I paid for my Artisan 6 years ago ($130.00).

Home printer review besotted blog ii

The Epson Stylus Photo R3000, made it’s way into my studio when it became apparent that photography was going to eclipse my love for graphic design by roughly a mile and a half. It feels like such a treat to print the 13” x 19” size. My images with black backgrounds (printed on smooth matte paper), remind me of velvet (but not in an Elvis on black velvet sort of way). Tristan wanted to know where I had them printed, and was floored when I told her I printed them myself! The archival inks are fade resistant up to 118 years for color, and 300 years for black, just be sure to use archival paper to secure those results. For peace of mind, I always add another layer of protection with a couple of coats of Hahnemuhle Protective Spray to keep prints looking new for as long as possible.

For any new home printer purchase, you’ll want to check your monitor calibration. I won’t get into detail, since it’s one of those things where cost and time investment can vary widely depending on your needs. I did find this friendly tutorial for calibrating a mac that some of you may find helpful. The other thing you’ll want to be aware of is the ICC color profile information for your printer. ICC color profiles will help Photoshop and your new printer speak the same color language. Here is a video from Epson explaining which settings to use in the Photoshop print area for the R3000. Tip: Make mini test prints to conserve ink and paper: full size is for when you get all of the workflow kinks worked out!

If you have a home printer that you use for photos and love, let us know! I’ve had Epson printers for so long, I’m not very familiar with the other options.

//Resources //

The Finer : Epson Stylus Photo R3000

Priced around $750.00 but right now there’s a $200 mail-in rebate & free shipping w/ Amazon Prime.

The Find : Epson Expression Premium XP-820 ($129.99)

Screen Calibration Equipment:

ColorMunki (this is the entry level version) Spyder4elite

Photoshop + Lightroom Creative Cloud bundle now only $9.99 a month!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

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TOOLS OF THE TRADE::NO MACRO LENS? NO PROBLEM

close-up lens set besotted blog iI wanted to make-up for those of you that were not able to get into the Product Photography class on Skillshare.  So, I decided to share this ‘tool of the trade’ that I use for my product photography from time to time.  I first learned about it via a Scott Kelby book (if you aren’t familiar with him and are a photography newbie, I highly recommend his series). I was also pleased to know that Jen Huang recommended it as well.  The tool today is a close-up lens set it’s a great alternative to an expensive macro lens.  My set was under $15.  What it allows you to do is get in much closer than you would normally be able to with your lens.  I almost always shoot with a 50mm lens so I made sure to buy a set that would fit on my lens.  It came with 4 lens attachments a +1, +2, +4, +10.  What I usually do is stack the +1 and +2 (there are grooves to allow them to attach to eachother). For me that is the best combo to still create a sharp image.  The +10 works but I feel creates a very narrow amount of detail and a lot of soft shallow depth of field, which might work well for creative shooting but not so well for product photography.  I took some sample shots below for comparison. The first one on the left is shot with my 50mm lens without the addition of the close-up lenses (this is how close I could get in). The one on the right is with the close-up lens +1 and +2 close-up attached.  You can really see how much closer I was able to get in and shoot, it’s pretty amazing! On a side note, I have seen the Hoya close-ups get great reviews, I have not tried them but it’s another option if you can’t find one that will fit on your specific lens.

Close-up Lens Set Comparison

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE::DECKLED EDGE RULER

Deckled-Edge-Ruler-Besotted-Blog jpgI love details. What details? All of them, on everything. I think simple is very beautiful, but sometimes the addition of a subtle detail like deckled edges on your stationery can elevate it to another level. Years ago I found an interesting ruler at the craft store that would create the edges I coveted.  It was a hideous looking tool, bright metallic purple (why are all craft tools purple?), I spray painted mine gold. It comes with two edges for creating the deckling. One edge you’ll need to ignore, it will make your stationery look like something from the Flintstone’s, not the elegant detail we are after. What makes this tool so remarkable is the simplicity of use, you are basically tearing the paper or cardstock against the fine jagged edge. You just place the ruler (really, I write ruler but I have never measured with it and neither will you) on top of the item you want to create the edge on, leave a bit of paper sticking out so you can grasp it and just rip against the edges.  Viola! You have a beautiful, organic edge. Could you use a straight-edge ruler? Yes, but your tear will be more uniform and will be absent of the interest created by the jagged edges on the deckled ruler and it will look like you just ripped your paper and that’s not very elegant right?  It will take a few times to get the hang of how much pressure to use, but after the fourth time you should be able to zip through stacks of paper. What paper is best?  Light-weight paper to medium weight cardstock seem to rip the easiest. This looks great on photos if you print on matte paper. If you want to tear your own watercolor sheets, which usually come with only one deckled-edge you will now have in your arsenal the ability to tear on all four sides. Think of the possibilities–place cards, gift tags, menus. This is perfect if you are doing any sort of DIY event from weddings to holiday parties.  I think it’s another great tool to have and I use mine all the time. It would be especially great if you are a chronic d.i.y’er, photographer, event planner, or artist, so basically the entire blogosphere. Have you ever tried anything like this before?  If so any tips or tricks that I have missed here?

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE | STICKER MAKER

Sticker Maker II Besotted Blog

I have been wanting to start a series here for awhile about some of the tools I use as a designer + crafter. I am very hands on with my work and although I adore the convenience of working with digital tools (like the Adobe suite and my beloved Mac) what I really relish is being able to work with my hands. That is one of the reasons I launched with rubber stamps in my business, it’s so gratifying to be able to create something with ‘professional’ results with something so humble.  One of my favorite finds is the Xyron machine which turns just about anything into a sticker/label by adding adhesive to the back. It comes in multiple sizes, I own both the small one below and the full-size one, where you can run a full 9″ wide sheet through.

Sticker Maker I Besotted Blog

The Xyron offers multiple adhesive option cartridges, from permanent to semi-permanent (so you can easily reposition) and even has a laminate + magnet cartridge available. They aren’t the most aesthetically beautiful machines.  I so wish I could have my own craft tool line, I would design tools that were simple + clean so you could leave them out. These purple monstrosities are hidden deep in my craft closet. Purple? Le sigh. The newer versions are a tad easier on the eye. Even though I cringe when I see them, they do perform their task extremely well.  You can even run ribbon + fabric through the machine which opens up so many creative possibilities.  If you are planning to DIY your wedding or special event this machine would make a great investment, you could create seals for your envelopes, envelope liners, labels for favors, the options are endless! If you are trying to build a creative craft arsenal I highly recommend adding a Xyron to the mix.

Have you ever tried one of these before?  If so, what did you make with them?

P.S. I finished Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children it was not creepy at all, it was quite delightful + original and I am chomping at the bit to see the movie and read the upcoming sequel! Now I need to find another book for February so I can complete my 12 books in 12 months!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups.

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