Whether it’s for snapshots of your joy-bundle or creating works of art—we’ve got the printer for you
Epson Stylus Photo R1900 Ink Jet, $550, epson.com
For “scrappy” moms, this pro-level, large-format printer gives you the choice of printing directly on 12-inch scrapbook pages or churning out frame-worthy photos of any size up to 13×19—or even directly on CDs or DVDs.
Epson Artisan 710 All-in-One, $180, epson.com
New moms will marvel at this deft multitasker, which
prints photos and other documents up to 8.5 inches wide—plus it scans, copies, and lets you make two-sided prints to save paper. It can connect to multiple PCs via your wireless home network, and its separate ink cartridges let you replace depleted colors individually.
Canon Selphy CP760, $80, buy.com
Only about the size of a round loaf of sourdough, this tiny wonder is our top choice for brilliant 4×6 snaps. Buy paper and ink refills in Canon’s combo packs for the largest cash savings. Prints directly from your camera’s memory card, or from your Mac or PC.
By Leslie Ayers
With the prevalence of blogs and websites like Flickr and Shutterfly, it’s easy to overlook the most obvious way to share photos: by printing them out. When baby makes her debut, there will be folks clamoring to see proof and compare notes on whose nose she got.
If you can produce your own snaps at home to tuck into thank-you notes and add to paper scrapbooks, you’ll avoid trips to the nearest photo processor and save cash in the long run. The trick is choosing the right printer—and following our tips.
When it comes to buying a photo printer, don’t let sticker price fool you. Photo paper and replacement ink cartridges often end up costing more than the price of the printer in the long run. In other words, don’t let a printer’s low—or high—price tag decide the purchase for you. Make sure it can produce the size prints you’ll want most—from 4×6-inch snapshots to 8x10s to 12-inch square scrapbook pages.
Next consider the cost of ink and paper. Compact printers tend to specialize in 4×6-inch prints (meaning, the paper is smaller and more affordable), a large-format printer can handle up to 11×17, and all-in-one models usually top out at 8.5×11. For quality photo paper, expect to pay from $.50 to $1 per 8.5×11 sheet. For best results, buy the same brand of ink and photo paper as your printer.
Photo-editing software lets you adjust photos before you print. For Mac users, the easiest option is iPhoto, which comes free as part of Apple’s iLife suite on all new Macs. For PCs, Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 ($100, adobe.com) offers powerful photo editing in an easy-to-use interface, making easy fixes like red-eye removal a matter of a few clicks while giving you the option to create more complicated photo projects as you learn what it can do.
Finally, for the best-looking prints, set your digital camera’s image quality as high as possible. This makes files larger and eats up space on your flash card faster—but photos will look better in print and you can make larger prints without sacrificing quality.