how to save ink when printing photos

Article last updated March 8, 2023

We have come a long way from developing and printing photographs. We no longer need photo printing services, we have moved on from the time when we had to leave our home to print. Not to mention that you would find it challenging to even find disposable cameras that are not being sold at a premium.

We have evolved in the way we take photos. In fact, according to a study by InfoTrends, in 2017 alone, all of us have collectively taken more than 1.2 trillion smartphone photos. Smartphone photography is so in demand and continues to be popular year after year.

person taking photo with their cellphone

So if the way we shoot photos have changed, then there is definitely a change in the way that we print photos. Printing photos directly from your mobile device is so easy and simple nowadays. And when you want to share those pictures, it is difficult to overlook one big issue.

The ink consumption when printing photographs is downright outrageous. Photo printing can become a very expensive hobby for people who print a lot of photos since they must use all of the color and even the black ink cartridge.

So how do you save ink when you are printing photos? Are there any ways to get the most out of your printer ink when printing photographs? If you are interested in reading about more general ways of saving on printer ink, we have an entire article dedicated to that titled 5 Ways To Save On Ink.

To learn how to save ink when printing photos, you can try these top three methods:

Try printing in grayscale

black and white photos

Grayscale printing is a type of printing method that can hugely reduce the amount of colored ink used up by your printer. While it may seem like Black and White printing modes, the grayscale option is actually better when printing photos or other types of graphics with depth. Usually found in newspapers, greyscale is a printing method that has been used commercially and in home use for several years.

Greyscale can print up to 256 different shades of gray, this means that you can portrait different "colors" within what is in essence - a gray photo. The emulation of color provides depth to your photos and can portrait details that would just be missed out when you are printing only in black and white.

Grayscale is extremely useful when you are printing photos that are shot in black and white. The color black in photos and graphics drains the ink cartridge by a lot as it is so rich and prominent in many pictures printed out. Shadows, absence of light, dark spacing, and absence of light can all contribute to heavy black tones on your image.

While you may not be able to get the exact colors of the original pictures, greyscale is ideal for capturing the mood lighting of dramatic photos.

Cut down on color saturation

colorful photo

There are a few device settings that you can adjust that can reduce the amount of ink used for printing photos or images. Saturation is typically one of the most popular ways to cut back when it comes to modifying pictures. By cutting down on the color saturation, you are reducing the density of the ink used on every page.

Use dedicated photo printers

photo printer

If you are interested in primarily printing photos, you should consider buying a specialized photo printer. Not only will the photos come out better than printing from a desktop inkjet printer, but the sharp and vibrant colors will make your pictures look like they were printed by pros. And the prices of photo printers are more and more affordable and are easily available to a broader market, so now is a good time to make this investment.

With that said, while the photo printer might be more affordable or on sale, the consumables can cost a lot when you add them all up. Special photo paper, and most importantly photo ink, can drive up the printing costs really quickly.

Pigment-based ink is usually much more costly than dye based ink. Often coming in smaller ink cartridges, what it lacks in quantity, it will more than make up with its print quality aspect.

If your photo printer can support a specialized ink cartridge, then you are pretty much set to print out stunning photos without losing any of the aesthetics when you transition from digital to print.

While buying online for these branded, OEM cartridges could cost you a lot of money, you could look into purchasing remanufactured and compatible cartridges instead. These remanufactured ink cartridges work the same as their name-brand counterparts and only cost a fraction of the price.

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