Printer Profile Availability

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Today’s Question: Is there a general source for ICC printer/paper profiles where the manufacturers of the printer and paper are different? I have an Epson 3880 printer and bought some HP premium plus glossy photo paper.

Tim’s Quick Answer: As a general rule you can find profiles for most third-party photo papers, supporting a variety of different printer models, directly from the paper manufacturer. However, that generally excludes support for a combination of printer and paper from two different printer manufacturers.

More Detail: If, for example, you had purchased paper from a company that does not manufacture printers (such as Red River Paper, for example, available at http://www.redrivercatalog.com), you would generally find that profiles are available for most popular printer models.

However, in your case you have purchased paper from one printer manufacturer (HP) with the intent to print on that paper using a printer from another manufacturer (Epson). As you can imagine, HP would very much prefer that you only print on an HP printer, and so they have an incentive to provide ICC profiles for their papers only for use with their own printers.

In some cases you may get good results by using an ICC profile for a different paper that has similar properties to the paper you are actually printing with. However, more often than not you’ll find that this approach doesn’t provide the most accurate prints.

Therefore, if you want to use paper from one printer manufacturer to print with a printer from another manufacturer, you will generally want to skip the ICC profile altogether. Instead, you will need to choose the option to let the printer (rather than your software, such as Lightroom or Photoshop) manage the colors for the print.

You can then use the various settings in the printer properties dialog to make adjustments through a trial-and-error process to find settings that will produce an accurate print. Once you have those settings established, you can save them for use anytime you are using that specific printer and paper combination.