Yet Another New Photo Printer

Epson Stylus Photo R2000I’ve been waiting a while to tell you about this.

In my defense, I wanted to test this new machine before writing about it.  In reality, I was too scarred from dealing with another photo printer mishap and didn’t feel like writing about it.

Brace yourself for some printer drama.

Earlier this year, I told you about my new photo printer, an HP 5510, and the issues I had with it.  I was able to get a warranty replacement, but I did not recommend the product.

So I had the replacement machine.  I leave the house and the printer goes unused for a couple of weeks.  What happens when I return?  The same freaking problem that it had last time.  LINES all over the photos and everything turned orange.

I was pretty pissed.

I got a warranty replacement again.  It did not set my mind to rest.  How long would I have to wait before it broke again?  If it keeps breaking, how good are these photos?  I became convinced that if the machine was that flimsy, I’d probably find a couple of years down the road that the photos were crap.

That was it.  HP was dead to me and I decided to invest in a higher quality machine.  Mr. P agreed so he wouldn’t have to hear me complain since it would put my mind at ease.

Lots and LOTS of research later and after a chat with the lovely Ali Edwards, I bought an Epson Stylus R2000.  Yes, I spent a bit more money than on the last printer, but I was tired of second guessing the longevity of my pictures.  I do all my photo printing at home, so the machine matters.

I’ve been mostly pleased with it so far – still working out a couple of kinks, but the photo quality and speed are really good!

One thing though – it is a huge machine.  I didn’t need a wide format printer (it can print up to 13 inches wide), just one that was good quality.  Unfortunately getting that quality means a bigger machine with more bells and whistles.  I had to have a coworker carry it to my car for me and it almost didn’t fit on my printer stand!

So that’s it – so far.  I’m hoping I can keep this machine without incident for a few years!

Photo Printer Fiasco

Photo PrinterYou all know by now that I use a photo printer to print all of my photos at home.  Here are the reasons why I use a photo printer.

If this reads like a long, whiny rant I apologize.  I’m still pretty upset about it.

Around Thanksgiving, my beloved HP Photosmart 7350 conked out.  It was ten years old and always printed gorgeous photos.  It’s really a long life for a printer, I know.

Off I went to scout Black Friday deals on printers.  I decided to stick with HP Photosmart because I liked the quality of photos I got from the last printer.  Note, I do not like HP printers for regular printing because I think they eat too much ink too quickly.  I have a different everyday printer by Canon.

I ended up with the HP 5510.  There were more expensive versions of it, but they did things I didn’t need.  Seriously, I don’t need a photo printer that can also scan, fax and make french fries.  I just want to print photos!

Initial Reaction to the HP 5510

Speed – I’ve been used to a slow ten-year-old printer.  The 5510 prints fast!

Quality – Impressive.  I was absolutely satisfied with the quality and it matched what I had before.  It also does a better job of edge-to-edge printing than my old model, which means I can squeeze an absurd amount of pictures on a page and save paper.

Setup – Pretty darn easy.  It’s wireless to boot so if I kept photo paper loaded at all times, I could print scrapbook photos from anywhere in the house.

Photo PrinterOverall I was very pleased and planned to test it for a couple more months before writing a post about it.

Then Things Went Terribly Wrong

One evening I was on a scrapbooking roll and had 4 pages of photos .  I had a set deadline to finish these layouts because we were going away for the weekend.

Errr-orrrr.  What happened to the photo quality?  When I printed the pictures, I got these organge-ish lines on them.  I wasted a few more pieces of photo paper trying to diagnose the problem.  I opened a set of new printer cartridges to see if that would fix it.  Nope.  Nada.

Photo PrinterMy printer was under warranty (thank goodness).  I had to spend at least 30 minutes on the phone with HP, running every little test they wanted me to do to see if it fixed it.

Tip: if you’re in for a long call with customer service, put on a headset.  That way you can craft while they put you on hold.  It’ll make you less testy.

Photo PrinterFinally, they agreed to replace the machine and I had to wait several days for it to arrive, since they charge $17 if you want it shipped more quickly.

You know that feeling when you’re on a crafty roll with projects and some unforeseen circumstance prevents you from finishing?  Yeah, that was me.

It Wasn’t Over Yet

Several days later, I ran home with the new machine.  Setup was pretty easy . . . until I had to put the cartridges in.  You see, this printer comes with special “setup” cartridges so you have to use the ones that come in the box to install the printer.

After I installed the cartridges, the printer decided to pretend like the pink one wasn’t there.  Great.  After trying everything I could think of, it was back on the phone with HP.

After running all kinds of tests again (I think this took at least another 30 minutes), they decide it’s a bad cartridge.  I was beyond upset at this point.

Photo PrinterThey offered to send me a new setup cartridge, but of course I would have to wait for a few days or I could pay $17 to have it sent overnight.

At list point, I lost my cookies.  I’m paraphrasing here, but I essentially told the guy on the phone, ahem, firmly, that HP had no idea how much productivity they had cost me during this situation, the situation was getting beyond ridiculous and they would send me the cartridge overnight free of charge.  They put me on hold for a while but eventually agreed.

All Better, for Now

The new cartridge arrived and all was well.  The new machine is back up and running and I printed the 4 pages of photos out immediately.

Where to from here?  Not sure.  After this fiasco, I’m pretty sure this is the last HP machine I will own.  Although I’m happy with the quality, I can’t recommend this product.

I still firmly stand behind my method of printing all the photos at home for all the reasons mentioned in my original post.

Okay, I Cheated: Scanning Keepsakes

Using keepsakes in my scrapbook pages is a key part of my style.  They are more important to me than paper styles or color choices.  I wish more scrapbookers would use them!

I think my grandkids will be more amused to see  old newspaper clippings and flyers rather than ribbon I picked out to compliment them. Who am I kidding here?  I have no idea if any future offspring will want to look at these.  Moving on.

What do you do when a keepsake is too big to put in your scrapbook?  Yes, too big even for me and I use 11×14-inch scrapbook pages.

My answer?  I cheat.

If something isn’t going to work on a page, I scan it and print it on my photo printer.

When to Scan a Keepsake:

  • Item is too big for the page
  • Keepsake just won’t work with layout
  • Item is displayed elsewhere but it would help tell the story in your layout
  • Keepsake isn’t two-dimensional

Take a second look at the picture of the homecoming poster.  The original poster is 16.5 inches wide!  I scanned and resized it to 6.5 inches and it really compliments the layout without overwhelming it.

This layout is from the set of football layouts I showed last year.  Since I was using the same basic layout for all 6 football pages, it wouldn’t have made sense to disrupt the pattern by trying to fit some of the original poster on the page.

The example below is of a three-dimensional item:  a refrigerator magnet.  I couldn’t glue the magnet to the page and it was already living on our refrigerator.

But don’t these printed items just look like another picture on the page?  Not really.  Since I use a satin sheen photo paper instead of glossy, the printed keepsakes don’t look like photos at all.

Have you tried this before?  If you haven’t what ideas does this give you?  I hope this enables you to use more keepsakes in your layouts!

My Favorite Photo Paper

I do all my photo printing at home and hinted earlier that my favorite paper is a store generic.  Yes, it’s the truth!  You can catch up on why I print at home in this post.

I only buy 8.5×11″ photo paper.  I can never get 4×6″ sheets of paper to work for me.  Plus, I rarely print just 4×6″ photos, but when I do I can lay them out on an 8.5×11″ sheet and cut them out.  Printing on larger sheets lets me do cool things like photo blocks like I did in this layout or tiny photos as in this layout.

What if I need to print a picture now but can’t fill up an entire 8.5×11″ sheet?  I save the rest of the sheet for later so there’s no waste.

Staples Photo Supreme Satin Paper

Satin.  Not gloss, not matte.  As far as I know, Staples is the only manufacturer that offers satin paper.  I don’t like the glare of glossy paper and it’s too easy to fingerprint.  Matte photo paper pretty much looks like a sheet of cardstock.

What’s so great about it?

  • No fingerprints:  this is great when I’m cutting out the pictures and handling them while scrapbooking.  I don’t have to be that careful with them.
  • Dries fast:  I can start using these photos 20 minutes after I print them (and that’s with me waiting to be on the safe side).
  • Heft:  the paper has a nice heavy feel to it and the pictures don’t look like they were cheaply produced.
  • Satin sheen: the photos have a matte finish with a nice sheen to them.  It’s kind of like glossy taken down a notch.

I can’t find this in my local Staples and have to order it online.  I really hope they don’t discontinue it because it’s a fantastic product!

Note:  I was not paid by Staples to endorse this item just as I am not paid to endorse anything.  I only feature items that I love and actually use.

Why I Use a Photo Printer

As a scrapbooker, there are few things more important than photos. How you choose and print your photos is just as personal as picking a color scheme for a layout.

I’ll take a step back and show you how I print my pictures at home and why it gives me more tools as a scrapbooker.

But first, meet my photo printer. Continue reading