Higher resolutions photos will produce better prints. However, resolution cannot be increased once the photo is snapped, so set your camera to the highest resolution possible. You can always reduce the size later. If you plan to print a photo that is less than 5x7 inches, 3 megapixels is sufficient. Larger photos require at least 5 megapixels.
It is rare to capture a perfect image, so you may need to engage the services of photo editing software to enhance the photo quality. Free programs, such as Windows Live Photo Gallery for Windows 7 or Windows Photo Gallery for Windows Vista, allow you to apply a multitude of effects, including removing red eyes, balancing light and color, softening edges, rotating image orientation and cropping out unwanted elements.
If you will be regularly printing photos at home, it is crucial that you purchase a quality machine capable of producing high dots per inch (dpi). Look for a printer that offers at least 600 dpi to produce vivid, crisp, finely detailed photos. These settings can be adjusted using your desktop computer or on the printer if it is equipped with a menu screen. High dpi settings will increase the amount of ink used and the time it takes to print the photo, so use the lowest quality settings to run a test print, then switch to the highest quality options when you are ready to run your final print.
Photo Quality Paper
Bright white glossy paper produces a vibrant, shiny image that reflects light well. Purchase paper that has a quick-dry surface and is water resistant to avoid bleeding issues. Matte paper is best for black-and-white or sepia colored prints due to its nonreflective coating. It is also less likely to become smudged from fingerprints and dust. Satin paper offers the best of glossy and matte prints, providing a semi-gloss finish that is still rich in color, yet reflects less light and is fingerprint resistant.
Before printing, run the machine's print cartridge cleaning settings to remove any blockages that may have built up in the ink spray nozzles. You should also be able to adjust the machine's alignment and color calibration.