Many times it’s hard to tell if your inkjet printer is spitting out exactly the color it’s supposed to. Having a test image that represents the full gamut of the color spectrum may help to check that. You can make your own, download them from various color labs, or use the one I’ve used for landscape work over the years. Accurate color chips representing all the major inks, their combinations and a grayscale ramp are good to include in your calibration image. Flesh tones are also helpful if you do a lot of portrait work.
Basically you open the file in your printing application, set your printer driver the way you normally do for making prints, and send the test file to the printer. If it looks like the image on the screen, your workflow is calibrated. If it’s off, well, something’s off in your setup. I’ll leave that thorny issue for another post.
Here’s what my image looks like. To download a full-size 8×10 printing image, click it to open in another window, and right-click it.
Here are some additional decent calibration images, courtesy of Northlight Images