Advanced Printing

Photoshop 5 & 6


Using Custom or Epson Media Profiles

Epson Printers - Windows

By: Ian Lyons

A Computer Darkroom Review

With Photoshop 5 & 6 we have two alternative workflows for printing images - Basic and Advanced. I discussed the Basic workflow in an earlier essay. The main purpose of this essay is to discuss the Advanced method, specifically how to use Custom or Epson created media/paper profiles.



The driver settings to be discussed below are not printer specific, they should be compatible with just about any Epson Stylus Photo Inkjet printer currently available and also with some from quite a few years back.

Simple question!

Why do PC users of Epson printers sometimes feel "hard-done-by" and claim that Epson do not provide them with all the tools necessary for a fully colour managed workflow?  Maybe it's because the single ICC profile supplied with the PC version of the Epson printer driver is NOT an ICC media (paper) profile. So what is it?

The simple answer!

The single ICC profile supplied with the PC driver will normally have a name such as Epson Stylus Photo 1270, when viewed in the Photoshop Print dialog. However, the name/label of these profiles in Windows Explorer is less obvious, e.g. Ee089_1 or similar. These profiles simply define the optimum colour space for the Epson printer and are associated with the Color Settings, PhotoEnhance and ICM modes. When the driver is set for any of the 3 operating modes mentioned above it needs no additional media profiles, they are built-in.

One VERY important point to be noted is that these colour space profiles are NOT compatible with No Color Adjustment mode. If you choose this mode and try using these colour space profiles the resulting prints will in all likelihood be terrible.

Mac users are more fortunate than the PC user in that Epson does provide ICC media/paper profiles with each printer. These ICC media profiles are of reasonable quality and can after a simple modification be used by the PC user with either Photoshop 5 or 6. You can download versions for a few Epson Stylus Photo models by clicking the hotlinks that follow:

Note: ICM and ICC profiles are the same, so don't get worried if you see the terms being used interchangeably.

Downloadable Epson ICC Media Profiles

Epson Stylus Photo 1290 - (compatible with the 1280)

Epson Stylus Photo 890

Epson Stylus Photo 895

Epson Stylus Photo 810 - (compatible with the 820)

Epson Stylus Photo 1270

Epson Stylus Photo 2000P

Epson Stylus Photo 2100 (compatible with 2200)

Example Epson ICC Media Profile designations

  • SP1270, SP890 or SP1290 RC - Premium Gloss Photo Paper

  • SP1270, SP890 or SP1290 MP-H - Heavy Weight Matt

  • SP1200, SP1270, SP890 or SP1290 GF - Glossy Film

  • SP1200, SP1270, SP890 or SP1290 PP - Photo Paper

  • SP1200, SP1270, SP890 or SP1290 PQP - Photo Quality Paper

You will only find the profiles appropriate for your printer model in the download. These profiles were created by Epson and I make no claims as to quality of the final prints. It is worth noting that Mac users seem perfectly happy with the results they obtain, hopefully PC users will be similarly pleased. Please be aware that the above profiles will be a poor substitute for custom created ICC profiles.

Profile Locations

  • Windows 95/98/98SE/Me - copy the profiles to the windows/system/color folder

  • Windows 2000/XP - copy the profiles to the system32/spool/drivers/color folder

Getting an acceptable Print

For best results when using an Epson Stylus Photo Printer with Photoshop we should really have it correctly configured and the monitor properly characterised and calibrated. Adobe provides Adobe Gamma for this purpose and I have produced two comprehensive essays describing how Photoshop 5 and 6 can be configured along with guidance on characterising and calibrating the monitor. See Photoshop 5 Colour Settings or Photoshop 6 Colour Setup for more details.

Photoshop 5 - Making the Print

The steps involved in making the print are pretty straightforward

  • Select Print from the Photoshop File menu and make sure the appropriate ICC profile for your media is selected in the Space pop-up menu.

  • The "Printer Color Management" checkbox MUST remain Unchecked.

Photoshop 5 Image

Photoshop 5 Print Dialog

  • Now Select the Setup button (the remaining steps are shown on page 2)

Photoshop 6 - Making the print

The Photoshop 6 Print dialog is slightly more complex looking than that of Photoshop 5, but isn't really any more difficult to configure. The basic steps are as follows.

  • Select Print from the Photoshop File menu

  • Select the Document radio button

  • Select  the appropriate ICC media profile for your printer in the Print Space "Profile" pop-up menu

  • Intent should normally be set for Perceptual (Relative Colorimetric is also worth a try).


Photoshop 6 Print Dialog

  • Select the Setup button

The remaining Steps are common to Photoshop Versions 5 and 6. Having pressed the setup button Page Setup dialog should appear.


Section of Photoshop Page Setup Dialog


  • Select the Properties button.

Note: that if you have more than one printer installed, it is important to select the appropriate model in the Printer Name popup.

The Epson Stylus Photo Printer main Dialog should appear. The actual dialog appearance will be slightly different for each printer model although printers within the same family tend to be fairly consistent. I have included screenshots for both the Epson 750/1200 and 870/890/1270/1280/1290 below so that you might recognise these differences.


Epson Printer Driver - Main Dialog

  • Select Custom button followed by the Advanced button, when it appears.

  • Ensure that the sliders for colour, brightness, contrast and saturation are ALL at their default "0" position.

  • Don't be tempted to use the Epson Print Preview screen since the results will look terrible and cause you no end of confusion and frustration. The Epson Print Preview is NOT compatible with ICC media profile.

Epson 750/1200 Printer (v4.5 drivers) - Advanced settings 


Epson 870/890/1270/1280/1290 Printer (v5.x drivers) - Advanced settings 

  • Choose your media type (it MUST be the same as the profile you selected in Photoshop).

  • Choose your Print Quality - best choice is Photo 1440dpi

  • High Speed should be deselected

  • Color Management MUST be set to No Color Adjustment

  • Click the OK button and return to Photoshop to make the print.

  • Just for completeness - check that Print Space Profile popup box still has your chosen media profile selected. If not then reselect and press the Print button.

If you created or purchased custom ICC profiles for your Epson printer then one or other of the configurations described above will apply, which depends upon your version of Photoshop.

One last point. Just as the Epson colour space profile described at the beginning should not be used with No Color Adjustment mode it is the case that ICC media profiles should NOT be used in any other mode but No Color Adjustment. Using any other driver mode with such profiles will produce prints that look fluorescent pink/red, so be warned and stick with the settings described, and PLEASE don't be tempted to use the Epson Print Preview!

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