I think your conceit is showing through...if you consider that an image has three phases, capture, process and printing, I think it's you who are flailing about trying to achieve something at the final stage that is somehow different or non standard. If you capture a good image and process it correctly and end up with a really nice image, making even a reasonably good print results in a good print of a good image.
That goes without saying. Anyone who is able to sell a photo as a piece of art for it's own sake (not, say, as a memento of a special occasion) or reach the final rounds of an art competition should be able to capture a good image and process it to show of its best aspects. If you can't do that, you're unlikely to sell or establish a good reputation. Therefore, competent capture and processing is simply a baseline. Whether one photo is 'better' or 'worse' than another one is largely up to taste. Presentation - that is, printing, mounting and finishing - is what really makes the piece stand out among the crowd of other good photos, and often means the difference between a viewer merely looking twice and thinking, 'nice photo' and them actually buying it. It was like this in the darkroom (where competent toning and development of a captured and processed image were what set a great photo apart from a good one) and it's the same in the digital darkroom, using inkjet printers. And anyone who can capture and process a good image can also use proper colour correction, plug in a printer with its standard inks, . Or send the file to a high-volume print lab, where they will do exactly the same thing. Since this is so easy and common, it becomes the baseline, a bit like the glossy 4x6" print in the film era - if you can take a decent photo and process it well, you can easily have it printed and end up with a good photo. To really stand out among the hundreds of other photographers who can also take a good shot, process it well and either print it using default settings or send it to a print lab, you need to make the print and presentation stand out as well.
Just as an example, Peter Lik's photos are nothing special in their own right. They're well-composed, competently captured and well-processed, but photos of a similar standard are dime-a-dozen on forums like this one. What makes them special, especially in his galleries, is the way they are printed and presented - between the lighting, printing and mounting, they are extremely striking images that, before everyone copied him, were fairly unique. Take the same photo, print it on an Epson or HP inkjet with default settings and standard paper and mat/mount it in a standard frame, and it no longer stands out among a wall of images by other photographers printed and mounted in the same way.
You can choose to make a really unique print of a crappy image but the results will be a crappy print. The question you have to ask yourself is what, exactly, are you trying to achieve? Do you want to run down a bunch of obscure rabbit holes because you like to run down obscure rabbit holes or are you really trying to achieve something unique?
Hence, you have to find something that works out better than the 'standard', that makes it stand out as an artwork of some value, not merely a good photo. It needs to have some unique quality that would make a buyer, viewer or judge look at it again, among the hundreds of other well-captured and well-processed photos, printed using default settings on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta or Platine Rag and placed in a typical frame.
It's like mutations in biology. Most of them don't work and are regarded as defects, but, everyone once in a while, you come across something that really works (e.g. the unusual size of the human brain) and it tends to stick.
You're relatively new around here and seem hellbent on producing non-standard prints for some reason. Are you really compelled to put HP ink in an Epson to get a better print or are you simply playing around? Do you have a real reason for printing on papers that are not designed to accept inkjet inks or are you just playing around?
Been lurking for more than 12 years, actually - just never posted anything until recently.
I sell small volumes of work only, but each one I sell tends to sell for a lot. My clients tend to be institutions more so than individuals - major hotels (sometimes converted from centuries-old palaces) wanting something for their foyer, the curators of ancient temples, forts and other buildings, private estates and galleries. Essentially, they want unique artworks, not just a good, but stock-standard photo on regular photo paper - either an original painting, an original sculpture, or a photo printed and presented in such a way that the print shop down the street can't just turn out another fifteen of them that afternoon. Often, they'll want something of local significance. Given the age and longevity of some of these buildings and institutions, and the fact that they're institutions rather than individuals with a limited lifespan and no interested relatives, they also want print longevity - something that can last in their collection on display for a very long time, at least as permanent as their oil paintings and sculptures. For this reason, many of them won't buy colour photos (some have never heard of the term 'carbon print', otherwise they might change their mind) or anything on inkjet-coated paper, or any kind of glossy print.
Don't get me wrong...I like (and admire) playing around...but it would behoove you to respect those people who can achieve a good capture, processed well and printed on a reasonably standard printer/paper combination without casting aspersions on their lack of ingenuity. Not everybody can actually get a good print of a well processed good image...can you? Care to share what it is you are trying to do with your images?
I'm trying to develop a technique that will stand out amidst a wall of 'default' inkjet prints on standard paper (e.g. by printing on ultra-thick, deckled handmade paper, or even local products such as cactus silk or papyrus), produces an image quality that is at least comparable to matte inkjet paper while printing on these media (even if it may be slower, more expensive, less convenient or require some manual tasks - things which tend to turn off commercial bulk printers) and has proven long-term longevity. I'm looking at HP colour pigments and Cone or MIS pure-carbon blacks, because of their demonstrated longevity advantage over Epson and Epson-derived inks. I'm looking at Epson print heads because Epson printers can take a much greater variety of media than HP printers, including ultra-thick papers, and because many solvent printers, whose heating systems help the printing of uncoated media, use Epson heads. And I'm looking at printing on uncoated media because they have proven long-term longevity - at this stage, we don't even know what polyvinyl-alcohol-based microporous coatings will look like in 30 years, much less 100 years. Just look at what's happening to old prints on RC paper these days - no-one had predicted it when it was first released.
As well as that, I also just like experimenting to see how I can improve things.