Printing 4x6 Photos from Linux on an HP Photosmart C309a

My HP Photosmart C309a is a pretty cool printer, as long as you don't mind the way it insists on spending the better part of a minute making printing noises before and after every print job. And HP even provides Linux support! (Search for "hplip" if you don't have it.)

But when I tried to print a sample photo on the supplied 4x6 photo paper, I nearly tore out all my hair. No matter what I did, I got an error message (either "Paper type mismatch" or "Paper size mismatch"; unfortunately I can't reproduce it at the moment.)

To save others from the same pain, here's how I finally got a photo to print correctly (well, semi-correctly).

  1. Using your favorite software (i.e., gimp), resize your photo so that it has the correct aspect ratio for your paper AND it is exactly 300 DPI. For 4x6, that means 1200x1800 or vice versa. Save it in a scratch JPEG file.
  2. Bring up hp-print (it's part of the hplip package) on the saved JPEG.
  3. Carefully go through all the option menus. Select the photo tray, turn off duplexing, select photo paper, high-resolution photo mode, color printing, etc. Be sure to turn off "Fit to page" in the "Image Printing" menu. Then print your picture.
  4. After your picture prints, bring up your favorite CUPS administration tool (I like browsing to http://localhost:631) and reset the defaults for the printer, because hp-print most unhelpfully has changed everything to the photo settings. That is, of course, unless you want your next text document to print from the photo tray...

The bug in all of the above: I have yet to get borderless printing to work. Of course, I can't get it to work from my wife's Macintosh, either. So maybe it's just a lie. I do know that borderless printing only works on photo paper, but that's the stuff I was using...

This page is maintained by Geoff Kuenning.