Why bluetooth photos don't print like you think they should

natural hp sprocket bluetooth photos no problem areas

I had a large-ass review on HP’s Photo Paper on Amazon detailing tips and an explanation why those Bluetooth photos don’t print like you think they should. “I spent all that money!” I’ve heard, but honestly, if you want quality, a mini little printer like this isn’t going to give you that. It’s a wonder it works at all if you think about it. My review got deleted due to an Amazon hiccup, so today I’m going to put everything I remember here for the world to see. This isn’t just for HP Sprocket, this is for anyone who owns a portable Bluetooth photo printer.

CMYK vs RGB

First things first, the colors we see on our phones are RGB, but the Bluetooth printers print with CMYK colors. These are two completely different color schemes. Let’s separate the two color schemes from the phone and the printer, and let’s just talk about them alone. Whenever I’m in Procreate or Photoshop and let’s say I take some of my favorite RGB color palettes and try to use them on my CMYK-specific canvas. Those RGB colors don’t look the same at all. Instead, CMYK tends to dilute if not sometimes distort them.

When working with canvases RGB needs to be with RGB, and CMYK needs to be with CMYK.

Most artists who design for print, they design with CMYK color palettes in mind. Any time they want to design for the web, for social media, etc. they need to make a whole new canvas that’s RGB specific.

RGB printing does not exist. All printers are made to print in CMYK. 

So at the end of the day, it’s not the manufacturer's fault, it’s not the photo paper's fault, it’s not your fault or the printer's fault. It’s no one fault. The messaging isn’t clear, and we are expecting too much perfection for something so tiny!

sprocket photos example


How to counteract printing issues

It really depends on what your issues are. For example, if your images are coming out too warm you’re going to want to make them appear less warm. You do this by adding a blue tint to them before you print. 

I wouldn’t recommend editing within the Bluetooth printers app. What I would recommend is using photo editing apps like VSCO (free & simple) or Lightroom (free & advanced) to get the desired effect. I used to use VSCO a lot prior to 2019 and got decent results. I had my sprocket since 2017. I would use the filter A5 at +5, and then adjust saturation and exposure until it looked brighter and more saturated so that it wouldn't dilute when printer.

how to edit photos for print for the hp sprocket via vsco

And remember because it's a Bluetooth printer, the colors will never be exact, but they can be good enough.

If the colors are too dull, you’ll want to add more saturation and vibrance when you’re photo editing. 

sprocket photos from prior to 2019 that needed to be edited through vsco to print correctly

If there are any other issues, sometimes all you need to do is recalibrate it. You do this by running one of the blue cards that come in the photo paper packs through the printer again. It usually solves any and all of my problems.

Keep your app & printer software up to date, it will also help mitigate issues. 

These mainly cover the main problems I’ve seen with Bluetooth printers, if you have any others definitely let me know in the comments below. I’ll try to help you as best as possible.


To be honest with you,

Ever since I got my OnePlus 6t, I've never had a problem with my photos printing wonky in color. I've had my HP Sprocket turn off on me midway even with full power, and I honestly blame whatever system firmware it was on at the time. 
@dreamlikediana Polaroid cameras are cute&all but I prefer a Bluetooth printer; print anything anywhere. #plannerinspiration #plannergirl #summerphotos #diy #imbored ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依
I've had my phone for almost 4 years now. It's true, I do edit all my photos in Lightroom, but I usually edit them to be brighter, warmer, and occasionally I opt for the "white aesthetic" type vibe. Nonetheless, I still don't have the problems I used to have with my photos. That being said, it's not perfect, but it's good enough for me!

12 different sprocket photos from 2021

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~Diana

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