The professional term for ensuring colour prints look their best, is colour management. Colour management involves different steps, but the most important one is to use a colour profile per paper you intend to use.
Most inkjet photo printers come with the ability to print your photographs using the printer’s built-in settings. These settings are hard-coded in the printer’s firmware, and they often produce very nice results if you don’t mind getting results that are nice, but not the best your printer and paper is capable of.
In order to get the best performance out of a printer, you need to allow the image editing (or DTP) application to decide how the colours will look. Programs like Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, and their siblings like Photoshop Elements and iPhoto, all enable you to set up a colour management workflow.
Setting one up is usually a simple affair, but if you have doubts, there are a few simple guidelines that will put you in pole position. The first is to choose AdobeRGB as your working colour space. If you don’t have AdobeRGB, then use another large enough colour space. sRGB and your monitor’s colour...