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Thread: Printing: Where to start?!

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    Printing: Where to start?!

    hi,

    I have been taking, mainly rock climbing, photos for the last 4-5 years and currently use a 40d with a 17-85mm (and a Tamron 70-200) and also an S90. I'm happy enough with some of my shots but I get the feeling I'm missing some important details regarding processing to get the most out of them. Until recently I have 'displayed' almost all of my photos on the web, processing on a lap top using Lightroom, happily cranking the sliders till I like what I see but recently I have had a couple of photos in a magazine (luckily they looked ok!!) and I also have requests for prints.

    I have read the awesome tutorials on CIC but still seem to have more questions than answers!! I think one of the issues is applying the theory of the tutorials to my specific hard/software.

    So specifically please can I have some advice about how to get from a 40d RAW to a magazine CMYK jpeg using Lightroom and/or CS5?

    And regarding prints....... oh dear, I have so many questions ANY advice about where to start would be gratefully received!!

    rob

    Printing: Where to start?!
    Photo for 'Climb' (lots of space for the editor to write in!)

    Printing: Where to start?!
    ...for a wall

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    Jo Brown's Avatar
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    Re: Printing: Where to start?!

    Hi Rob

    If I can give you any help on prints, I am happy to do that. I operate a small photo printing business using inkjet printers. Just give me some idea of what you would like to know.

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    Re: Printing: Where to start?!

    Jo

    Thanks for the reply.

    What format do most people supply their photos to you for printing?

    Do they specify what colour space their photos are saved as or do you advise what is best for your printers??

    Does a printer profile alter the way a photo looks on screen, desaturating for example, so that changes can be made on screen to make allowance for how it prints?

    is this worth worrying about considering my camera/lenses/uncalibrated lap top screen?? or should I just try more sRGB JPEGs and see how they look??

    thanks
    rob

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    Re: Printing: Where to start?!

    Hi Rob,

    What format do most people supply their photos to you for printing? I ask that images are in tif format - 8 bit or 16 bit, it doesn't matter.

    Do they specify what colour space their photos are saved as or do you advise what is best for your printers?? I prefer Adobe RGB (1998). For our own images I use Pro Photo RGB - so that would work too - or sRGB for that matter.

    Does a printer profile alter the way a photo looks on screen, desaturating for example, so that changes can be made on screen to make allowance for how it prints? My whole system is colour managed - my monitor and every type of media I use is colour profiled by my printer. So I am confident I know how the print will look. As well, I soft proof every image to the specific media being used before printing.

    is this worth worrying about considering my camera/lenses/uncalibrated lap top screen?? or should I just try more sRGB JPEGs and see how they look?? Go ahead and try it - see how it works out. If you are happy with the results great! If you want to enlarge your images to any substantial degree, I recommend shooting in RAW and then editing as a psd or tif.

    A tip about what type of media to use: Glossy and satin have the largest colour space - easiest to get good results on those types of paper. Matte can be tricky as the colourspace is smaller - and the ink tends to bleed a bit (called 'dot gain') - so if you have a lot of black or shadows in the image it can look muddy.

    I hope this has helped somewhat. Good luck!
    Last edited by Jo Brown; 13th April 2011 at 03:29 PM. Reason: typo

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    Re: Printing: Where to start?!

    Helped a bit!

    Why are printer profiles required at all? If you have one of a known range of colours displayed on a calibrated screen then can a printer not reproduce it?

    I always shoot in RAW and edit using Lightroom then export to JPEG but make no changes to the JPEG after that. I'm assuming thats almost as good as using TIFFs??

    cheers

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    Re: Printing: Where to start?!

    Printer profiles are the way for the printer to translate the colours in the file as accurately as possible. The profiles are an integral part of a colour management system. I'm not sure whether you have an inkjet printer you would like to use or not. If so, here is what I recommend you do. Use photo paper that the manufacturer of your printer recommends for that model. I think that these days most printer manufacturers provide generic profiles for their printer models for each type of photo paper on their website for you to download (for free). They also usually tell you how to install them. It is all about getting the colours you expect.

    JPEGs are designed to be space savers - ie smaller files. To do that the data is compressed and the extra information is thrown out - called lossy compression. Every time you make changes to a jpeg file, some data is lost. TIFFs on the other hand are large files and when there is any compression at all, no data is thrown out - called lossless compression. Even though you don't make any changes to your jpegs after processing (which actually you need to - ie soft proofing and final output sharpening) - the very act of creating the jpeg will result in compression and lost data.

    There is another consideration as well - and that is resolution. Epson printers want files to be at 360 ppi, Canon and HP want 300 ppi. Just fyi in case you weren't aware of that.

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    Re: Printing: Where to start?!

    of course the paper!!!! so the printer has to vary the ink to produce a specific coulour depending on the paper. So unless I have printer profiles dont matter?

    And soft proofing is where the image on the screen is altered to take in to account the printing process? So when the magazine advised me that the "Image - Mode" in CS5 was changed from RGB to CMYK I was in fact soft proofing the photo?

    I get the JPEG TIFF compression thing (LR exports to CS5 using TIFF).

    resolution............ so if i want a 5" high print from a Canon printer the [tiff] file will have to be 1500 pixels high and will need output sharpening (of some kind) after compression?

    thanks for your patience Jo

    any one else? please feel free to jump in!!

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    Re: Printing: Where to start?!

    How much time, effort and money you invest in prints I suppose depends on what you want to do with them. If you wish to sell prints of your work, then you might want to consider wading into the practice of printer/paper profiling.

    RGB to CMYK - colour space conversion. - rather than soft proofing. CMYK is used by the publishing industry. There are likely people on the forum who know more about that than I do. Anyone out there??

    Soft proofing - I'll give a shot at explaining the process. Your image is where you are happy with it in terms of post-processing. [Save a copy of your final image specifically for the purposes of soft proofing] In Photoshop - Image>duplicate image. Window>Arrange>Tile. Okay - so now you can see two of your image on your monitor. On your original image: View>Proof setup>custom - okay here is where the printer/paper profile comes in. Device to simulate - choose your printer and the paper profile. Rendering intent: usually either relative colorimetric or perceptual - switch back and forth to see what you like best. Then choose OK.

    Now your original file is going to look like it will print (it's not 100% accurate but in my experience very, very close to it). Then you compare it with the duplicate (which you remember is the way you want the print to turn out) still visible on your screen. Make adjustments to the original so that it looks like the duplicate - usually some colour adjusting and contrast adjusting. SAVE the one you have made adjustments to. This will become your PRINT file.

    Resolution: pixel dimensions are determined by your camera sensor size. Check: Image>image size - then resolution amount. If it is not 300ppi you will need to change is so that it is prior to sending it to the printer. To do that, UNcheck the Resample Image checkbox - and then insert the proper Resolution amount in the Resolution box in the Document Size section. Click okay.

    Upsizing is a whole other story.

    Three times to sharpen an image: capture sharpening (what you do in Lightroom), creative sharpening (after resampling up or down; or sharpening parts of your image to get a look you want), and output sharpening after all other adjustments have been made.

    Rob there is lots of information out there on all of this stuff - described more clearly I am sure than I have done it.

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