Print It – Creating An Impact With Your Images
by brentmail | Last updated Feb 16, 2022
Learn how to print your images for impact…
Nothing creates an impact like seeing your own images printed and hanging on the wall. There are so many digital images being taken every day – millions of them. But so few are actually printed. Printing really does become the final part of the photographic process. This quote sums it up – “It’s not a picture until it’s printed”.
Once printed your images will have a lasting impact for years to come. Show them with pride. Whether hanging on your wall or by gifting it to someone else, so they can proudly hang it on theirs.
Which photo’s should I print?
It is challenging to decide what to print, sorting through the variables of printing – where to print, what paper to choose, how to prepare for print etc. Start by choosing something you are really happy with, something you can hang with pride.
Tips for preparing your images for print
- Choose your best image or collection from your archives. Choose something that has an emotional impact and tells a story.
- Check your settings in Lightroom, check your histogram to ensure it is properly exposed, before exporting and printing. Make sure the blacks are not crushed or the highlights over-exposed. Look for a fairly even histogram.
- Now export your image. We recommend you export as a full resolution JPEG image. You can use 80-90% quality and either sRGB or even Adobe RGB for your color space (check with your printer what they prefer). You can sharpen, perhaps choose Matte Paper. Again check with your printer, as sharpening can lead to grain in shadows etc.
- Choose and print with a single print lab. Often small print labs, offer a better service, but large print labs can do a great job too. By sticking with the same print lab, you can change your settings easily (If required) rather than changing labs. They will have the same paper, settings and machines, so you can learn quickly to work in with them.
- Start with a few small test prints, say 4”x6” or 5”x7”. Now review your test prints in good light.
- Review your prints, remember that the images on your computer are backlit, whereas printed images are reflected light. Check for colour cast and adjust your white balance, if required. Have you lost details in the shadows or highlights? Are there other things that need to be altered or changed?
- Now export and re-print. This may take a few tries until your printed image looks really good.
- You can try taking a photo of your printed image under soft light and compare it against the original in Lightroom.
How can you make more artistic choices for prints?
Once you have the settings just how you want them, you can then experiment with different paper types. Talk to your printer. There are so many different options. There is satin, gloss, metallic, rag cotton and so many more. Each has a different look and feel to them. Some suit different images in different ways.
Now check against the digital version
Once printed, check against your digital version. Are they similar, doesn’t it need some more adjustment? You may need to print your image a few times to get it just right.
Photo BootCamp Magazine
Let’s take a look at what our BootCamp members have creatively printed for this month’s challenge.
And be sure to check out how you can join BootCamp at the end of the magazine!
Below is a small sample of what’s in this magazine…
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Inside BootCamp Magazine
Let’s take a look at this month’s magazine. Here is our featured artist of the month, Craig Mattner, from Australia
Here is a photo he took of a Lava Heron. He took dozens of this bird and then it hopped down off the lava rock and started to take a purposeful walk. Craig felt fortunate indeed to have captured this image. It is certainly one of his favourites, so this printing challenge was an opportunity to see how well a print could replicate the digital image. He ended up doing three prints. Each print was printed on photographic paper 11″ x 14″ with some white edge guillotined off the top and bottom of the print.
Comment: Kerrie Clarke – “Great image of the Heron, and really nicely presented, Craig! In my eye, print 3 looks best, though if matching the digital is what you’re wanting, it could be warmed up a tad, and perhaps some brightening of the eye. Nice work!”
This month’s featured magazine cover image is by Jeff Reese from the United States.
Can’t recall the camera settings however he used 60mm micro lens on a 4/3 sensor camera and natural light through a window. Jeff just joined Boot Camp so this is his first challenge. He wish he had started a year ago then he would have had better photos to start with. This is a photo that he liked but has fundamental flaws. This photo is the result of a stack of several jpg images that he thought looked ok. He did not pay much attention to the histogram, just developed based on the look on his screen. His screen was not calibrated at the time however he have since calibrated the screen with x-rite calibration tools. The lesson he learned, watch and use the histogram when shooting and developing.
Comment: Richard Hutson – “Jeff, I like the image you’ve created as it fills the square frame with nicely lit complementary colors. However, the prints are quite washed-out in comparison. I wonder why you are stacking jpg images when RAW would provide a wider range of possibilities.”
Let’s take a look at some of the awesome prints our BootCamp members‘ created this month.
We’ll start with Jenine Tracey from Australia. In 2020, they went to Tasmania and she took this photo of Dove Lake on Cradle Mountain. Jenine have seen so many photos of this area that couldn’t wait to take her own, and hopefully put it on a wall in their house. Unfortunately, the print looks a bit washed out and lacks vibrancy so as soon as she is mobile again, she will make another attempt at getting it printed. This was her first attempt at post processing so she took it to the printer as SRGB, 2000 pixels, and custom size so she can’t blame the printer. This is her second submission so she tried to get away from dog photos. The second photo is the print.
Comment: Greg Skehan – “Hi Jenine. You have captured the tranquility of Cradle Mountain and Dove lake perfectly with your original photo. It really is a special place, to either rest for a while or part of a trek further towards the high country. It is a pity the washed out actual printed photo does not adequately show how beautiful the scene is. I hope that you get to find a better printer to do justice to your original image.”
Next, we have Laura Griffiths from South Africa. Long story but her daughter-in-law’s request as she loves things ‘lunar’. She converted the colour into B/W as her daughter is ‘the monochrome queen of the family’. Her daughter wanted only an A4 size but a portrait. This has led to confusion between her and the printer as she cropped it how she wanted it, but then sent the full resolution image to the printer. This must have then meant that it went back to full size and although she had specified the dimensions clearly in her export file in Lr. She then uploaded it to her website from where she was able to send a link to the printer to access the full resolution file. So a learning curve for her as it was printed as Landscape. Laura now know she had to do a crop differently in terms of communications. Another step she took was to ask for a sample in canvas but did not get a sample on the paper version. She told them to go ahead and print the final on the paper. As you will see the print is darker than the digital, losing detail on the mountainside rocks. However, the detail is visible on the print, just a bit too dark. Also the sky came out darker. So now the question is whether to do a reprint on the paper and do it lighter. She would love a formula as to how many stops to lighten the digital in order to get it right with the print!! Also, the print was done on a different machine. However, her experiment with the canvas proved fruitful, even though with a negative outcome. Frankly, it looks like a grey sludge in comparison with the paper print and not only does it lack detail, sharpness, etc, it is an awful colour.
Comment: Peter Brody – “Laura, this shows me that you need to communicate every detail to the person doing the printing. There is so much detail in the moon and mountain lost in the lower photo.”
Peter Brody from the United States is next. This was a photo he took on his safari to Africa in 2012. Peter loved the posing of the four zebras. The first view is from his computer. The second is the photo of the print. Peter likes the tones better that were created by the printer, but the printer cropped the tips off the ears on the top of the photo and the hooves on the bottom. He can’t figure out why. He wished anyone would help him. If this would be an adjustment he had to make physically on his Epsom P 700 printer. He submitted this right after his previous submission to see if anyone could help him. Please note that on the left and right side of St. Basil’s Cathedral the sides are cropped there, too. Not sop much on the top and bottom.
Comment: Sig Rannem – “Hi Peter, I am surprised and puzzled by the cropping done by the printer in this case. Have you checked with Epson regarding this? The only time I see anything similar is if I print an image in borderless layout and the aspect ratio of the digital image is not the same as that of the photo paper. However, in that case, the cropping (although only on the sides or top and bottom – not both directions at the same time) makes perfect sense. As a result, I print my images in bordered full layout. In any case, it certainly is a great image you have submitted here!”
Richard Hutson from the United States is next. For the “Print” challenge using a black & white image instead of color. What he learned is that the original black & white image required less adjustment to get a suitable image for printing. The color image required separate adjustments for various elements in the image, whereas the black & white image only required an overall adjustment. Richard doesn’t know if that will hold true for every image, but this is where he started his journey into the world of making “photographs”. The ‘Fisherman at Bay Bridge’ was shot with his Leica Q2M on a cloudy overcast morning last month. The original digital image is on the top the edit for printing in the center, and the photo of the print on the bottom. The actual print has much more detail than seen in the photo of the print. He’s not sure what happened there.
Comment: Greg Skehan – “Hi Richard. This is a stunning image. The vast iconic bridge in the background and the single fisherman with his backpack, floppy hat, and fishing rod in the foreground really complement each other. The black and white choice really emphasizes details that I think would be overlooked if it was in colour. I think that there are a few details lost in the final print but overall it is a very good result. I would be really pleased if my print had turned out as well as this has.”
Next is Sara O’Brien from the United States. So, she finally got her prints from the printer-not so local. The only local one is a drug store and they do not print over 4×6. Sara was not willing to use them as most of what she print and want to print is larger. The top one is the 8×8 inch Giclee finish on Fine Art Photographic paper, the middle is the digital image and the bottom is a 5×5 inch print on metallic paper. Sara loves this print and she honestly can’t get too upset by the differences in the papers vs. the digital file. It all depends on her mood at the time. She has not been able to get the ambient light as she hasn’t brought the prints to work when the sun is up, but the time she gets home she has to have the lights on in the house.
Comment: Jeff Reese – “Sara, I am partial to the first print. Even though it is black and white I like the color and feel much better than the digital file. I would love to have this 8×8 print hanging on my wall. Well done.”
And then we have Nick Ellis from the Australia. Nick took this from his wife’s “To Print” folder on the PC. Lake Yarrunga early one morning. It’s one of those really still mornings with a bit of mist over the water. Magic, taken on 30 March 2013 on a Dad and Son camping trip. Unfortunately, he took this as a JPG (not sure why) and not a raw image so haven’t been able to extract much from the shadows. Nick went the Officeworks route as the local printer was closed for Christmas/new year’s break. He thought he’ll see the pro printer in the next couple of weeks. He did also crop a tad off the bottom.
Comment: Jeff Reese – “Nick, I personally like number two the best although this print doesn’t appear to be quite as sharp as the original. I love the feeling I get when I view this photo, great work.”
Next we have Maureen Choby from the United States. Maureen is new to this group and trying to find her way around. She decided to jump into this challenge on printing. Her first photo is the original and next to the print. She saw the video from the zoom meeting and discovered she is not alone with the dark prints. She did a color balance as suggested and went up a bit with the exposure slider. It does help. She is looking forward to meeting some of you at the next zoom.
Comment: Kerrie Clarke – “Hi Maureen, your adjustments to the original have made for a great print of a lovely image. Nicely done.”
- Nothing creates an impact like seeing your images printed and hanging on a wall
- Print your images and show them with pride
- Gift your printed images to someone else, so they can hang in with pride
- Try different types of paper, satin, gloss, metallic etc
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Please leave me a comment below – I’d love to know what you think. Brent
Thanks for such a great challenge Brent, I think many of us learnt a great deal from this. One of the main things which seemed to turn up was that prints often turn out darker than we hope.
I am happy to say that after a revisit to the printer and a new print, I was very happy with the detail which was so much improved on the second print but it came from my side, re-editing my digital to counter what I didn’t like about the first print as well as getting them to do the portrait crop as originally requested. I have to find a way around this but in the end I am very happy with the outcome.
Thanks for your comment Laura – yes it takes a few trips to your local printer to get it all dialled in right. Brent
Congratulations to Craig Mattner, for being selected as the featured artist and to Jeff Reese for your wonderful cover print. Well done. Brent
do not know what my password is?
Hi Wayne is that for BootCamp or to leave a comment here? If BootCamp then get hold of [email protected]