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!
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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.
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.
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.
- 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