Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk is one of my favorite fine art photo papers of all time. Now Ilford is offering a 20% rebate on this and other Galerie papers through Dec 31. Details are here
If you print your photos from Lightroom, you may notice that with different papers, the color and tonal output varies, even if printing on the same printer.
This is because all different printer/paper/ink combinations result in varying range of colors and tones that can be accurately reproduced.
In other words, if you print the same photo from Lightroom (or any other program, for that matter) on glossy photo paper, cotton rag art paper and canvas, each print will look different.
So what’s a photographer to do?
The answer is simple, but the implementation is not: you need to make adjustments to the photo for each substrate prior to printing. Read more…
A recent question from a client:
"I’m a landscape photographer (not professional) interested in making large prints of my personal collection. They would be mainly for framing in homes. What would be the best medium to print large framed photographs? Can photos only be printed to paper, or do they look good on another medium with giclee. I would love to order some large prints of my photos."
"I do a lot of fine art printing for landscape photographers. Most prefer "photo papers" for their work; that is, papers with either a satin or gloss finish. These papers show the widest range of tones and colors and hold detail very well. These prints are typically matted and framed under glass, but can also be laminated to rigid board (ie "plaque mounting") for a different look, usually without glass. My favorite photo papers are Ilford Galerie Gold Fibre Silk (satin) and Harman FB AL (gloss).
I’ve also made a lot of fine art nature prints on canvas. On canvas, the colors don’t pop quite as much, and the blacks aren’t quite as deep as with photo papers. However, for certain images canvas really looks great. Read more…
Question from a client: When would you use PS for print with preview versus printing directly out of LR?
My answer: Re: printing from PS vs. LR – the Print with Preview in Photoshop is not the main attraction here. It’s the soft-proofing beforehand, and the ability to make adjustments specifically for that print.
If I want to make sure to get the absolute-best-possible print, I will still use Photoshop. I soft proof the file against a reference, make adjustments for the print conditions, and print directly from PS.
But this only is really beneficial for certain images, on certain papers. For example, if I am printing a photo with lots of rich, deep, saturated colors, and it’s going on matte paper, I’d want to soft-proof and make adjustments in order to retain as much quality as possible.
For most images, on photo papers with wide gamuts such as gloss or luster, the colors in the photo will fall within my printer/paper/ink’s gamut, and major adjustments aren’t necessary.
When printing from Lightroom, I might make minor adjustments based on the image, such as opening up the shadows a bit (try Fill Light and Brightness) and boosting the Saturation by +5 to +10.
As for the actual printing process itself, with the correct settings, there should be no difference in quality in PS vs. LR.
And you can also sort-proof your files and prep them as necessary, then print them from Lightroom. Lightroom’s layout capabilities make it the clear winner when you have many images to print.
These days the Epson R1900 is getting a lot of publicity and Epson is offering discounts.
One of my consulting clients sent me the following email:
“I’m interested getting up to speed with a good-quality printer at home. (Am planning to use you for higher-end printing.)Â You mentioned some new technology is coming out.Â When I see promotions like this, I figure new capability must be in the pipe soon.Â Â I generally like to buy technology at then beginning of its lifecycle. Do you have any insight”
This printer is still at the beginning of its life cycle and represents Epson’s latest efforts/improvements; I don’t expect any newer technology advances from them in at least this calendar year.
Right now Epson’s latest offerings are the addition of orange and green inks on “prosumer” models and Vivid Magenta on “professional” models.
But neither represent a huge leap forward in color reproduction.
If you’re ready to take the next steps toward more “serious” printing this would be a good solution; even better would be the R2880.
I suspect the aggressive pricing in the R1900 is in response to market threats from Canon and to a lesser degree HP. I haven’t really kept tabs on these other printers; I’m sticking with Epson for the time being.
These days I’m doing a lot of “giclee” reproductions of original fine art in a variety of media including pastels, watercolor and oils.
I’ve found that Lightroom is an ideal environment in which to work up my master images. In particular, the HSL panel is an extremely useful tool when it comes to matching colors in the original paintings.
I begin with a digital capture, either a raw image from a Canon 1Ds Mark III or a scan of a transparency (fromÂ my Epson 750M Pro). Whether working with a raw capture or a TIF scan, I’ve found that I can match colors much more easily in Lightroom than in Photoshop.
For color management on my Mac, I use a LaCie 319 display, X-Rite EyeOne and Pulse. I’ve found that I really can trust what I see in Lightroom to match the print (of course, this also involves soft-proofing for the chosen media in Photoshop prior to printing.)
If you do fine art reproductions, consider integrating Lightroom into your workflow. It’s made a world of difference in mine.
*I will be publishing a white paper on Fine Art Reproduction with Lightroom this summer… stay tuned!
I just returned from a great trip to Florida for Imaging US where I met a lot of interesting people and saw some really great new products. One that I’m really excited about is inkjet-printable metal, which I will definitely be adding to my list of available substrates. I will be posting more info about the latest photo and imaging developments soon… stay tuned!
New Fiber-Based Technology Delivers Look and Feel of Revered Darkroom Paper with the Creative Benefits Epson Ink Jet Printers Offer in Both Color and Black-and-White
Press Release: LONG BEACH, Calif. â€“ Oct. 8, 2007 â€“ Epson America Inc. today announced what many professional photographers are saying is the perfect blend of revered darkroom papers with the limitless creative control of ink jet printing with the introduction of its Signature Worthyâ„¢ Exhibition Fiber Paper. The paper will be available in 25-sheet packages of 8.5â€x 11,â€ 13â€x 19,â€ 17â€x 22,â€ and 24â€x 30â€ cut sheets.
Many people ask about soft-proofing in Lightroom. The simple answer: there isn’t any. At least not yet.
However, Lightroom is a color-managed application. So if your monitor is properly calibrated, you can trust what you see on screen – that is, until you need to preview the printed output for a specific printer/paper combination.
For this, you still need to go into Photoshop. My workflow:
1. Perfect the image as much as possible in Lightroom
2. Select the “Edit in photoshop CS3…” command from the Photo menu.
3. In Photoshop, perform sharpening, soft-proofing and make any necessary adjustments for print.
You can then either print the image from Photoshop or go back into Lightroom for printing.
Tip: when youâ€™re done editing the file in Photoshop, make sure to use the Saveâ€¦ command and not Save Asâ€¦ This will update the linked file in the Lightroom database.
1. Capture – digital camera (or film scan)
- For D-SLR, capture in RAW if possible
- If capturing JPG be sure quality, color space and white balance settings are optimal
- Ensure correct exposure and focus – bracket as necessary
2. Ingest – transfer files to computer
- Automate as much as possible
- Adobe Lightroom, Photo Downloader, Bridge etc.
- Rename files on ingestion
- Convert Camera RAW files to Adobe DNG (optional but highly recommended)
- Make a backup immediately
- Reformat card in the camera after confirming transfer and backup
3. Add Metadata
- During ingestion if possible; enhance during editing
- Copyright notice and keywords at minimum
- Camera RAW files will use sidecar files for metadata
- DNG, JPG, PSD and TIF metadata is embedded in the file
- Lightroom, Bridge, Expression Media, iView Media Pro, Elements Organizer
- Sort and compare
- Flagging, Rating, Labeling etc.
- Enhance custom metadata as appropriate
- Make Collections
5. Process Selects
- RAW/DNG converter – do as much processing as possible before conversion
- For JPG originals: Save As PSD before working on the file (never resave over a JPG)
- save Master File (TIF or PSD) at native resolution
6. Work the Master File
- Work on file at native resolution – no resampling until print time
- Crop (if necessary)
- Capture sharpen
- Adjustment Layers: Levels, Curves, Hue & Saturation etc.
- Dodge and burn
- Creative sharpening
7. Prepare for Printing
- Soft-proof and make adjustments – save in Master file
- Resize for print
- Sharpen for Print
- Print from Photoshop or Lightroom with color management disabled in printer driver
- Photoshop (or Lightroom) Manages Color; use the same rendering intent used during soft-proofing
- Use correct ICC profile for selected printer/paper combination
- View finished prints in controlled lighting conditions – SoLux bulbs
- Apply protective coating – PremierArt Print Shield
- For canvas prints apply Breathing Color Glamour II Giclee Veneer
- Store prints in poly bags
- Keep out of direct sunlight
- Generate slideshows and web galleries using Lightroom or Bridge
10. Backup and Archive
- Keep multiple copies; store permanent archives offsite
- Backups are routinely updated (synchronized); archives are permanent
Recently I was able to make a beautiful enlargement to 40×60 inches from an 8.3 MP capture from a Canon 30D using the following method. (Actually, I cropped the image in Lightroom, so I started with a file with an even smaller native resolution of 3128×2085.)
Using color management is a critical element of getting your digital photos from capture through print. If you want your prints to look their best you should establish and follow a color-managed workflow.
Color management refers to a system of computer hardware and software working together to translate color from one device to another in a controlled way.
A digital image file contains a defined range of colors, described mathematically. In Photoshop, this is referred to as the fileâ€™s Working Space. The most common working spaces are sRGB, Adobe RGB (1998) and ProPhoto (I prefer the latter). Read more…
When soft proofing an image, it’s best to use a black background to surround both your working file and your reference image. In Photoshop, the only way to do this is to change the color of your desktop to black, and use the standard window mode to position your work and reference images side by side.
If you want to make a test print of an image to check color, sharpness etc. it’s often best to do it at full size. Instead of printing a reduced size version of the entire image, find an area that represents the critical elements of the picture, and crop the image to just that area to make your test print.
Picking the correct Rendering Intent for soft proofing and printing isn’t difficult if you remember these two points:
1. If you care most about maintaining the color relationships in the picture, use Perceptual.
2. If you care most about maintaining the tonal relationships (dark-light), use Relative Colorimetric.
Important Note: if you are using custom printer profiles, you should use separate profiles for Perceptual and Relative Colorimetric rendering intents.