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Printing - Notes from June 12

Some thoughts on printing your photographs.

First thought – When you compose the picture in your camera, leave enough image around the picture so you can crop to the correct composition, unless you are expert at composing perfectly in the camera. Every crop reduces sharpness somewhat. However, most modern cameras have enough pixels to allow some cropping without a major loss of quality.

Second - Decide what size you intend to print your picture. You can set some cameras to take pictures with different aspect ratios, so if you plan to print certain size prints, set your camera accordingly. Oh yes, that brings up the question, What is an aspect ratio?

Third – Aspect ratios are the relationship between a picture’s horizontal and it’s vertical dimensions. For example:

Ratio 1:1
Multiplier1
Print sizes, 5X5, 8X8, 10X10

Ratio 6:5
Multiplier1.2
Print sizes, 20X24

Ratio 5:4
Multiplier1.25
Print sizes, 4X5, 8X10

Multiplier 1.27
Print Sizes, 11X14

Multiplier 1.3
Print sizes, 10X13

Ratio 7:5
Multiplier 1.4
Print sizes, 2.5X3.5

Multiplier 1.43
Print sizes, 3.5X5

Ratio 3:2
Multiplier 1.5
Prints sizes, 4X6, 6X9, 8X12, 10X15, 12X18, 16X24, 20X30, 24X30
Ratio 2:1
Multiplier 2
Print sizes 10X20, 15X30

Ratio 3:3
Multiplier 3
Print sizes 5X15, 10X30


When you crop the picture in Photoshop or whatever SW you use, always make sure you keep the ratio correct for your intended frame or mat opening. (Note that if you have a picture that just has to be at one aspect ratio and your frame is another ratio, you can use a custom mat to make them work together. But your mat will either have wider horizontal areas than vertical or vice versa. That is not necessarily a bad thing.)

Fourth thought – you need to have enough pixels for the size print you want. Having 200 – 300 PPI (pixels per inch) is usually enough. But, if the print will be viewed from far away, you can get by with less PPI. Normally, a print shop will tell you if your file has enough resolution for the size you want to print.

Fifth – It is important to understand the relationship between a photo shown on your monitor and what it will look like after it’s printed. When a monitor is viewed on the computer it is back lit and will appear brighter than a printed picture of the same gamma (brightness). Our sponsor, McAlister Photo, has provided a file that you can use to determine whether your monitor shows pictures correctly. If you get a print of the picture and hold it next to your monitor you can see the differences. If your monitor can be adjusted, you can adjust it to match the print.

Sixth – The appearance of a photo is affected by the paper that it is printed on. If you print at home, be sure your paper is correct for your printer. You can print on art papers designed for your printer, be always test before you need a print. Professionals actually obtain color profiles from the paper manufacturers and load them in their system to get the best quality. The profile tells the printer how much ink is needed to attain standard color values.

Seventh – Photos printed on printers that use dye based inks are not as durable over time as photos printed with pigment based inks.

Eighth – You can use a neutral gray card in pictures to remove color cast. You place a color card in the corner of a photo where it can be cropped out. Then you use that spot to remove color cast in your processing software. Be sure the card is being lit from the same source as the rest of your picture. You may be able to set your camera’s white balance using such a card before taking any pictures.

Ninth – For the best color rendition, you should use software that provides color management capabilities. The Adobe family, Lightroom, Photoshop, and Elements are good at that. I don’t believe Picasa, etc. can do it.

Tenth – Remember that when print shops print pictures in high speed mode, 4X6 and 5X7 , they set their machines to make the file slightly larger than the paper to ensure that no white shows on the edges. This could adversely affect any text or borders that you put on the edges of your pictures.

Eleventh – Pictures with a lot of dark areas use more ink than lighter ones and can result in thin papers getting wet and wavy.

Twelfth – Sometimes a second opinion before printing reveals fixable flaws.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Landscape Photography Tips June 11, 2016 1:01 PM Bob from D.
Tips for the Orchid Shoot February 9, 2016 4:22 PM Bob from D.
Making a DIY Light Box February 9, 2015 10:42 AM Bob from D.
How To Frame Your own Prints January 25, 2015 11:23 AM Ken C.
How to get the most out of Lightroom March 30, 2015 1:00 PM Ken C.
Lighthouse Agenda as of 27 June June 27, 2014 11:17 AM Bob from D.
Using a tripod to get sharp pictures December 2, 2011 1:31 PM Bob from D.
Wild Lights (Zoo) Tips December 5, 2014 2:07 PM Bob from D.
Is it sharp enough to print? (For Oct 21 meeting) October 8, 2015 12:14 PM GLLong
SCAVENGER HUNT October 3, 2011 12:45 PM Bob from D.
Printing - Notes from June 12 July 19, 2011 12:50 PM Bob from D.
Definitions used by the group March 26, 2011 10:21 AM Bob from D.

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