Someday your Prints will come.

When you have a great image and want to share it what if you have a parent or relative who does not have the internet or you would just like a print of your work, is it easier or harder than it used to be? There are a lot of choices for making prints. A number of local one hour printers from the chain drugstore to big box shops like Costco and Sam's Club are out there. Some make it easy with computer setups that you just have to put your camera card in and with some minor corrections and cropping you are done.

But if you like to use Photoshop and Photoshop Elements (why else would you buy them?) what happens if you work on an image or a group of images and now want prints. There are a number of horror stories about lousy prints or bad color and while many of these stories are true but they don't have to be.

First and foremost you should check if your monitor is giving you good color. I will cover this in some future post in more detail to talk about calibration vs the 80% method.

For now lets say you got a good system and want some prints. You don't want to use your desktop printer but a local lab. If you haven't done a lot to the image in the way of color correction or major cropping you can just save the file as a jpeg and take it right to the lab. It is almost the same as the camera's image. Even if you have done some cloning or added text the size of the image is the same.

If you have worked on a number of images and want to have a lot of prints there are few things to keep in mind. First local labs can only print Jpeg images. This means you will have to save the images to a disk or jump drive. I like to use the Save for Web under File for making the copies into a new folder on the desktop. This will save the image and convert it to the right color space for jpeg. You should be saving them at the maximum or highest jpeg setting with the least amount of compression. It may seem strange but the highest quality setting is 12.

If you are planning on cropping try to not to crop too much or if you have to then do not expect Photoshop to save you in making larger prints. Cropping reduces the number of pixels in an image so enlarging too much will give you pixelation. That jagged edge look from pixels being stretched to their limit.

Lastly, since many of the local printer are not professional labs if you have a problem with a image do not be afraid to ask them to reprint it, FOR FREE. Sometime they will make a mistake with the chemicals or paper and try to hope you would not notice. It is cheaper for them to reprint than refund.


Bill G.

The Digital Fieldguild to Photography and Photoshop

10+ hours
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