Monday, May 28, 2012

The issue with printing

Ever wonder why professional photographers make such a big deal about prints?  Why do they get their knickers in a knot when you go to the local quick 10c place to print off their images?  Well, here goes, lets see if I can explain it. 

This image looks fine, right?  The problem is, it does not print the way it looks on the screen.

When we prepare an image for printing, we decide on which paper we will use.  The type of printer and the paper used have a profile. (You get a file that has the profile.)  Once we have decided, we load the profile to check for colours that are out of gamut, that is, in simple terms, colours that won’t be replicated correctly on paper with the detail we see it on screen.  This is called “soft proofing".  The screen shot below is the soft proof for the image on Chromajet Metallic White paper.  As you can see, the overall colour is slightly different to the image above.  All those red bits, those are the areas that Lightroom indicates will look terrible in the print and needs to be fixed.  (In Photoshop those areas are indicated in grey.)

After the fix, the file looks like this.

After Before

The difference on screen is slight, but HUGE in printing.  THAT is why we take so long to get those prints to you.  We want it to be perfect.  And we cannot guarantee perfect at the supermarket…

(The gorgeous outfit and hairband is from Fairy Dance, Melbourne.)

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