Reading_PhotoDigitalPrinting

Looking for great books on digital printing? Browse this collection of my favorites.

From state-of-the-art inkjet pure and simple to hybrids that incorporate historic processes, these books cover a wide range of topics, offering a wealth of valuable information.

Enjoy!

Find more great books here.

AestheticsOfPrintPDF

Half of the battle is knowing how to do something. The other half is knowing what to do. When it comes to making fine photographic prints, the road has been well mapped by our predecessors. One of the best ways to educate yourself about great print quality is to look at a number of great prints (directly rather than through reproduction). And, to keep on looking. Education, or enrichment, is a dynamic, evolving, lifelong process. Every time you look, sensitively with awareness, your vision grows. There’s always something more to learn.

A combination of elements (and their relationships to one another) is often evaluated when assessing print quality. Speaking very broadly, you could say, it’s all about believably reproducing detail. Focus, depth of field, high dynamic range, tonality, color balance, elimination of process artifacts all play a role. So do the selection of appropriate materials, scale, presentation and contextualization. There’s a lot more to it than you might think at first and though there are no hard and fast rules there are conventions everyone should be mindful of. There’s also a lot of room for creativity.

All of this is expanded and detailed in this free PDF – The Aesthetics Of Print.

Subscribe to Insights enews and download it free.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Why Make Prints ?

October 22, 2013 | Leave a Comment |

WhyMakePrints

This is an excerpt from my article on Digital Photo Pro.

Why Make Prints ?

Making prints does so many things for your images. How many things? Let me count the ways …

They’re …

Sensual

Prints enhance your images with material qualities and the associations they bring with them.

Sizeable

Prints define the scale of your images.

Durable

Historically, it’s the images that were printed that survived.

Salable

Because they’re physical, prints are easily bought and sold.

Exclusive

Images in print are more rare, as well as less accessible.

Presentable

Prints encourage images to be viewed in different ways.

What Making Prints Can Do For You

When you make a print, you consider your images more carefully for a longer period of time and often multiple times. This adds up. It’s quite likely that along the way you’ll find many ways to improve your images. Repeat this process many times, and you’ll find that your vision as a whole will improve.

Read more on Digital Photo Pro.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

adams_clearingwinterstorm425

Ansel Adams’ Clearing Winter Storm, 1944 is a particularly interesting photograph to me because of its complexity. It’s a specific kind of complexity. Like many other complex images, it’s made of a lot of separate elements but is still unified. Unlike many other complex images, it can be broken into many separate images, each complete compositions in themselves; four peaks in clouds, one vertical monolith in clouds, shadowed valley between monolith and peak, waterfall and peak, waterfall and two trees, etc. (Try finding as many separate compositions in this single image like this as you can.)

When you look at prints of Ansel Adams’ Clearing Winter Storm many assumptions about the medium, the man, and his work are confirmed and challenged. It’s neutral, perhaps even slightly cold in tone, which is appropriate for the subject. The tonal scale is high contrast and full scale, perhaps heavier than expected with very full highlights and it may be surprising that some shadow detail is not preserved. The large format original renders detail well, though there are traces of visible grain in light smooth areas. There’s detail throughout the image (deep depth of field, sharp focus, full scale printing); when it was printed this may have been the sharpest image quality possible while today it looks classically smooth in comparison to new high resolution digitally sharpened images. At 16×20” it’s a medium scale enlargement, not a contact, and could have been printed larger; that it wasn’t is an interesting reflection on both the man and his times. Print quality becomes not only a window into the past of the subject but also into the medium, which this man above all others epitomized for his time.

There’s a lot to be learned from looking at originals, which is why we look at masterworks from my collection in all of my  digital printing workshops.

Find my comments on other Masterworks In My Collection here.

Kim Weston shares insights from his life in the arts steeped in the history of black and white photography.

Read more in my black and white resources.

Learn more in my Black & White Mastery digital printing workshop.

John Sexton shares insights from his distinguished career in black and white photography.

View more in my conversation with John Sexton.

Read more in my black and white resources.

Learn more in my Black & White Mastery digital printing workshop.

Dan Steinhardt and Tony Corbell discuss their black and white workflows from input to output.

Read more in my black and white resources.

Learn more in my Black & White Mastery digital printing workshop.

Making prints does many things for you. To make a print you have to answer many questions. You learn a lot when you make a print. Realizing your vision in print means more than just making it real, it also means you’ll make many realizations about your vision along the way.

The new opportunities making prints presents challenge you to clarify and declare your intentions. What do you want to accomplish with your images? If your goal is to make an historic record you may be content with making a few, perhaps only one, possibly quite small, highly durable print that is stored and preserved very carefully for the future appreciation of only a few. On the other hand, if your goal is to expose the largest number of people possible to your imagery, you may want to consider creating an international billboard campaign now. How do you want people to interact with your images? Do you want to present your images as casual, everyday, highly accessible, utilitarian artifacts or scarce, highly refined, collectibles? The way you choose to print (or not to print) your images will get people to look at, interact with, share, and value them in entirely different ways. When you choose one thing you often have to let another go. If you choose many things simultaneously take steps to make the comparisons meaningful or you run the risk of creating confusing mixed messages. The things you make your images into will guide the viewer on a reenactment of your journey of discovery – and part of that journey of discovery lies in making and appreciating prints.

Printing your images also challenges you to clarify and declare your sensibilities. How do you prefer your images to look? What is the appropriate scale for an image – miniature, life-sized, or larger-than-life? Scale changes the physical and psychological reactions people have to images. They draw close to small prints and sometimes hold them or even carry them with them wherever they go; large prints immerse people in images that may fill their entire visual field until they pull back to view them from a distance. You can change a space or even create new space with prints. How will materials enhance your visual statements? Synthetic or organic? Smooth or textured? Uniform or irregular? Sharp or soft? Reflective or non-reflective? White, cream, or another colored base? All of these factors will have not just a technical impact on detail and color in your image but also on the psychological reactions their associations produce within the viewer. Inevitably, when making a print some things are gained and others are sacrificed. The sacrifices you are willing to make offer an opportunity to clarify your priorities. What do you want people to appreciate most about your images? Let this question be your guide as you first explore possibilities and later make decisions about how to present your images.

To answer the many questions making prints raises you have to pay attention to many details. When you make prints you are called to carefully consider your images and what you want to say and do with them. Prints also offer invitations for others to carefully consider not only your images but also your vision. Once you’ve made prints, you’ll not only understand your vision better, by extension you’ll understand other people’s vision better too.

Sure you can let others make prints for you. But you’ll be missing out on the opportunities they present to further clarify and resolve your vision. Even if you do it, really do it, just once, you’ll learn a lot.

Find out about my prints here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

Making prints does many things for your images.

Prints make your images tangible. They can be displayed and stored. Prints take up physical space and why would you let something do that if it wasn’t important? Because they occupy space, prints are rarer as well as less accessible. Of all the images you look at in a day, how many of them are prints? No one makes millions of prints. No one carries thousands of prints in their pockets or cell phones. Because they’re physical, prints can be bought and sold. It’s harder to command a higher price for intangible things and harder still for them to hold their value.

Prints enhance your images with material qualities and associations. Synthetic or organic? Smooth or textured? Uniform or irregular? Reflective or non-reflective? White, cream, or another colored base? Your choices have an impact on the technical quality in your images (detail, gradation, color) and on the associative reactions they produce within the viewer (it feels like or reminds me of …).

Prints define the scale of your images. What is the appropriate scale for an image – miniature, life-sized, or larger-than-life? Scale changes the physical and psychological reactions people have to images. They draw close to small prints and sometimes hold them or even carry them with them wherever they go; large prints immerse people in images that may fill their entire visual field until they pull back to view them from a distance. You can change a space or even create new space with prints.

Printing your images may make them durable. Historically, it’s the images that were printed that survived. New technology disaster stories aside, there’s never been a precedent to help us determine how long digital files will last if properly cared for. In theory, they should never degrade and can be copied indefinitely without reducing their quality. Whether people will perform the required maintenance to ensure this is the real question. One day in the future, media and format migration may become automated, but it’s not now. Though they can deteriorate on their own, if properly produced and stored, prints need little or no additional care and no know how to retrieve and use them.

Prints enable images to be viewed in different ways. Traditionally, photographs needed to be printed to be viewed. (Slides were a brief but possible exception. Or were they really tiny prints?) Today, that’s no longer true. But we do look at things that are printed differently than images that are not.

Do you look more frequently at images that have been printed or images that haven’t? Prints persist. They remain in our environment consistently and require little or no conscious effort for us to consider and reconsider them.  If you’re like most people, only the most important images to you have been printed and only a few of those are displayed at one time or for long periods of time. Making and using prints can become a part of the decision making process to focus more attention on a select few images. When images are printed they are no longer lost amid too many other less important images. When printed your images become more significant.

In short, printing your images can work wonders for them.

Find out about my prints here.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

“Ron Martinsen is an internationally renowned commercial photographer who has educated over 800,000 visitors on his popular Photography and Photoshop blog. His printing series last year was a huge hit, but there was so much great information to share that his loyal readers asked for a book. Printing 101 Notebook: An Introduction to Fine Art Photography Printing is an eBook that is designed to help frustrated ink jet printer users get the most out of their investment by educating them on everything they will need to make great prints.”

Ron Martinsen’s ebook Printing 101 is packed with digital printing tips and tricks, peppered with links to more resources. In a casual personal tone he offers advice based on his real world experience. While the book is applicable to photographers using any inkjet printer, it offers more information on Canon printers than any other source I’ve encountered. The supporting interviews with industry leaders in printing offer even more information from a diverse group of individuals.

Find out more about Ron Martinsen here.

Get your copy of the Printing 101 Notebook at Flatbooks.

Learn more with my free digital printing ebooks.

Learn more in my digital printing workshops.


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