Constellation_XXVI_Shadows

One of the keys to making a great print is great shadow detail.

Shadow detail is something to be mindful of during exposure, processing, and printing. Curiously, even if you see shadow detail in your file on a calibrated monitor you may not see all of the details in your print. What can you do about this? Many things!

First Check Your Color Management

Before you start editing your files based on your proofs, check your color management system.

Recalibrate Your Monitor

Make sure you’ve calibrated your monitor with hardware. Set a brightness value of 90-100 lux, instead of using the default brightness target of 120 lux. If you monitor is too bright, your prints will look dark overall, especially in your shadows.

Read more on Profiling Your Monitor here.

Give Your Prints Enough Time To Dry

Inkjet prints come out of the printer almost dry, but not quite fully dry. When they’re fully dry, they’ll appear slightly lighter, especially in the shadows where there’s a lot of ink. So before you evaluate prints critically, give them a few minutes to dry. This affects absorbent matte surfaces even more than glossy surfaces.

Find my resource on Outgassing here.

Look At Your Prints In Good Light

Look at your prints in good light. You need the right amount of light (a CRI of 90 or higher), you need the right color temperature light (5000K is the standard but many viewers prefer the warmer 3600K), and it helps to use full-spectrum light (Many manufacturers now make full spectrum bulbs.)

Read more on Controlling Your Environment here.

MediaType_P800

Media Type sets the amount of ink that's used.

Set Your Media Type Correctly

Your printer driver will allow you to set your media type, which controls ink the amount of ink that is sprayed on your paper. Use too much ink and you’ll lose shadow detail. Use too little and your blacks and midtones will appear weak. If you’re using a paper not made by the manufacturer, choose the nearest media type and then adjust its settings with the printer driver’s advanced utilities. (You’ll find this under Advanced Media Control with Epson printers.)

Find my resource on Ink Limit here.

testfile_shadows

Print test patches to determine when maximum black is achieved and when separation is lost.

Print A Target To Determine How Much To Lighten Shadows

Before you adjust your files for printing precisely determine how much you need to lighten your deep shadows by printing a target. While they vary a little, most media settings lose shadow detail around a value of 96% on a grayscale. If you print patches of values between 100% and 90% you’ll see exactly where you lose shadow detail. Printed results will vary slightly with each different media setting, so you’ll need to adjust files slightly differently for different media.

You can download my targets here.

Next Adjust Your File


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01_Dehaze_Maximum

Maximum Dehaze

02_Clarity_Maximum

Maximum Clarity

03_Texture_Maximum

Maximum Texture

04_Sharpening_Maximum

Maximum Sharpening

05_Texture_Negative

Negative Texture

06_Clarity_Negative

Negative Clarity

Think of Adobe Lightroom Classic and Camera Raw’s new Texture slider as producing an effect that lies somewhere between the Clarity and Sharpness sliders.

It’s closer to Sharpness so when you apply it, rather than looking at the full image, zoom in to 100% to evaluate the detail accentuation it produces. So, use it more for detail enhancement than contrast.


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refraction73_MG_1171

High frequency

refraction74_20100809__ICEjokulsarlon_0148

Medium Frequency

refraction6420080816_iceland_reykjanes_0496

Low Frequency

Frequency is a term that’s being used more and more. That’s because new tools offer you more control over frequency than ever before. Noise reduction, sharpening, and HDR all offer unprecedented control over the look and feel of detail in our images. Frequency is used to describe the amount of detail packed into a given area of an image. This is measured by the amount of tonal variation between rows or columns of pixels. Imagine measuring an image with a line that passes across it (horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom). The mean or average tonal value along lines can be charted and then compared to values from other measurement lines, especially those nearest to each other.


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I love to draw. I began drawing before I could speak. I’ve never stopped. It took me decades to learn to draw the way I wanted to. I spend less time drawing than I used to, now I rarely draw to produce finished results, but hardly a day goes by when I don’t draw, to record or refine ideas.

Drawing is a way to understanding. There’s a difference between knowing things mechanically (with a camera) in 1/125th of a second and knowing it manually (with a pencil, pen, or brush) over the space of hours or even days. Both ways can inform one another.

People often ask me, “Do you draw before, during, or after I photograph?” I respond, “Yes.” There are different benefits to drawing at every stage in the process of creation.

I sometimes draw before arriving at a location to structure my visual explorations. I sometimes draw while on site, to record ideas that cannot be photographed. I sometimes draw after visiting a location, from unfinished photographs made there, to identify the many ways they can be combined with other photographs. I sometimes draw on finished photographs to identify patterns of thinking and ways to develop them further.

There are many reasons to draw and many ways of drawing.

I take the definition of photo-graph literally – light-drawing. For me photography is one more way to draw.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.


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Detail Frequency

August 4, 2011 | Leave a Comment |

High frequency detail

Medium frequency detail

Low frequency detail

Frequency is a term that’s being used more and more. That’s because new tools offer you more control over frequency than ever before. Noise reduction, sharpening, and HDR all offer unprecedented control over the look and feel of detail in our images. Frequency is used to describe the amount of detail packed into a given area of an image. This is measured by the amount of tonal variation between rows or columns of pixels. Imagine measuring an image with a line that passes across it (horizontally from left to right or vertically from top to bottom). The mean or average tonal value along lines can be charted and then compared to values from other measurement lines, especially those nearest to each other.


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Print Aesthetics

November 3, 2009 | Leave a Comment |

printaesthetics1

What do people look for in fine art photographic prints?
One of the most important things we look for is ...
Detail.

What kind of detail?
At least five kinds.
Detail - Focus
Detail - Dynamic Range
Detail - Gradation
Detail - Low Signal to Noise Ratio
Detail - Flawless Surfaces

There's are many exceptions to this rule of thumb but they are exceptions.
The best exceptions depart from the standards meaningfully.
It helps to know what to look for in fine art photographs.

Find out more in my free downloadable Lessons.
Find out more in my Fine Art Digital Printing Workshops.
Stay tuned for the announcement of my Fine Art Digital Printing DVD.


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