What Printing Can Do For You

Almost everyday, we make, collect, sequence, process, and share our photographs on digital devices with screen. When was the last time you made a print? If you haven’t made prints recently, you’re missing out. Making prints does many things for you.

How many things? Let me count the ways …

You Connect

When you’re having a hard time believing something, you want to confirm what you see by touching it. Once you touch it, it’s hard to deny – and you learn more about it. Touch is an essential part of a doctor’s diagnosis and healing practice. When you touch and are touched by something you make a special connection. When you make your images physical, you can touch them and they will touch you. This works for other people who get to experience your prints too.

You Look More Carefully

When you make a print you consider your images more carefully. Along the way, you’ll find many ways to improve your images. This adds up. You learn not only what to look for but also what’s possible. You train yourself to look closer and deeper. If you make this a regular practice you’ll find your vision as a whole will improve.

You Develop A Relationship

When you make prints you look at your images more often. While you’re printing them you look at them very carefully, so carefully that sometimes you need to take a break to find perspective. After you print them, you still look at them more carefully at first, but this tends to diminish over time, even though it’s always an option. Because a print persists in your environment you’ll find you also look at your images casually too, sometimes you just see them out of the corner of your eye … and your subconscious registers this. Prints create an accumulation of perception, which deepens your understanding of images on many levels. Once again, this happens for people who view your prints too.

You Decide What’s Most Important

You make a lot of photographs. How many get printed? One percent? Only the best and the most important images are worth printing. Print an image and it makes a statement, simply because it’s printed.

Inevitably, when making a print some things are gained and others are lost. The sacrifices you are willing to make offer still more opportunities for you to clarify your vision. What are you willing to compromise on? What aren’t you willing to compromise? When you make these choices you make a statement, to yourself and others.

You Choose How You’d Like Your Images To Be Received

The many new opportunities making prints presents will challenge you to clarify and declare your creative goals. The way you choose to print (or not to print) your images will encourage people to look at, interact with, share, and value them in entirely different ways. How would you like your images to look? How would you like others to look at your images? How do you want people to interact with your images? Do you want to present your images as casual, every day, highly accessible, utilitarian artifacts or scarce, highly refined, collectibles? If your goal is to make a 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. There is no right or wrong answer to this question. There is your answer – if you make a print.

You Learn About Yourself

You learn a lot about your images and yourself when you make a print. Realizing your vision in print means more than just making it real, it also means making many realizations along the way. To make a print you have to make a number of decisions. The choices you make reflect your personal likes and dislikes. Go beyond simply saying “I like it.” or “I don’t like it.” Next, ask “Why?” Answering this all-important question will make your personal vision and style clearer. It will make it clearer to people you share your prints with too.

You Share Your Journey

The things you make your images into will guide your audience through a reenactment of your journey of discovery – selecting your subject, composing it, exposing it, processing it, printing it, and sharing it. Prints offer invitations for others to carefully consider not only what you’ve seen, but also the way you’ve see it, and the ways you’ve chosen to share it.

Sure, you can let others make prints for you. Sometimes you have to. But, when you do, you’ll be missing out on many of the opportunities printing presents to further clarify, refine, strengthen, and fulfill your vision. So will your viewers. Even if you print, really print, just once, you’ll learn a lot.

Read What Printing Can Do For Your Images.

Explore my Printing resources.

Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

 

What Printing Can Do For Your Images

Most of us carry and share albums of our photographs with our phones every day. When was the last time you carried prints of your images with you? When was the last time you made a print? If you haven’t made prints recently, you’re missing out. So are your images. Making prints does many things for your images.
How many things? Let me count the ways …

Sensual

Prints make your images tangible. Prints enhance your images with material qualities and the associations they bring with them. Synthetic or organic? Reflective or non-reflective? Smooth or textured? Uniform or irregular? Sharp or soft? White or cream? Transparent or metallic? These and many other factors will have an impact on the technical quality of your images (color, detail, gradation, etc) and on the reactions they produce within their viewers (“It feels like or reminds me of …”).

Scaled

Prints define the scale of your images. What is the appropriate scale for an image – miniature, life-sized, or larger-than-life? Do you want people to walk up to a building-sized mountain or hold it in their hands? 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.

Durable

Printing makes your images more durable. So far, it’s prints that have stood the test of time. Historically, it’s the images that were printed that survived. Putting 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, first you and later the inheritors of your images, 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. Consider prints your ultimate form of backup. 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.

Saleable


Because they’re physical, prints are easily bought and sold. It’s hard to command a high price for intangible things and harder still for them to hold their value or appreciate. In recent years, there have been unprecedented escalations in the value of photographic prints. Photographic prints have sold for as much as major paintings.

Exclusive

Images in print are more rare as well as less accessible. (Often, this contributes to both their market and personal value.) Prints take up physical space and why would you let something do that if it wasn’t important? Of all the images you look at in a day, how many of them are prints? No one carries thousands of prints in their pockets or on their cell phones. No one makes millions of prints. How many prints do you make? Most of us don’t make enough prints. Making a print is a statement.

Different Experiences

Traditionally, to be viewed at all photographs needed to be printed. Today, that’s no longer true. Still, prints encourage images to be viewed in different ways. 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. We look at images that are printed differently than images that are not. Do you look more frequently and longer 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 yet often they demand that we do look at them more consciously. Making 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 so many other less important images. When printed your images become more significant.
In short, printing your images can work wonders for them. It can also work wonders for you.

Read What Making Prints Can Do For You.

Explore my Printing resources.

Learn more in my digital printing workshops.

12 Useful Test Files

 

Use these test files to confirm color management is working properly.

 

1. Using Gray Gradient Test Files | Download
A little testing up front can ensure that you get the finest results possible.

2. Test File – Gray Gradient Smooth | Download

3. Test File – Gray Gradient 10% Steps | Download

4. Test File – Gray Gradient 5% Steps | Download

5. Test File – Gray Gradient 1% Steps | Download

6. Test File – Spectrum Gradients | Download

7. Test File – RGBCMY | Download

8. Test File – RGBCMY to Black Smooth | Download

9. Test File – RGBCMY to Black Posterized  | Download

10. Test File – RGBCMY to White Smooth  | Download

11. Test File – RGBCMY to White Posterized | Download

12. Test File – Line Pairs | Coming Soon

13. Bill Atkinson – Test Files  | Free

14. Desktop – Neutral With Gradient | Download

 

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Printing Tips

Download your free copy now!

 

The little things can make a big difference, never more so than with printing.

 

1. Banding

2. Colored Micro-Banding

3. Dark Micro-Banding

4. Delete & Reload Printer Driver

5. Evaluate Proofs Under Glass

6. Fragile – Packing & Shipping Prints

7. Ink Drips or Smears

8. Ink Spattering and Pooling

9. Light Micro-Banding

10. Locating Printer Utilities

11. Maintenance Tank is Full

12. Paper Won’t Feed

13. Printing Borders Aren’t Equal

14. Printing Off Paper

15. Printer Power Cleaning Cycles

16. Signing Prints

 

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The Art Of Proofing

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Get the best print quality possible with these proofing techniques.

 

1. Proof – The Art of Proofing
Refinine your proofing process to achieve the best print quality efficiently.

2. Proof – BAT
BAT (bon a tiré) it’s the final proof print.

3. Proof – Bracket Proofing
Bracket proof and get one hundred proofs in one.

4. Proof – Compensate for Scale
Larger images appear lighter than smaller images. It’s an optical effect that affects your prints.

5. Proof – Correcting for Viewing Light
Compensate for discrepancies in profiles and viewing light temperatures.

6. Proof – Full Scale
Proof at full scale to check noise and sharpness.

7. Proof – Light Temperature
Light temperature has a significant effect on exposure, calibration, printing, and display.

8. Proof – Notes
Take good notes so you can retrace your steps precisely.

9. Proof – Prevent Overinking
Set proper ink limit for a substrate and reduce overinking.

10. Proof – Proof Template PSD File
Use this PSD file to make proofs.

11. Proof – A Step-by Step Guide to Using the Proof Template
Steps to using the Proof Template.

 

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The Fine Art Of Digital Printing

Download your free copy now!

 

Print your images to achieve new levels of mastery and personal expression.

 

1. Dano’s Glossary of Fine Art Terms 

2. What Printing Can Do For You 

Making prints can do a lot for you.

3. What Printing Can Do For Your Images 

Making prints can do a lot for your images and your vision.

4. What To Look For In Prints (2008) | .99 | Free to Members

Knowing what to look for can help you make better prints.

5. Evaluating Substrates (2007) | .99 | Free to Members
Choose media wisely. Your choice of material has a profound impact on your prints.

6. Epson – Print / File Size Chart (2007) | .99 | Free to Members
The relationship between print size, file resolution and bit depth for Epson printers.

7. Epson Driver – Advanced B&W Photo

8. Epson Driver – Color 

9. Epson Driver – Double Color Management

10. Epson Driver – Ink Limit (2006) | .99 | Free to Members

11. Preserve Print Shadow Detail 

12. Delete and Reload Printer Driver (2007) | .99 | Free to Members

13. Paper Sizes – Standard (2005) | .99 | Free to Members

14. Paper Size – Custom (2005) | .99 | Free to Members

15. Printer Points of Control (2007) | .99 | Free to Members
You have a number of points of control with digital printers.

16. Preflight Checklist (2006) | .99 | Free to Members
Createapreflight checklist designed to help you avoid common mistakes.

17. Longevity (2008) | .99 | Free to Members
How long do inkjet prints last? What should you do to protect them? Find out here.

18. Outgassing (2009) | .99 | Free to Members
Cure your prints before framing them.

19. Scale (2009) | .99 | Free to Members
Size matters. Consider the size of your prints carefully.

20. Output II – Film (2008) | .99
Printing digital negatives with Adobe Photoshop (all versions) – 6 pages

21. Metamerism
The tendency of an object to change appearance under different light sources.

22. Bronzing 
An iridescent flash of color when viewing prints under varying angles of light.

23. Gloss Differential 
Gloss differential is an uneven reflectance of the surface of a print.

24. Limited Editions (2009) | .99 | Free to Members
Edition structures disclose the number of prints that will be made of an image.

25. Notation (2009) | .99 | Free to Members
The notations you make on your prints add value to them.

26. Mounting (2009) | .99 Free to Members
Ensure that your prints are protected and beautifully displayed.

27. Matting (2010) | .99 | Free to Members
Make sure your images are protected and presented properly.

28. Framing (2010) | .99| Free to Members
The frames you choose will enhance the quality of your artwork.

29. Exhibiting (2010) | .99 | Free to Members
Make your experience more successful by knowing what is required.

30. Resolution (2010) | .99 | Free to Members
Learn how resolution can ensure fine detail and smooth transition.

31. Profiles 

Do You Need to Make Your Own Printer Profiles?

32. Banding (2011) | .99 | Free to Members
Use these simple methods to cure banding.

33. Printer Maintenance (2011) | .99 | Free to Members
A little maintenance can go a long way!

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Photographers Celebrate The Black & White Print

 

John Sexton 

Kim Weston 

 

Photographers Celebrate The Print

 

Two Generations – Paul & John Paul Caponigro 

John Paul Caponigro 

Jeremy Cowart

Gregory Crewdson

Lois Greenfield 

Gerd Ludwig 

Steve McCurry

Mark Seliger 

John Sexton 

Tim Tadder 

Amy Toensing 

Stephen Wilkes 

.

Photographers Celebrate Printing

 

Bambi Cantrell

John Paul Caponigro 

Douglas Dubler 

Greg Gorman 

Jay Maise

Steve McCurry

Jeff Schewe

 

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How To Preserve Shadow Detail In Your Prints

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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