Printing the Easy Way

One of the advantages of the digital revolution in photography has been that local photography labs can now produce images nearly at the quality of fine art labs, but at a fraction of the cost. When post-processing shifted to the computer, and therefore into the hands of the consumer, hobbyist photographers gained control of a large part of the photographic process previously left to the hands of a lab. With a few easy steps, photographers can now have printing done at a local shop with high quality results for much less than going to a professional lab.

1. Export your images from Lightroom with the following settings:

File Settings
Format: jpg
Quality: 100
Colorspace: sRGB (actually, this should match that of the shop’s equipment, but chances are the staff won’t know what this means, and 99 times of 100 it will be sRGB)

Image Sizing:
Resize to fit: unchecked
Resolution: 300 ppi (this is not actually as important as the above option, but do it anyway)

Output Sharpening
Sharpen for: check and select paper type
Amount: standard or high

Lightroom Export Settings

2. Take the resulting files to a photo shop for printing, have them print one or two test images first. Preferably choose images with a wide tonal and color range.

3. Compare the test prints to your screen for brightness. Chances are the printed images will appear darker than your screen. adjust your screen so that its brightness appears equal to that of the test print.

4. In Lightroom, move the brightness slider until the image looks correctly adjusted again.

Lightroom brightness slider

5. Adjust the temp and tint sliders to compensate for discrepancy between printer and computer. The sliders should be moved in the opposite direction of color shifting. In other words, if the print looks too green, adjust the tint towards the magenta. If the print looks too blue, adjust the temp towards yellow.

Lightroom temp and tint sliders

6. Export the image anew. Print new test files. Repeat steps 2-5 if necessary.

7. If the second round of test prints was satisfactory, copy and paste the brightness, temp and tint changes to the images you’re printing. Export the rest of your images with the new changes.

8. Print the rest of your images.

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