Preparation for printing

You know the problem, when getting pictures from a photo salon or typing them at home on a printer, you do not get the result you expected?
Then this lesson is for you!

Let’s start with the concept of “color gamut.” I will not go into details and delve into the theory, I will list only the main thing.
The widest color gamut in the perception of color has the human eye. We see colors and shades of such a range of brightness that no device or carrier can reproduce.
The monitor has a narrower band of reproducible colors, due to the physical limitations of the properties of the materials used and the imperfection of the technology.
And finally, the narrowest range or color gamut is printed on paper.

Therefore imprint on paper is always will look different than on the monitor!
We can only reduce this difference to a finite minimum.

So, consider the process of preparing an image for printing and two main ways of printing images. For example, I will quote the settings for your Epson Stylus Photo R290 printer. For other firms and models, the principle is similar.

Image preparation for printing:
Step 1. We frame the image. The first thing we pay attention to is the difference in the formats of photo paper and the frame of our image. Photo paper has a 2: 3 aspect ratio, the same ratio has a snapshot taken with a SLR camera. In this case, the image will be printed without cropping. But still it needs to be aligned with the resolution of the printer or minilab.

You can do this in two ways.
The first way: using the frame tool (Crop), entering the corresponding numbers in the parameter line and then framing the image along the outer border. Photoshop will automatically recalculate the size and resolution.

This method is convenient because the values ​​you entered are saved and can be used to crop all images. It is used for framing photographs taken by an amateur camera, which produce an image with a 3: 4 aspect ratio. If you do not crop such an image, when printing, part of it is cropped, and not always the one you would like. Therefore, it is better to do it yourself.

The second way: using the commandImage – Image Size (Image – Image Size). Applies only to images with a 2: 3 aspect ratio. Here you need to set the print resolution to 300 ppi and image size in centimeters, focusing on standard photo paper sizes, then apply the command

Step 2. Sharpen the image. You should always increase the sharpness of the image if you want to print it, since sharpness is always reduced when printing due to the technical features of the process. The degree of sharpening should be slightly excessive, that is, higher than for comfortable viewing on the monitor screen. Should take place a small, to put it on profjargon, peresharp. Choosing a way to sharpen leave at your discretion.

Step 3. Check the color profile of the image and color mode. It should be sRGB IEC61966 – 2.1, RGB color mode. Usually this profile Photoshop uses the default.
You can see all this in the Info palette.

If your photo was taken by an amateur camera and you did not translate it into other color modes, then everything should be fine, but it will not hurt to check it.
If the picture is taken with a DSLR, you need to be especially careful, since these cameras are able to shoot with an Adobe RGB profile. If you print such a picture without converting the profile, the result will greatly disappoint you.
Profile conversion is performed by the Edit – Convert to profile command (Edit – Convert to profile). From the list, select the sRGB IEC61966 – 2.1 profile and apply the command

Now go directly to the methods of printing.

First way. Simple, for those who do not want to mess with downloading special profiles for paper, setting all parameters, or for novice computer users.
Step 1. Go to the menu File – Print (File – Print). A dialog box appears. We are interested in the right part of it, in the left just the size settings are indicated. In the first window, select the parameter The color is controlled by the printer. In the second rendering method Relative colorimetric.

Step 2. Now set up the printer. Push button Page settings. The printer settings dialog box appears.

We also set paper size, paper type (usually in this window, the paper names of the printer’s manufacturer, choose a closer one by properties), print quality (set maximum), page orientation (portrait or landscape).
On the second tab, I left the default settings, except for the checkbox High speed, as increasing speed reduces quality.

Now you can click OK and print the image.
This method does not provide the best print quality, but insures you from possible surprises. You may have to print a test snapshot and make a correction in Photoshop (maybe a little brighten, add contrast or saturation)

Second way. More complex, requiring some knowledge and training, but providing a much better match of the print with what we see on the monitor.

Step 1. We check the monitor for correct color reproduction, and, if necessary, perform adjustment using video card utilities or special programs, of which there are a great many on the Internet. This step is desirable, but optional, if you are sure that your monitor does not distort colors.

Step 2. Select the photo paper on which we will print. As a rule, branded paper is very expensive. This is due to the marketing policy of manufacturers of printers (the printer is sold almost at cost, and the main profit comes from consumables, such as cartridges and photographic paper). In addition, the printer is configured specifically for “native” paper types. Therefore, when using materials from other manufacturers, print quality sometimes deteriorates.
This can be avoided by typing with icc profiles for the specific type of photo paper used.

I use Lomond photo paper for printing my works, which has an excellent price / quality ratio, a large selection of types of photographic paper and other materials for printing.

In addition, on the manufacturer’s website you can download icc- profiles of all types of photographic paper for almost all known models of printers.
The profile from the archive must be unpacked in the folder C: \ WINDOWS \ system32 \ spool \ drivers \ color.
In order not to get confused, immediately rename your profile!
Next you need to restart Photoshop.

Step 3. Go to the settings. In the print dialog box Color management need to select a parameter Color governs Photoshop. Then in the window Printer profile Choose a profile for your type of photo paper. Method of rendering set Perceptual.

Step 4. Press the Page Settings button and proceed to setting up the printer.
Select the size, quality, etc., as described above. On the second tab, in the area Color management put a checkbox in front of ICM and in the parameter Off (without color correction).

Now our printer will use for printing not your profile, but the one that offers Photoshop to it.
Click OK and type.
I hope that after studying this material your pictures will delight you with bright colors. Unfortunately, it is impossible to take into account all the subtleties of setting up printers of different companies and models, so carefully read the instructions for use, sometimes they are delivered in electronic form on a CD with software. In case of difficulty, you can go to the manufacturer’s website and look for an answer to your question there. There are also numerous user forums. Do not be lazy, and will be rewarded with excellent quality of printed photos.

I wish you all creative success!
Author: Evgeny Kartashov

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