Fundamentals for Great Prints

 

Lesson Info

Printing From Lightroom®

So we're gonna go to the print module. And I'm gonna take you through the print module and show you each of the major buttons we need to think about inside of that print module. And I'm gonna skip over a few things that I'm gonna cover in the second segment of the class. But you'll get a good feel for what you need to accomplish to get really great prints. So we're gonna start with the print module and then the first thing I'm gonna do is go to page setup and talk about these details in page setup. Alright, back to the computer. The cool thing about Lightroom is you can seamlessly work back and forth between your library, between the develop pane, and any of the other modules like the print module. So, you know, I started in the library in what I call the grid. I went to develop. And now I'm gonna go over to print. So here's the print module. And it's scary. I'm serious. The first time I started working in Lightroom, print module, I'm like oh my gosh, what do I do? There's like so much...

stuff here. The left side has all of these templates and like, am I supposed to use a template? How do I make it on a 12 by 18 piece of paper? Where do I go? What do I do? So there's no like, logic here. I'm sure Adobe thinks there's good logic, but I got lost and it took me a long time to figure out where to go. So here's what you need to know about the print module. I'm gonna start over here. Start on the right side. What are we doing? What's the layout style? Well, we're doing a single image, slash contact sheet. A contact sheet, you know what the contact sheet is? It's like one print out... One piece of paper with a bunch of small images on it. That's a contact sheet. We're not doing that. But we are using that line item. Because it says single image. And that's really what we're gonna produce here. Single image. We're not doing a picture package. This is like, hey professional photographer, I'm your client and I want a five by seven, and eight by ten, and two four by sixes, and a bunch of wallets. That's a picture package. So you can put that together here in Lightroom. You can also do a custom package where you can create your own custom picture packages. We're not gonna do all that. Most of you watching today and here in this classroom are always gonna do single image. Alright, next. Zoom to fill. So this image was taken with a DSLR, my Nikon. Actually, I think this was my Nikon D800. And it's a two to three aspect ratio. The paper that we're working with today is 17 by 22. What's that aspect ratio? I don't know. A 17 to 22 aspect ratio. So somehow my two by three photo has to get printed on my 17 by 22 paper. Something's gotta give. So what are we gonna do with that? We're going to either print it like you see here on the screen and just have strips on the side, or we're gonna fill the 17 by 22 paper and crop out a little bit of the edges. In this case, I think I'll zoom to fill. Rotate to fit. I'll turn this off. See what rotate to fit does? It just maximizes the print area. So, generally you want to maximize the surface area of the paper because it's expensive and you want the big print anyways. So these are selections you're going to make. Stroke, this puts a little black line around the print. Just a tiny little black line. Very rarely do I do that. Most of the time, you're matching and framing these prints. So you don't want that black line around the edge of the print. But if you did, you could even change the width of that black line and do something like that. I don't wanna do that. So then next is layout. How do you want your margins to be? Some printers allow what's called full bleed, or edge-to-edge printing, and this Canon might allow it, but I literally just started using this Canon three days ago. So I don't know the nuances quite yet, but I'm sure there's a way to go full bleed on this. I just haven't quite figured it out yet. So you have to have some type of margin. And even if I set the margins at zero, you're gonna see when this print comes out it's not gonna be edge-to-edge or full bleed. How many photos do you want per page? Well this is kind of getting into that picture package that I was talking about earlier. Typically, you just want one row and one column. Like, one print. But I'll tell you this, this confused me so much when I started printing in Lightroom. I'm like ah, what's going on? Where's this coming from? (laughing in background) Oh, it's the grid. It's the page grid. So just set that one by one, alright? Cell size. Well, I'm using a 17 by 22 inch piece of paper. How big is the cell that I'm printing on on that 17 by 22 inch paper? Well, I want it to be 17 by 22, duh. So just ramp those up to do 17 by 22. Okay, so I think this little segment here, this layout segment, causes a lot of confusion. And hopefully what I just did there was to help you understand it's actually quite simple. Set your margins to zero, set your page grid to one by one, and then make your cell size however big your paper is. The guides, don't worry about that. Page, you can like put an identity plate or like a logo on the paper. You can do watermarking. Don't mess with any of that stuff. Maybe someday I'll do a class on what all that stuff means. This segment here though is important. This is really one of the most important things in Lightroom and this is really what we might call the printer driver interface. So we're gonna start with this first line here. Print to what? I'm gonna print to a printer, but sometimes you wanna print to a JPEG file. And I've done this before. I go through the whole thing and then when I'm done I wanna print to this JPEG file versus just exporting it from Lightroom. This basically is an export function. Don't use draft-mode printing because that'll give us a low quality print. Print resolution, just trust me on this, 240. If we have time, I'll come back to that question in a little bit. Print sharpening, this is what's called output sharpening. So this is a global sharpening. It's not a local sharpening. So like, if you wanna sharpen the eyes or the eyelashes, you need to do local sharpening. But this is global. Typically, I'm just gonna choose low. Unless the photo needs more help, in which case I'll use standard. And then in general, what type of paper are you using for sharpening to understand how to work, is it a glossy or is it a matte? And we'll understand a little bit more on that in just a second. And I always click 16-bit output. 16-bit output takes all the data that you've collected in your raw file and all this hard work and then sends it to the printer in 16-bit, so you get full dynamic range. Some printers can accept 16-bit files, some printers cannot. So if your printer cannot, this might be grayed out. And then color management. We'll talk more about color management in the next segment. You have two choices here. Choice one is to have the color managed by the printer. And let me just show you what that looks like. So, let's see, booth. We're gonna switch over to the printer, this little view right here. I just wanna show you what color managed by the printer looks like. And that should show up here on the screen in class. So not all, but most higher end printers have the ability to make selections here on the printer itself. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go into this, and I'm gonna choose the page size. And you can see that the Canon comes pre-programmed with a whole bunch of different sizes of paper. A3, A2, letter, A3 plus. Oh, and there's a 17 by 22, cool. So I'm gonna use that. And the next is the type of paper. And check this out, there's all these different types. There's matte, there's photo paper, heavy art, canvas, Japanese paper. (laughs) Okay. So in this case, the paper that I'm going to use is, pull this out, we're gonna use this. This is the Canon Photo Paper Plus Semi-Gloss. So I'm just gonna go find that semi-gloss here. You see that? So it's called plus semi-gloss, I click OK. And then I go to register, like, yeah. It's registered, now the printer gets it. And then you'll see right here it says 17 by 22 plus semi-gloss, awesome. That's what printer managed color is, okay? That's what that means. And this is cool to talk about, when you're handling it, don't like squeeze it 'cause you'll get these little creases and wrinkles in it that can really damage the final print. So I'm always very careful when I'm handling the paper and the final print. No sharp bins ever. Okay. Here we go. Stick that in there. So now that's ready to go. So, to remind you where you're at, that's printer managed color. Okay, printer managed color. So let's go back to Lightroom. The other option is to choose application-managed color. What's the application? Well, that's Lightroom. In this case, I would say Lightroom knows what type of printer and paper is going on, so I'm gonna click that in there. So maybe you print at Costco and you have the Costco color profile. Maybe you have a Canon Pro 10 with matte paper loaded. Maybe you're printing to this Epson. Or maybe you have some other paper style that you've loaded into the computer. So I could choose these photo paper options and then say manage by, you know, I could send an Epson profile to the Canon printer. Which would be weird. You would never do that. In the next class, I'm actually make a print doing that and show you how bad it will turn out. So that's what managed by printer looks like and means, okay? So whenever you choose managed by printer you have to make sure that the printer understands exactly what is printing. In this case, it's easy because there's a menu right on the printer. We've gone through the right hand side of the print module. Over here on the left now, we're gonna go through the settings. We're gonna start with page setup. Sometimes when you get into the print module in Lightroom it doesn't know or it chooses the wrong paper size. So like, you'd be doing all this work for an eight by ten. You're like oh, we're not doing an eight by ten or a letter eight and a half by 11, no, I'm using 17 by 22. So if that's the case, you come over here to page setup and now you can choose your paper size here in page setup, okay? So there's your eight by ten, here's your letters, your US letter, legal. And then if there's a custom size that the software hasn't seen yet, you can just go to manage custom size. You can actually enter your own size of paper. So maybe you're doing panoramas and it's 12 inches by 36 inches. Well, you could actually enter that and then choose it. Okay, so here we go, 17 by 22. And then orientation. Make sure your orientation is set up so that it makes sense. And I'm not gonna say always choose horizontal or always choose vertical, 'cause you guys have all done this before where like you pick horizontal and the photo shows up vertical. So I'm gonna say the answer is whatever looks right on the preview. Click OK, now print settings, we go there. And this is where Lightroom gets confusing to me. Look at that scene. That's the print settings dialogue. Now look at this scene and this is the printer dialogue. What, they're the same? I always wondered why. I don't understand quite why they have these and they're the same, but okay. So we're printing on the Canon Pro 1000. And you can see I've got some other printers loaded here. This one is the Canon Pro 10. That's that other guy sitting on the table. And there's a little squiggly line meaning it's not connected. It's not connected. So I'm gonna use the Pro 1000 which is connected. What's my preset? Color versus black and white. If you are printing true black and white, right here click black and white. And that's one of the big steps to getting those nice solid blacks and the detail that you want. So here we're gonna print color and check this out, that's a preset meaning if I choose black and white it'll just automatically select everything in there as a preset. Or I could just click black and white and it also makes that decision. See, again, there's all these double choices. Do I choose it here? Do I choose it there? And I usually say yes. (laughs) As many places as you can make choices in printing, make them. Medium quality, feed. In this case, it's a manual feed. I'm feeding from the back of the printer. This is an important distinction. In the Canon verbiage, the manual feed is actual the rear feed. The rear tray is this one that comes up on the top of the printer. I got a little confused with that the other day, so. In this case it's manual feed. It's coming in from the back. And then quality. If you choose best, it will spend a lot of time making that print. If you choose normal, you'll get a very, very good print but it will come out a lot faster. So best quality, you can typically choose that. I'll use a little bit more ink. But if you're into this for perfection, choose best. Today, I'm into it for time so I'm just gonna choose normal. I click save. Now typically if I click print here it'll shoot off to the printer. If I go to printer, I'm gonna double check everything again. See, it lost that manual feed option. And I can hit print from here if I want. So I can hit print from this or I can hit print from the button at the bottom. They both basically do the same thing. You ready? Here we go. Work. So it says on the upper left, preparing print job. And then I'm looking at my printer waiting for the screen to come up and say printing, dot dot dot. And you all know this feeling. It's like, is it gonna work? (audience laughs) and I'm waiting. Oh, yes, it says communicating. Dot dot dot. And now it says printing, dot dot dot. I hear fans whirring. And then the next one is the paper wrinkling... Yes, the paper's going, you know? And then the excitement happens. And this is also one of the reasons I love printing. You know what, it's so fun to do. Okay, come on, we all do that, right? Oh, it's coming out. Oh, and the color's blue. And look at the eyes. You know, watching that thing reveal itself in real time is special. It gets me excited. And I'm being a little bit over-zealous right now, but the truth is that inside I love printing. I love the mechanical process. I wish it had more smell and odor associated with it because I'd probably enjoy that too. Alright, so that print's coming out. It's gonna take about five minutes. So let's move on to the next topic, which is printing from Photoshop, okay? We'll go back to the presentation. I kind of skipped over these slides because I did them in real time, but we talked about the print settings button. We talked about feed, paper, quality... The number of copies, I didn't talk about that but if you wanna print multiple copies, go for it. And then black and white or color, make that choice. So then we've got the margins and the stroke and the resolution, I told you to just trust me at 240. Use 240 if you have a nice big like 24 megapixel file or even a 12 megapixel file. If you have a low resolution photo, you have my permission to use something like 180 or even and I don't have time to go into the details there. But the lower your resolution file is, the lower the resolution of your file is, sometimes the lower the PPI you should choose just so it's not like making up data that isn't really there.

To see a photograph at it's most powerful it needs to be printed. In this course, Mike Hagen will teach the basics of printing amazing photos. He'll cover settings and exports to print from Lightroom® and Photoshop®. The different sizes and aspect ratios to consider as well as how to sharpen for best quality. He'll show the different considerations for choosing the best paper and more. Start building your print portfolio with these essential tips in getting quality prints.

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • This is a good fundamentals class. Mike is an excellent teacher. If you are just starting printing, this would be a good choice. If you are more experienced at printing it is probably too shallow. I thought the price of the class was high for the time and detail of the lessons.
  • Good solid fundamentals class for beginners. If you're a fairly seasoned pro wanting to refine your output techniques, you'll probably find this class too general. It concentrates on the basics of achieving a good image with a basic overview of printer settings and Adobe output dialog boxes.
  • Unfortunately this class feels rushed,non-optimised and incomplete. The instructor projects a sense of expertise but often glosses over important questions. Moreover, many topics that seem endemic to this class are relegated to a mythical 'next class'. Why? Why isn't it here? Here, you will not learn about soft proofing, monitor calibration, printer calibration, extensive software suite (e.g. working in Canon's own software), framing, storage, and a myriad of other topics. Certain sections feel especially cheap. For example, when choosing paper types, Mike shows 2 examples comparing 2 paper types side by side. Fair enough, but that doesn't really do much when he himself mentioned 5 or 6 different paper types and he only has 2 examples? I know printing is expensive but surely this class should count as an investment which justifies printing at least 5 or 10 different images, on all different papers so that the students can have 25 or 50 different datapoints. In his defense, perhaps he simply did not have the time. It seems this class was one of those shorter 'photo week' classes that are done in one afternoon. Still, it feels more like what they wanted to do was split the content across multiple classes rather than have one comprehensive bootcamp. Better tutorials on YouTube.