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Once you've configured an image or multiple images for printing, it's important to use the right Print Settings in order to ensure the most accurate and high quality results. I've selected an image here that I'd like to print. I've specified that I want to print it at an 8x10 inch size and everything is laid out exactly as I'd like it. So, I'm ready to send this image to the printer. Within the Print Module on the right panel here, I'll scroll down to the very bottom to find the Print Job section. In the Print Job section, I'll set the Print To option to Printer so that I can actually produce a printed page rather than producing a JPEG image. I'll turn off the Draft Mode Printing check box. I would only use that option if I wanted to create a Quick Contact Sheet or otherwise produce an image where I'm not terribly concerned about the quality. For Print Resolution, I typically set this to the value that produces optimal results for my particular printer.
That will vary from printer to printer but for most photo inkjet printers, for example, a value of 360 pixels per inch will produce optimal results. We can then specify whether we want to include Print Sharpening. For this image, I will include some sharpening. I'd like to enhance the detail in the snow here, for example. So, I'll leave that option turned on, but I'm going to use a Low Print Setting. I could chose Low, Standard, or High. And I will choose the Media Type, in this case, I'm going to print to a Matte service so I'll use the Matte option there.
Obviously, the Low, Standard, and the High options don't give you a lot of information as far as what that final result is going to look like. But a little experimentation will help you make a decision about that. In most cases, I work with either Low or Standard. I don't usually print with the High setting. Next, we need to take a look at the Color Management Settings. There are two basic ways we can deal with Color Management. We can let the printer do most of the work or we can let Lightroom do most of the work. In many cases, either approach is perfectly fine. But it's important that you use the right settings.
If you leave the option for profile set to Managed by Printer, then you'll need to make sure to configure your print driver for the Optimal Print Settings. That will obviously vary from one printer to the next, so you'll need to check your printer documentation to configure those settings in the best way. In most cases though, I prefer to use a specific profile for the printer, ink, and paper combination that I'm using for printing. And so I'll click the profile pop up, and at the moment, I have not yet designated any profiles to be used by Lightroom for printing.
So I'll click the other option that will bring up a Choose Profiles dialog where I can specify which particular profile I would like to use with this printer or within Lightroom. I can turn on the check box for all of the profiles that I plan to use. For example, I tend to use Premium Luster a fair amount, and for this image, I plan to print with Velvet Fine Art Paper. So, I'll go ahead and turn on both of those options and then I'll click the OK button. Now, you can see on the pop up, we have both of those options available to us. I'm going to use the Velvet Fine Art Paper option in this particular case.
I can then specify the Rendering Intent. Do I want to use the Perceptual Rendering Intent or the Relative Colorimetric Rendering Intent? In most cases, I prefer to use the Relative option. The Rendering Intent relates to how out of gamut colors are rendered. In other words, colors that your printer cannot reproduce with the current printer ink and paper combination. With the Perceptual option, if there are any out of gamut colors, the entire color gamut of your image will be compressed. Which means, overall Saturation will likely suffer in order to ensure that all colors are printable. The advantage of Perceptual is that the relationships between colors will be preserved.
With Relative, all colors that fall within the Print Gamut will remain as they are, they will not be changed at all. But colors that fall outside the printer's gamut will clip to the closest color that the printer can produce. This does change the relationship between colors a little bit but it also helps ensure that the smallest number of colors possible are actually being modified. In many cases, you might want to try both options to get a better sense of which option you prefer especially, for an individual image that you really want to print at its best.
With those options established, I can then click the Print button. That will bring up my Printer dialog, and then I can click the Properties button to bring up the options for my specific printer. The ideal options for any printer will vary based on the particular printer model and the drivers that you are using. And so, you'll need to check your printer documentation to find out which settings are best for your printing needs. One of the most important options, however, is to make sure that the printer itself is not applying any changes to the color information.
Again, how you specify the setting will vary from printer to printer. In this case, for example, I can choose the Off, No Color Adjustment option, after choosing the Custom mode. But the specific settings you need to accomplish the same thing will vary depending on which type of printer you are using. The key is to make sure that if you going have Lightroom manage the colors for print, that the printer itself does not alter that color at all. Obviously, I would need to continue adjusting the Print Settings here, adjusting the type of paper and any other settings that relate to the overall quality of the print.
But once I have established all of those settings, I can click the OK button. And then I'd be ready to click the OK button once again to actually send the image to the printer.
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