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Inkjet Printing for Photographers

Paying attention to viewing conditions


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Inkjet Printing for Photographers

with Ben Long

Video: Paying attention to viewing conditions

If you are familiar with white balance on your camera then you should already be comfortable with the idea that different types of lights have different color qualities, and those color qualities can affect the color that you capture in your camera. The same thing is true with prints. The quality of the light where you look at a print can dramatically impact how the print appears. If you're examining a print under tungsten lights, which have a yellowish cast, you may think "uh-oh, my print is too yellow." Or if you're viewing your print in low light, you might think "oh no, there is no detail in the shadows" when in fact it's just too dark in the room for you to see the detail in your shadows.
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  1. 9m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 50s
    2. Exploring why we print
      4m 3s
    3. Understanding what you need for this course
      3m 25s
  2. 13m 29s
    1. Why inkjet printing?
      4m 36s
    2. Understanding ink types: Dye vs. pigment
      4m 26s
    3. Discussing considerations for black and white
      1m 48s
    4. Reviewing the features
      2m 39s
  3. 1h 1m
    1. Printing and your workflow
      3m 3s
    2. Printing black-and-white photos
      6m 49s
    3. Understanding the histogram
      7m 37s
    4. Understanding what localized adjustments are used for
      2m 38s
    5. Explaining the histogram with a practical example
      6m 51s
    6. Making a localized adjustment in a practical example
      5m 30s
    7. Evaluating a localized adjustment in a practical example
      2m 29s
    8. Refining a localized adjustment for effect
      13m 36s
    9. Making a gradient adjustment
      6m 47s
    10. Paying attention to viewing conditions
      4m 49s
    11. Summing up
      1m 50s
  4. 54m 36s
    1. Understanding pixels, printer dots, and resolution
      2m 44s
    2. Understanding resolution
      2m 33s
    3. Defining resampling and interpolation
      3m 41s
    4. Understanding where resizing fits into your workflow
      2m 12s
    5. Defining native printer resolution
      2m 39s
    6. Understanding the relationship between viewing distance and print size
      2m 1s
    7. Reducing image size in Photoshop
      9m 11s
    8. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using Canvas Size
      4m 34s
    9. Cropping to a specific size and resolution using the Crop tool
      5m 15s
    10. Enlarging an image in Photoshop
      7m 7s
    11. Creating a triptych
      3m 55s
    12. Creating a triptych using Automator on a Mac
      4m 5s
    13. Exploring the aesthetics of print size
      4m 39s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding how sharpening works
      3m 18s
    2. Sharpening in JPEG mode
      1m 26s
    3. Exploring sharpening workflows
      3m 47s
    4. Sharpening in Camera Raw
      6m 17s
    5. Looking at noise reduction
      1m 46s
    6. Sharpening output with Smart Sharpen
      11m 52s
    7. Understanding selective sharpening
      4m 25s
    8. Sharpening through an edge mask
      7m 17s
    9. Reviewing high-pass sharpening
      4m 30s
    10. Applying aggressive sharpening
      8m 53s
    11. Exploring advanced sharpening techniques
      9m 7s
    12. Exploring the Print dialog
      11m 35s
    13. Proofing at smaller sizes
      3m 3s
  6. 53m 9s
    1. Exploring how color works
      2m 5s
    2. Reviewing color models
      2m 56s
    3. Defining gamut and color space
      9m 55s
    4. Reviewing when colors go out of gamut
      4m 54s
    5. Configuring Photoshop's color settings
      5m 47s
    6. Changing color space in Camera Raw
      4m 7s
    7. Working in an advanced color space
      6m 13s
    8. Assigning a color space in Photoshop
      2m 20s
    9. Correcting a color image
      9m 17s
    10. Printing a color image
      3m 30s
    11. Evaluating the print
      2m 5s
  7. 34m 46s
    1. What is color management?
      4m 16s
    2. Profiling a monitor
      8m 45s
    3. Evaluating a monitor profile
      4m 37s
    4. Exploring paper profiles
      5m 17s
    5. Understanding soft proofing
      11m 51s
  8. 24m 33s
    1. Understanding how paper quality affects the appearance of black in prints
      3m 26s
    2. Looking at third-party papers
      3m 46s
    3. Looking at paper finish
      3m 44s
    4. Understanding paper traits
      6m 31s
    5. Discussing paper choice and presentation
      7m 6s
  9. 23m 18s
    1. Printing a black-and-white image
      11m 45s
    2. Printing a color image
      11m 33s
  10. 1m 16s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 16s

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Inkjet Printing for Photographers
5h 53m Intermediate Sep 14, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the art and the craft of creating beautiful, archival-quality inkjet prints. The course looks at the anatomy of a print job: how a printer works, how to adjust and prepare your image to get the best results, and what happens to your photo in its journey from pixels to paper.

After a discussion of how to choose a printer, the course covers the process of preparing both black and white and color images using Adobe Photoshop. Ben describes how to take images from looking good onscreen to being properly adjusted for best results on paper, covering details such as sizing, sharpening, and color management.

With photographer and master framer Konrad Eek, Ben explores the creative decisions that photographers should address before printing. What size print? How does print size relate to the message of the photo and to the space where the photo will be displayed? What kinds of paper choices do you have, and how does your photo's content relate to the paper you choose?

The course also describes how to properly evaluate a print and how to handle common challenges that crop up during the printing process.

Topics include:
  • Why print with inkjet?
  • Types of inkjet printers: dyes versus pigments
  • Making image adjustments specifically for printing
  • Printing black-and-white photos
  • Resizing an image
  • Choosing paper
  • Working with sharpening and noise reduction
  • Color management
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Printing Photos
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Ben Long

Paying attention to viewing conditions

If you are familiar with white balance on your camera then you should already be comfortable with the idea that different types of lights have different color qualities, and those color qualities can affect the color that you capture in your camera. The same thing is true with prints. The quality of the light where you look at a print can dramatically impact how the print appears. If you're examining a print under tungsten lights, which have a yellowish cast, you may think "uh-oh, my print is too yellow." Or if you're viewing your print in low light, you might think "oh no, there is no detail in the shadows" when in fact it's just too dark in the room for you to see the detail in your shadows.

If you're thinking "yeah, but I am not that picky, I don't really care about the level of finesse," well, the problem is you actually will care. If you don't see detail in the shadows when you review your print, then you'll go back to your computer and you'll brighten the shadows up. Or if the print looks too yellow, you'll go dial back the yellow. But then when you get those prints into more normal light, you'll think "oh, this is too bright" or "wow, this is too blue." So, viewing conditions can be critical to your review process. Now, ideally, you would view your prints in sunlight, and in fact this is often a really good way to get a good view: just take the print outside.

Even there though, you need to be careful about the lighting. If you're standing next to a bright-red building or there are a lot of trees around then you might be in a light with a red or green cast. Indoors, things get a little more complicated. First, you need to think about what kind of lights you have. D50--that's D-5-0--is a lighting standard that specifies a light source that has the same color temperature as sunlight. It's the accepted standard for everything from monitor calibration to print viewing and display, so gallery lighting is usually D50.

Now you can get D50 light bulbs to fit in just about any kind fixture, and that's what we've done here. We've got these tungsten track lights that are up, and that's just kind of the normal lighting we deal with and is not very good for viewing prints. So we got some D50 fluorescent bulbs and just a cheap fixture. I just went to the hardware store and got all this stuff. It didn't cost very much, and it's just sitting up here on the track, and it's creating this nice pool of correct print-viewing light. You'll see these labeled not necessarily D50, they might be labeled daylight for sunlight or something like that.

The problem is, the ones we got weren't quite exactly right, and when we put black-and-white prints under them, they looked a little bit green. So we put a gel over it, that's a gelatin. That's basically a clear piece of plastic you can get at any lighting supply store or maybe a photo store. You can certainly order it online. In this case, it's color temperature blue, or CTB, and those come in various thicknesses. So we were able to correct this and get it properly balanced so that it truly is sunlight and now when we get black-and-white prints up here, they look neutral. So this is a really inexpensive, pretty easy way to get good viewing conditions.

You also need to think about the other ambient light in the room though. So, just as mixed lighting can confuse the white balance in your camera, it can also make print evaluation more complicated. So in here, we've got windows downstairs that are letting in sunlight, and that sunlight is bouncing all around the room and creating a faint kind of bluish light everywhere. There used to be a window right over there, but we've closed that off completely so that we have very little ambient light in here, little enough that the lighting from this can simply overpower the ambient light in the room, so I have a good correct pool of light.

I don't really have to worry about a mixed-lighting situation. Here, under these lights, I've pretty much got only D50 lighting, and I've got enough of the lights setup to create a very even pool to work in, so I don't have my prints sitting in the area where there is a lot of falloff. Finally, the wall itself has magnetic paint on it. You can get this at most painting supply stores. This is actually just a primer, so I could paint color over it if I wanted. And with this magnetic paint, I can simply stick prints to the wall with magnets. It took a few coats to get the wall magnetic enough to support the heavier paper that I'm printing, but it makes for a really easy, spacious area for viewing prints.

Now, if you don't have a place where you can control the ambient light, then things get trickier. For example, my apartment at home has windows all around so there's bright ambient light that's constantly changing throughout the day. It becomes very confusing for me to figure out when the best time to evaluate prints is, and the light is bright enough that I just can't overpower it with artificial lighting. So kind of my only option is to wait until dark and set up artificial lights and view prints. And in the summer that's hard because there's so--because it gets light so late. So if that's the situation that you're in, you may want to consider buying or even building a print viewing station. That's basically a booth with D50 lighting in it.

Just Google print viewing station, and you'll find several vendors that will sell enclosed print viewing booths of different kinds. The important thing to remember is that you've just got to pay attention to where you're evaluating prints. You need to control the ambient light, and you need to try to get some predictable D50 lighting on to your prints so that you can accurately gauge both tone and color.

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