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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.
When you shoot in JPEG mode, the computer inside your camera takes care of pulling the Raw image data off of the camera sensor and processing it into a full-color final image. Part of that process involves applying sharpening to your image. Now depending on your camera you may, or may not, find that you like the results of the sharpening. Your camera probably offers controls for how much sharpening to apply, and it's worth experimenting with these to see the different results. However, if you're going to shoot JPEG, then I recommend turning the sharpening as low as it will possibly go. If you can disable altogether that's even better.
There are a few problems within camera sharpening. Obviously, the first is whether you like the level of sharpening or not, but also within camera sharpening, you're giving up some other control. Sharpening adds contrast to an image, so if the camera is sharpening, you've inherently lost some contrast control. The camera will have already upped the contrast a bit in its sharpening pass. Good Sharpening is performed after the image is properly sized for output, the camera by comparison is simply using generic sharpening settings. If you want to apply additional sharpening later, this could create problems.
For example, if you're going to blow the image up larger, you'll need to apply more sharpening, and this can be difficult to the image that has already been sharpened by the camera. You may not be able to get the sharpening you want, because your new sharpening pass will exaggerate the sharpening that the camera has already applied. So if you're shooting JPEG, lower your sharpening settings or better yet switch to shooting in Raw, so that you can have full control of the sharpening process.
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