Join Taz Tally for an in-depth discussion in this video Best practices for exporting and printing black-and-white landscapes, part of Creating Black-and-White Landscape Photos with Lightroom.
- For our final project in helping us prepare our files for output I'm gonna give you some tips and tricks on printing and exporting to help you achieve the highest quality that you can on your final output of your images. To actually begin this discussion I wanna go all the way back to when you first capture your image and want to encourage you to capture your images in RAW file format. So you can see here we're in a large view and you can see the name .cr2. You can just press the I key when you're in large view to see the image information, or if you're in grid view you can press the J key to see the image information.
It's just easier when you're working in large view to press the I. So .cr2 format, it's a Canon RAW file format. The advantage of this is several fold. One is when you capture in a RAW file format it's supposed to, like a TIFF, or in particular a JPEG, more than 256 shades of grey, be capturing 12, 14, or 16 bits per pixel, which will give you thousands of shades of grey to work with, which is really helpful, particularly when you're doing a lot of editing, like we've been doing, converting our RGB images into greyscale images. So start with a high quality RAW file and it's gonna give you the best quality data to start with.
Then when you wanna go to output, in this case let's go ahead and go over to the Print dialog box, and remember always check on what your dimensions are, your original dimensions in your image and not to exceed those. And if you skipped the previous movie on image dimensions, and pixels, and resolution I'd encourage you to go back and take a look at that, because that's one of the first things you wanna pay attention to when you go to the Print dialog box. Alright, in the Print dialog box you choose your printer, of course, and your page set up, and then down here underneath Layout you wanna make sure you don't exceed the print dimensions of the image.
Which based upon the previous movie we know is about 15 inches for the maximum dimension. And the Cell Size here, which is the Print size for a single image, is gonna be set by the paper and the dimensions that you've set for your printer in your print dialog box in your printer driver. But remember you can easily, with large format printers, exceed the pixel dimensions that your data in your image can actually support, so be careful about that. Okay, and then down underneath the Print Job several things to pay attention to. One is be sure to set your linear resolution to match the output device that you're going to.
240 pixels per inch for high quality wide format inkjet printers, 300 pixels per inch if you're going to commercial print device. If you're not sure what your linear resolution is supposed to be, look it up, find out from the manufacturer. Now Print Sharpening, this is an important one. Remember we went over sharpening earlier in this chapter with the dialog box that gives you the most control. If you've already sharpened your image don't sharpen it again on output. All the output and export dialog boxes allow you to sharpen your images, so be very clear as to whether that detail slash sharpening dialog box has been applied to your image already.
You don't want to double sharpen your image. And you don't have much control here, right, you can go Low, Standard, or High, and then choose a Media Type and that's it. Which is fine for draft versions or low quality, but for final output I really recommend you use the sharpening dialog box and then turn this off here. For your Output, most print devices at this point don't support 16-Bits of data on Output, so check that off. If you don't know, ask, or find out from your manufacturer. So turn that off unless it can support 16-Bits of data.
Most of the time we're editing in 16-Bit, but outputting a final 8-Bit. Alright, and then finally you wanna choose the Profile, which is either gonna be Managed by the Printer, or you'll choose your own printer Profile from a list of printer and paper matches. So those are the key things to pay attention to, don't enlarge your file any more than the pixels can support, set the linear resolution to match the output device, avoid Print Sharpening, set your print output in terms of Bit Depth for what matches the Output device, and use the Profile for your printing device and the paper that you're printing to.
Alright, now let's go to the Export dialog box, we'll go back to G to the grid view, and you can just click Export here, or you can go File and choose Export here, or use the keyboard shortcut, they all take you to the same place. Couple of things to pay attention to, and when you're gonna be using the Export dialog box, (mumbling) when you're sending a file to somebody else. In this case let's talk about printing, because that's the most quality demanding in terms of output for your file. Choose the folder where you want it to go, I'm just gonna put it in the same folder we're starting to. Always check the Add This to the Catalog, so that your new file that you're creating will be added to your Lightroom catalog.
Then underneath the Rename, go ahead and turn that on, and I like to put _Print next to a file that I'm preparing for print, because that tells me just in a quick view, oh, that's a file that I've already prepared for print. Yep, good idea to do that. And then underneath File Formats, either the .psd or the TIFF is gonna be your preferred format in most cases for output. Not all devices support .psd files, but pretty much all devices will support TIFF, so I recommend TIFF as a general file format for output. If you're going for the web of course JPEG is gonna be what you'll wanna use.
So TIFF, uncompressed, no Compression over here. Again, match the Bit Depth to the output device you're gonna be going to, typically that's gonna be 8 bits. And then underneath Image Sizing you wanna choose the Resolution for the output device that you're going to, say 240 pixels per inch say for an inkjet (mumbling), or 300 pixels per inch for a high quality commercial printing press. And then make sure that the Long Edge doesn't exceed the maximum dimension that your image can support. And notice in the previous movie we determined that was gonna be 15 inches here.
So for this particular file, given the internal pixel dimensions, so 3648 by 2736. And then finally for Sharpening, same instructions, don't over sharpen your image. And notice here we don't have a lot of choices here anyway, Alright, Low, Standard, and High, and then some media. If this is for quick and dirty output, don't sharpen it in the Lightroom interface and sharpen it here, but if you wanna get maximum control over your sharpening, do it in the detail dialog box and then turn it off here.
Don't double sharpen your images. And that's particularly true if you're outputting to JPEGs for viewing on screen, is if you double sharpen an image boy it can really show up because the artifacts from the JPEG compression can be really exacerbated. Alright, so there's all the tips and tricks for kind of setting up your files, make sure you get maximum quality. Oh, one other thing I wanted to mention was Color Space. Is I generally recommend that most people used AdobeRGB as their default Color Space. And set that up on your camera and use it in Lightroom as well.
If the default is sRGB I suggest you use AdobeRGB. If you're a commercial photographer and you're printing color to high dynamic range printers then you can use ProPhoto, but at any rate, stick with the same color profile throughout your workflow and AdobeRGB is a good standard point to use. So there you go and by the way, when you set this up, if you use this same set up all the time you can just choose Add at this point and you can call this the Print dialog box. You might have a couple of different ones, so this might be the Inkjet Print dialog box, and you can Create it and that will occur underneath your User Presets.
And then all you have to do is just click that and everything is preset for you. And you may choose to create another one for commercial print, one for web. I've got a couple of dozen of these that I use for various kinds of output devices. Alright, then when you get all done you just click Export. Remember, in our set up we told the Export dialog box to add this to the Lightroom catalog, so it does automatically, as you see here. And there's our image, which is automatically designated as a Print image, and there's the file format that you see is tif right there, and so it's really easy to see that that's the file that you've created for final output.
So there's some tips and tricks on helping you prepare your files and maintain image quality as much as you possibly can during the Print and the Export dialog box process.
- Understanding channels
- Measuring and adjusting brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows
- Working in the Develop module
- Fine-tuning contrast with tone-based adjustments
- Adjusting color
- Making mask-based adjustments
- Sharpening, sharing, and printing