Here at 36exp, we don’t make enough prints and rely too much on viewing images on an iPad, TV or Laptop. This is bad, because whenever we make the effort to print a photo it usually looks amazing. A well made print is a thing of beauty and looks fantastic on the wall. So why not do it more?
Maybe part of the reason is that it can be a bit of a lottery, and the final printed image barely resembles the photo on the screen. There are a number of factors that come into effect here, so we’ve teamed up with our favourite London Printer to give you some tips on how to make a stunning print every time.
Point 101 have a wide variety of customers that print with them. From enthusiasts starting their photography journey to established galleries that plan their exhibitions months in advance. They are our recommended printer for the London Photo Show in 2016.
Tips for making great prints
There are common printing pitfalls that can be avoided by following some simple tips:
Make sure you shoot your images in RAW and/or Adobe RGB
You’ll want your prints to be vivid and detailed, and include as much colour information as possible. Each time we receive a photo from a customer to print, it will include a colour space – this represents the gamut of colours that we can potentially print from.
Shooting in RAW includes all the sensor data from your camera which means you can output the image file in different colour spaces. This gives you flexibility to display them online or in print. For example you can output your file in Adobe RGB which is the colour space we recommend you send us your images in for the best results. The disadvantage is it takes up more memory on your card and can limit the speed of your camera if you’re taking lots of photos at once. You also need a bit more time and experience to process your images after you’ve taken them.
If you shoot in RAW and JPEG mode (set to Adobe RGB) on your camera it means you have the best of both worlds. You can easily upload your JPEGs via our website but still have the RAW file to reference at a later date as and when you have time.
Shoot your images at the highest possible resolution and lowest ISO
You never know which images you might want to print and display so make sure you have the maximum number of pixels in each file! Take an extra memory card or two and remember that 150 PPI at the intended print size is a good basis to work from but 240 PPI is even better. The larger you go in print, the more forgiving you can be about the resolution. Our eyes seemingly resolves detail when the viewing distance is greater for larger prints.
When you upload a print on Point101’s website we have a resolution checker and viewing distance tool, making this easy for you to determine.
Also remember that using the lowest ISO that still gives you the exposure yo want will also result in less noise at bigger print sizes.
Leave enough time to do a test print and calibrate your monitor
If you’re doing a set of images of the same scene or similar lighting conditions then just try a test print with us first before you go ahead with printing the rest of your project. This will give you the confidence to go ahead with a larger batch of prints if you’re aiming to exhibit or sell them from your website. It also means you have a physical proof to test the colour accuracy.
For more advanced users and to give you a good indication of how your photos will print, its wise to invest in a calibration tool for your monitor. This means you’ll be able to soft proof your images, i.e. preview what the print colours will look like on your screen before you send them to print. However, if you’re just starting out you can be confident that we’ll provide natural and accurate colour that closely represents your aspirations for that image – and we’re always happy to offer advice and suggestions on your prints.
Be familiar with the giclee paper choices on offer
Point101 offers 8 different giclee paper choices. Each one offers rich tones, excellent colour reproduction and superb longevity. Often your choice will be image dependant. Gloss papers offer bright punchy colours that contribute to the impact of scenes and deep blacks.
Matt papers may feel more authentic to the touch and offer a subtler look and feel. There are no right or wrong choices but you may feel an urge to go with one paper over another once you’ve seen printed examples of your work. To give you a good idea of the differences in texture and finish, we offer sample packs available to order online.
For further advice and information, please visit their website.
Andrew is a professional photographer and the founder of the 36exp Photographers School plus the London Photo Show.
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