photo by scanrail via iStock
I often talk in my articles and videos about the many benefits you can derive from printing your photos.
There’s just something about having a physical print of one of your images. Being able to see it and touch it in real life - as opposed to looking at it on your computer screen - can be a great learning experience. Your successes and failures with the image will be on full display. It can be a true learning moment for beginner photographers.
But how do you go about printing photos?
In this guide, we’ll discuss a few beginner tips that will help you get the best prints.
Calibrate Your Computer Monitor
photo by Rawpixel via iStock
The first of my beginner tips for printing photos is to calibrate your computer monitor.
I won’t get too technical here, but color calibration ensures that the colors you see on screen are a common color standard or profile. This is critically important when having images printed because without it, the colors you see on your screen could be different than those represented in the images you have printed.
For example, if you don’t calibrate your monitor, an image with beautiful red tones on your screen could end up being more orange or purple in a print of that same image.
What’s more, even if you don’t intend to print your images, calibrating your monitor will ensure that the images you share on social media adhere to common color standards.
In either case, there’s not much point of working tirelessly in post-processing to perfect the way your images look if you don’t take the time to calibrate your monitor. It’s not a terribly complex process, either, as explained in the video above by Pixel Village.
Remember as well that monitor calibration is not a one and done thing - you need to calibrate your monitor periodically to maintain color accuracy.
Get Cozy With Color Management
photo by RossHelen via iStock
Closely related to monitor calibration is color management.
Where monitor calibration ensures that our screens are adhering to a common color standard, color management involves an equally important concept: choosing the right color space.
WIth regard to color space, printing images requires that you use the right color space when exporting your images from your post-processing program. Many photographers use either AdobeRGB or sRGB, though there are many other options. Personally, I tend to use AdobeRGB because it has a wider range of color tones available and you can convert files to sRGB if you need to.
If you’re printing your photos, it’s best to consult with the printing company to see if they have a preferred color space. Doing so will ensure you’re both on the same page and that the colors in the print look as you intended. For example, I use Metal Mouth Prints a lot, and they recommend using either AdobeRGB or sRGB.
Sharpen the Image File
photo by gorodenkoff via iStock
When printing photos, it’s advisable to sharpen the image file in post-processing.
But this isn’t as simple as cranking up the sharpening willy-nilly. Instead, it needs to be done purposefully.
For example, the level of sharpening required depends on the size of the print. For smaller prints, you can get away with more sharpening than you can for larger prints. So, if you’re getting an enormous print done, take it easy on the sharpening, otherwise the noise introduced from the sharpening process will be extremely noticeable.
Another factor that affects how much you should sharpen the image file is the medium on which you intend to have the image printed.
Canvas, because of its texture, is quite forgiving, so you can sharpen the image more than if you were to have the image printed on a different medium, like acrylic.
I’m a big fan of metal prints, but I have to be careful of how much I sharpen my images because noise from too much sharpening shows up pretty easily on metal.
Speaking of the Medium…
photo by KOSTYAZAR via iStock
Getting prints of your photos also requires that you think about the medium on which you want the image printed.
There are plenty of options here - paper, acrylic, metal, and even wood. Each medium has its advantages and disadvantages and gives the image a different look and feel.
As I noted a moment ago, I have a soft spot for metal prints. I like their sleek, modern look, and as a landscape photographer, I love how metal makes the colors in my photos really pop.
You need to consider the finish of the print, too.
Let’s use metal prints as an example again…
Metal Mouth Prints
Earlier, I mentioned that I like using Metal Mouth Prints. If you visit their website, you can get a feel for all the finishing options you have.
You can get metal prints with a glossy, semi-gloss, or matte finish. You can even opt for white or clear finish.
Glossy metal prints are obviously extremely reflective, while semi-gloss takes it down a notch. Matte prints have a very flat presentation due to the low reflectivity.
White metal is a great choice because it has a similar finish to white paper. As such, the colors in the image come out just as expected. Clear metal, on the other hand, has a translucent coating that reveals the brushed silver aluminum. According to the folks at Metal Mouth Prints, a white glossy finish is the most popular because it offers a mirror-like finish, has wonderful depth, and beautiful colors that are highly saturated.
Metal Mouth Prints
But the finish you get will depend on your personal preference and on the specific image you are having printed. For most folks, glossy is the way to go, but your images might show better with a semi-gloss or matte finish.
If you’re not sure what finish would be best for your image, you can always ask the printing company for advice. When I order prints, I make a habit of asking a lot of questions about the printing process, that way I ensure that the print I get in the mail is spot-on.
So, if you’ve got an image you’d like to print, follow these simple tips, find yourself a great printing company, and enjoy your best photos as beautiful pieces of art in your home.
Don't Forget About Printing Old Photos, Either...
PhotoRepairPro makes it convenient for you to have old photos restored.
Of course, printing photos isn't a process that's constrained by using only new images.
Today, you can have old photos that are damaged completely restored to look like they originally did, and those images make for excellent options for prints.
The photo repair services available today are truly incredible in the results they provide, particularly if you go with an industry leader like PhotoRepairPro.
These guys were the go-to photo restoration company for Costco for a decade, so you know that they have what it takes to repair your photos to tip-top shape.
Whether the old photos you want to print are creased, torn, faded, or have water damage, the pros at PhotoRepairPro will work diligently to bring your images back to life.
Then, once the restoration is complete, you'll have a JPEG file to upload to your favorite printer to have the image printed in whatever format you like.
Not only that, but PhotoRepairPro also sends you an online proof and two 5x7 prints of the image! That's not a bad deal at all!