- Why Your Images Need To Be Professionally Printed
- Why Metal Prints Are Great for Landscape Photos
- Three Things You Can Do Right Now To Improve Your Photography
- Key Tips for Getting High Quality Prints of Your Photos
- How To Take Your Landscape Photos To the Next Level
- Beautiful Printing Options for Your Favorite Photos
photo by Eloi_Omella via iStock
Large physical prints make an impression on viewers, especially when the images are well crafted. A high quality large format print such as an enlargement beyond 11x14 or 16x20 inches requires a good image file and excellent printing.
So part of the answer to the question of how to create excellent large format prints, or photo printing tips, will be about the photography and part of it about the printing.
What are the steps? Capture the best image file you can, process it so it can be printed, select the right printing solution, and then display it to be seen.
Capture High Quality Image Files
photo by Eloi_Omella via iStock
We can make a large format print of any file we have, but in order to have these giant prints look great, we should be concerned with the art and craft of our photography.
Whatever type of camera we have, we can maximize the quality of our photography by striving for excellence. It’s been said since I can remember reading Modern Photography and Modern Photography magazines all those years ago, “It’s the photographer, not the camera.”
Today’s digital camera systems are amazingly high quality. A photographer who knows what they’re doing can craft a superior image with an APS-C format beginner level camera with the basic kit lens. And we could make mistakes with our super sophisticated Full Frame pro level cameras and specialty lenses that cause our image quality to suffer.
The main thing is to find out what methods and techniques we can use with the equipment we’re currently using and get as good as we can with our photography. Proper exposure, good focus, appealing composition, and understanding light and color quality will result in image files that will make great looking large format prints.
Edit Photos for Printing
photo by valio84sl via iStock
Preparing images for lab printing or for printing on our own large format professional printers means we will be considering how to edit photos for printing with our post processing programs.
First, let’s not attempt to fix a photo with problems, instead let’s choose our best files to work on and then enhance them to their best potential. This is often one of the hardest parts of editing, culling down from our entire memory card to only our best images.
Next, we want to enhance our image with color and exposure adjustments to bring out the best parts of the image. When working on a good image file, subtle adjustments are often all that’s needed, but they can really be powerful in what they produce as an end result.
Cropping is an important tool for large format printing. A useful method is to decide on what the final enlargement size is going to be and then crop the final image to that ratio. So, if an enlargement of 40x60 inches is desired, that correlates pretty directly to a 4x6 image. A 30x40 inch large format print is just a bit off of the raising a 4x5 or 8x10 image relates to.
A lot of post processing programs allow custom sizing for the cropping tool. So go to the crop function, select custom size, and click “constrain cropping proportions” or whatever your program calls it, and type in the numbers you want as your enlargement size.
We want to do this ourselves, as possible, in order to be in control of the final large format print, since otherwise the lab or printing program will crop to create the size of the print which can result in a change to our carefully crafted composition.
As a further step, removing digital noise from the final image file is a good idea. Then, as we save to JPEG, choose the highest quality and least compression. If the printer or printing service allows using a TIFF or PSD, we might try those options too.
Select the Right Photo Printing Service
Having our own professional quality large format printer is nice, but these are very expensive and require a lot of maintenance to ensure consistent quality. Many professional photographers use a photo printing service, a method which goes back many years.
What is often beneficial about a photo printing service is the variety of sizes and materials available to us. With our own personal printer, we’re constrained by the size and what paper we have on hand.
With a printing service, we can choose from different types of paper, various finishes, and often these shops have non paper options such as canvas, metal, or acrylic printing.
A service that we at PhotographyTalk.com are fond of is Artbeat Studios, the winner of our 2020 Metal Print Shootout. They make 3 different types of paper prints as well as very large format prints on metal, acrylic, and canvas.
In addition to reasonable prices, important factors for choosing a printing service include fast turnaround, superb materials, professional craftsmanship, and excellent customer service, all of which Artbeat Studios excel at.
Display It To Be Seen
photo by syolacan via iStock
Art deserves to be seen, so display options are an important factor to also consider. Some large format prints, such as the giant metal prints seen earlier, can be displayed as is. Others may require matting, framing, or both.
Where to hang the prints is also important. A large format print deserves a prominent spot, good lighting will also add to the visual appearance. Some photographers like to have a light especially for the photo, others just want a well lit, open wall. Whatever works for the photo is appropriate.
Have fun choosing your files, preparing images for lab printing, choosing your large format printing options from a professional printing service, and displaying them for optimal viewing pleasure.