BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Sara L.

Digital Prints

Hi. I am sorry already, I know this will be a stupid question. I am very new to digital photography. I want to know how to develop my digital images as prints. I enjoy bringing in my 35mm film to get developed into 4x6's, but don't know how to get my digitals developed other then sending them over the internet. Can I put the images on a floppy disk or a CD? Once again I know this is a basic questions, but I am REALLY new at this. Thanks!

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7/29/2003 7:29:54 PM

doug Nelson
  This is not a stupid question. When my office was ordered to go digital, five middle aged men struggled with this issue for months. Or maybe we're all stupid.
A digital image can come from shooting digital pictures with a digital camera, or from scanning your 4 x 6 (or any size) prints with a flatbed scanner. It's also possible to scan film with a specialized type of scanner.

You can transfer your digital images from your camera directly into your computer, into a file you make for this purpose. The software that came with your camera should be able to walk you through this.

You can also scan your prints on an office flatbed scanner into an imaging program like Elements or Paint Shop Pro (or into the software that came with your digital camera) and put them into a file on your hard drive.

Either way, you can put these files onto a CD or a floppy. Just set aside a file for your pictures and follow the instructions in a thread given earlier in this Q and A on "burning" CD's. Don't worry if your computer tells you that a floppy does not have anough space to hold even one of your digital images. A CD will hold quite a few.
Here's the kicker: Digital images that look OK on screen are sometimes not high enough resolution to print. A provider of services who takes your digital images (or your 35-mm film), and gives you back a CD may or may not give you print resolution.
Whether he can depends on a few factors. Was your digital camera set at its best possible resolution, or highest quality? If you scanned, did you scan at 200-300 pixels per inch for a print the same size as your original?

If you covered the bases at your end, is this processor compressing your images into JPEGs and into small image dimensions? A Wal-Mart provider gave my daughter back image 400 pixels wide. They even look terrible on screen.
If you are not satisfied with what these providers are giving you, consider doing your own printing.
Shoot at your best image quality for shots you know you'll want to print. Transfer them to your computer and go into the imaging software and crop them, take out the tree limb growing out of your boyfriend's head, fix the brightness or contrast, and make the image the size you wan to print. For that last step, be sure you don't throw out any pixels when you do that. After you click OK, the file size (total number of pixels in the image expressed as megabytes) should remain the same. If it has changed, Undo it, and try it again. If there's a block to UNcheck Resample, uncheck it.

If you are connected to one of the dandy little $80-150 printers Epson or HP makes, you're on your way to doing your own prints better than the shop gives you. Get back with us if you run into problems.

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7/30/2003 6:00:38 AM

Beverly Gustafson   Hello Sara – Since I print all my own digital images, from 4x6 up to 13x19, I needed to find the best way to accomplish that. The very first thing I do is save a copy of my original file as a .tiff and put away the original .jpg – this preserves your original as a digital negative. Tiff files are loss less, meaning that whatever you do to your image it will not affect the quality of that image.
(I usually add a T to the file name when I save to ID it as my working tiff file )

After you have done all the adjustments (levels, constrast, unsharp mask) on your photo, go to image/mode/assign profile; change the color profile from sRGB to Adobe RGB(1998). The adobe profile is setup for truer color when you output your file to print, whether inkjet or photolab.

The last thing I do is resize my file for print: go to image/image size; from there uncheck the resample image box at the bottom of the window and then change the dimensions of the file to the finished size you want to print. You will notice that your sizes will not be exactly 4x6, 5x7 etc. however you can crop to the desired size after you resize. If I plan to crop the original anyway, I usually do that before I resize. Save your finished photos as. tiff (here I add a lowercase e to the file name to ID it as my finished file ready for printing)

If you then want to take your digital photos to a photolab for printing, like Walmart, burn your adjusted and resized files onto a CD and let the lab use those to print from, just be sure to tell them NOT to crop. The image size file you give them to print is the print size you will get back, so if you want 4x6’s and 5x7’s be sure you have finished files in those sizes on your CD. I hope I haven’t confused you totally; you can email me if you want with any questions, and maybe I can help. Happy shooting! Beverly :-) (

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8/13/2003 5:24:47 AM

Brinn MacDougall
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/2/2002
  Just another tip. When saving as, make sure you have selected the least compression. That way you won't loose kb or mb when saving...look under file for this option.

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8/13/2003 11:31:58 AM

Vlad    and please remeber what a most printers do not resize image within firmware part. Resizing is your work and better test a different kind of resizing, cause image details is so different. For example printout is 8*11 inches and image for printing is must be at least 4*5.5 inches. Resizing always before processing with colours. Just may be denoise is a first operation. NeatImage is the best what I saw. Working with YCbCr color space.

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8/28/2003 5:58:09 PM

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