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Photography QnA: Printing Digital Pictures

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Category: All About Photography : Digital Photographic Discussions - Imaging Basics : Printing Digital Pictures

Find the best rated printer for printing digital pictures or find tips for making your digital pictures print out better in this Q&A.

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Photography Question 
Sherri L. Regalbuto
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  11 .  How to Make a Large Print
Hi, I have been asked for a large print 36x42 from a client. I'm wondering if an 8 TIFF will suffice, shot in RAW and processed. I use a 20D with a 24-70 2.8 Canon lens, so the image sharpness is amazing. I've only ever offered up to 16x20, which my camera has done very nicely.

3/2/2008 1:53:39 PM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  The short answer: You should have no trouble with a print that large from the 20D, especially if printed at a professional print shop with high-end equipment. Of course, there are many variables like: Did you crop, and if so, how much? What ISO did you use? Was the exposure correct, or did you have to fix it during processing? How sharp is it? I'm sure there are other factors.

3/3/2008 7:32:20 AM

Sherri L. Regalbuto
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  Thanks David, I thought so but I've never done it.

3/3/2008 7:58:30 AM

  Sherri,
The result depends on the quality you are looking for, the printer you are using, and a few other things. Your resolution on the 20D is 3502 x 2336 pixels, which translates to about 14.6 x 9.33 inches at 240 ppi - often a good number to look at for higher resolution printing. This is all the real detail you will ever have in the image no matter how you process, upsize, or what plugins you use. The kind of size you are talking about printing here realistically translates to about 83ppi at 42x36 ... extremely low resolution - closer to what you get in Web images, and about 1/3rd the generally recommended resolution for sharp prints.
Sure, you can print it. You'd be able to print any image at that size ... the question becomes more about acceptable quality and file handling. As to what happens when you start blowing images up to 3 times their resolution to get a print, what you expect and what the client does become real issues. The client may likely know less about images and resolution than you will and might expect details to remain sharp - or even somehow enhanced after resizing. Quite the contrary, that much upsizing will noticeably soften edges, and details will no longer be as sharp. Certainly a larger image won't be scrutinized from as close. So perfect sharpness may not matter as much, but any tiny flaw in the image will be amplified, and may require more meticulous care in post-processing.
By 8 TIFF, do you mean an 8-bit TIFF? Printers only handle 8-bits anyway (or convert from 16 to 8), so the extra file size of a 16-bit wouldn't improve results anyway. More to the point:
* Are you planning on resizing before submitting to the service?
* If so, to what resolution?
* How are you planning to sharpen/compensate?
* What type of printer is the service using?
* Have you tested the output?
I cover these issues in far more detail in my courses (notably From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow and Photoshop 101: the Photoshop Essentials Primer
If you are really considering doing such large prints in the future, you may have to consider a more substantial camera depending on the quality you expect.
I hope that helps!
Richard Lynch

3/3/2008 10:19:40 AM

Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2005
  hi Serri,
the above are terrific answers, but here's a more practical one.
Upload the file to your favorite photo processor for large files, I like 'ePingo.com ' then ask them what they think the results would be at your requested size.(you could even discuss this with them over the phone).
Good Luck.

3/4/2008 4:37:12 AM

  Joe,
I appreciate your stance and I do think it is good to check with the service you'll be using. On the other hand, often contact points for these services are staffed by students, youngsters, and attendants rather than professionals or imaging technicians. You may be able to get a knowledgeable person on the phone, but you won't always know what their expertise is -- or their tastes. I worked in pre-press, layout, and image editing for photography and art book production, and have been a part of digital imaging for about 17 years. I would guess my understanding of process is as good as any--better than most.

In the end, whether you please the eye of some technician you talk to on the phone or your own eye is a matter of taste that will not be easily resolved in a phone call. Understanding the process, knowing what you need, what the limitations you have are, testing the output, and judging the results on your own are likely far better meters of success and future results than seeing through a technicians eye on the phone.

In the end I consider my eye the one that needs to be pleased when my work is printed. I would assume most who are serious about their work feel the same way.

Richard Lynch

3/4/2008 5:38:10 AM

Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2005
  your point is well taken Richard. I only recommend sites that I have had obtained excellent results, over and over again. If you want excellent large size prints, mounted or otherwise, along with expert, caring advise (no students or youngsters) e-pinogo.com is one good site to try. If you want great photo t-shirts you can wash hundreds of times and still be happy with your photo,then you have to try winkflash.com. The sites I recomment to others is just because I like to help others find quality sites, and I only found them after being dissapointed many times before finding them.

3/4/2008 9:15:12 AM

Anonymous 

member since: 2/10/2008
  I know a way, but you have to know someone with a high end camera. Have your photograph professionaly printed to an 8x10. Then have them photograph your picture with their 16mp camera. Now you can blow it up 36x42 with no problem. I know someone that has done it and the quality is perfect. The lighting part of it is tricky with glare but with a little practice you'll get it.

3/9/2008 5:09:16 AM

  Paul,
Realistically all that can do is blur the result. You will not gain resolution in the image by going down a generation (i.e., print, photograph print, print again). Effectively this is a variation on simply adding interpolation to the current image, but likely with less reliable results (due to transfer effects -- like lighting as you mention). That and it will be more expensive.

Richard Lynch

3/9/2008 6:17:23 AM

Anonymous 

member since: 2/10/2008
  Do you think they lied to me? I have taken a photograph of a 5x7 and compared it to my file on my monitor and I couldn't tell the difference.

3/9/2008 6:23:59 AM

  Well, yes -- or more likely they didn't think it through. When you have pixels you have the finite resolution of the image. You can upsize with interpolation which is adding pixels...the process described just does interpolation, it just does it in a more convoluted and expensive path. Resolution does not improve when you print -- it goes down a generation, and degrades/softens. There is processing involved, interpolation, softening, perhaps digital sharpening depending on the process...but the result is certainly not more sharp or detail-filled than when you had the original information. Where would the new information come from?

When a business can make money by offering such a service, it may be possible for them to have another motive...however, if they believe this works, they are not technically logical. In either case, I would not expect better results from this than simply adding resolution to the current image.

When I say 'blur' I mean that interpolation adds content by effectively blurring the different between adjacent pixels to create a new pixel -- and their 'method' dos about the same.

Your original capture can never gain detail. Images can be adjusted, but that stuff you see on TV where the images get sharper and a blurry license plate suddenly has numbers and letters is reverse engineered. You need to capture the details.

Richard Lynch

3/9/2008 6:40:11 AM

Anonymous 

member since: 2/10/2008
  I'll have to grill him when I see him next. Right when you walk through his front door hanging on the wall is poster size photo of a glacier he shot in Alaska on a trip which he shot with a 4mp camera. He said he had a photographer shoot his 8x10, which was perfect, with his 16mp and got the file.
I have never seen the original shot.
Is it possible the photographer added pixels to the original file and played out that he did what my friend wanted.

3/9/2008 10:07:16 AM

  The scenario is possible, it just has no reason to be 'better' reshooting a blowup. Think about it this way: would you do it with film?

If someone is actually going through the trouble, it seems like, well, trouble to me. Far easier to just resize. That is not to say there aren't better and worse ways to resize your images.

Richard Lynch

3/9/2008 11:06:45 AM

Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2005
  this is becoming quite comical to say the least....someone just try this...upload a sharp file (shot with a 5 megapixel camera (min)...upload it to
www.epingo.com....now see what size print they will allow you to make. If the size your requesting won't produce a quality print they will tell you.
Now how simple can that be?

3/9/2008 11:55:09 AM

Sherri L. Regalbuto
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/8/2004
  Joe, I'm taking your advice and letting the other two hash out their issues. Being a photographer I'm not likely to take photos of photos.

3/9/2008 12:43:31 PM

  Joe, how is epingo going to tell someone what they will be satisfied with?

It may be simple to ask, but I don't think relying on someone else's idea of what looks good is very much like being a photographer. Likewise I don't rely on Photoshop's AUTO tools to make corrections, mostly because Photoshop can't see.

Do you often let people look through your viewfinder to approve of the framing before you trip the shutter? To me this issue is a similar thing.

Sherri, my guess is you will not be satisfied with blowing something up that large from your originals, regardless of the process, as the source is not made to create such large prints. My math, earlier, was an attempt to help you see why. epingo may have a different opinion, and you may pay for it.

Richard Lynch

3/9/2008 12:52:43 PM

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Photography Question 
Michele King

member since: 3/11/2005
  12 .  Calibrating Camera, Monitor and Lab
My Canon 5D is set at 5200K, but my lab told me to calibrate my monitor as daylight set at 5500K and my monitor calibration software only offers the choices of 5000K or 6500K as choices. Should I try to set all of my WB to the same number and where do I start? Also any suggestions on monitor calibration software? I use Spyder 2 Suite currently.

2/18/2008 9:22:16 AM

  Michele,
I'd go by the recommendations of the monitor manufacturer over the recommendations of the lab. I am not sure that their recommendations are correct. Is white balance on your camera always set to 5200?
Where you really need to start is with a broader understanding of what all these settings do and why they are important. If there were one right setting, everyone would have the same ones and there would be no choices.
Back up and start with monitor calibration using the tools you already have. Be sure to read the monitor's manual as well. I teach a whole course on color management - (From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow) - so it isn't likely I would be able to answer all of your questions here satisfactorily, but calibration is a great place to start!

Richard Lynch

2/18/2008 2:19:41 PM

Michele King

member since: 3/11/2005
  Thanks Richard, I will look intoyour class and do what you recommend. I just purchased my 5D and 5200 is what it was set to and it is changeable. I will do more reading!
Thanks!

2/18/2008 5:15:44 PM

DERIK S. HENSLEY
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/18/2006
  Dear each one, I want to know about my nikon D200 self 3872x2592 Pixel/300dpi can up to 20x40 or more inches. if will work or make 20x40 print will not good photo? but I m cruise Can will set up make 20x40 or more inches with 300 dpi use Photoshop will stay same quality photo as not drop?

and question about a print is self what DPI?

Thank you, DERIK

10/18/2009 12:56:54 PM

  whenever you make a photo larger by adding pixels, you are adding image information that wasn't there before. It is interpolated, and is a digital 'guess'. At some point, the image will start to get softer. Optimal printing and use of image information depends on the printer and output method as well as the media (e.g., type of paper) It is not possible to say that a specific pixel dimension will always yield good results at any particular size without knowing more.

Richard Lynch

10/18/2009 1:32:33 PM

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Photography Question 
Carolyn Withem
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/6/2004
  13 .  Formatting Digital File for Pro Lab to Print?
Hi,
I want to have a professional lab print my digital images. I own a Canon 5D and have it set to Raw, and Adobe RGB. I have Photoshop CS3 set to Adobe RGB 1998, and use 16Bit to bring them in to touch up. I save everything in TIFF. Should I just crop to the size I want and then save to a CD and take it in?

2/15/2008 5:05:15 AM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Carolyn, ask the lab. Most likely, you should save as a large jpeg after all corrections are done in CS3. Also, check with the lab on color space. You should start with a calibrated monitor and not have the lab do any correction.

Yes, you do the crop - don't rely on someone else to decide how to crop your photo. You'll not like the results if you do.

John

2/15/2008 6:05:25 AM

  As John said, the lab should be best with their procedures, but I don't know that relying on them alone is the best method: knowing what to expect from color modes and such will end up empowering you to make good decisions. For example, generally you won't want to submit 16-bit information as it can't be printed. Depending on the printer type, it may be best to submit sRGB rather than AdobeRGB - the latter can be a detriment just as easily as an asset. I've a whole course about it (From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow).
Making the best corrections to your images is always the best positioning for good results - as much or more than the color space you use (as long as you are using a proper workflow). Again, I've a few classes on correction: (Leveraging Layers: Photoshop's Most Powerful Tool and Correct and Enhance Your Images). Saving to a non-lossy format (flattened, tidied TIFF) may be slightly better than JPEG, which uses a lossy compression. Some services will allow FTP and other quick edits, like cropping, or fitting to a paper size which may save a few bucks when printing odd sizes. Depends on the service.
I always outsource, and consider it a better idea ... fewer headaches, better equipment, no maintenance.

2/15/2008 9:22:09 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  I agree that you Must call the lab or read their websites FAQ section. I send photos to 5 labs depending on my printing needs and all 5 request JPEGs now. I don't think JPEGs can be saved in 16bit. All my labs print SrGB not Adobe so I've changed my monitors and camera. The TIFFs would take far too long to upload anyways (50mg). TIFFs should always be made to prevent compression (I do this only with my final best images). On most of the sites I use I'll upload a 8x12 since it makes it easier for people to purchase 4x6s, 5x7s or the 8x12.

2/15/2008 9:55:07 AM

  Oliver,
You can use compression with TIFF that is lossless...generally LZW is suggested. TIFF will also have more heft if you leave some things in there that a JPEG would discard -- like extra channels (saved selections), paths, layers, 8-bit (not 16), etc.

Saved with these precautions, an 8x12 TIF @ 305 ppi (3660x2440) is just about 7.5MB.

Hope that helps.

Richard Lynch

2/15/2008 10:46:50 AM

Carolyn Withem
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/6/2004
  John, Richard, and Oliver
Thank you so much for the advice and all the wonderful information. With that information I was better able to ask the right questions and in turn get the answers I needed.
Thomson Photo in Knoxville TN. was very helpful. They do accept Jpeg or Tif depending on the size of the picture, and they use Adobe RGB, and 8bit.
So thank you again for your help:)

2/15/2008 11:28:26 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  Good to know...
FYI Richard & Carolyn...less and less printhouses are accepting TIFF's I've noticed. I do admit with my Canvas and larger posters TIFFs are better than the JPEGs...the posters were accepted at 400ppi

2/15/2008 12:03:43 PM

Carolyn Withem
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/6/2004
  I called again and asked about ppi. They said 300dpi. I know there is a difference between dpi and ppi. I was talking about ppi. This time I wasn't talking with the person in charge of the printers so I didn't pursue it. I will next time I go in.
Glad you said something.

2/15/2008 12:27:30 PM

  Carolyn,
It is common for ppi and dpi to be exchanged, so I wouldn't worry about it. Better that you know the right way even if the lab people are sloppy in terminology.

Richard Lynch

2/17/2008 7:08:53 AM

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Photography Question 
Chris N. Sweet
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/17/2007
  14 .  Are My Images Underexposed?
Hi everyone! I am having serious issues with monitor calibration (I use 2 cheap screens that don't seem to adjust properly), and I am not sure if what I see when I print is accurate or not. What I have done is adjusted my monitors to match my printer profile as best I can, and this has resulted in the last few images I uploaded looking underexposed!
Could someone who knows their monitors to be true please have a look at my latest uploads (the ones of clevedon pier and such) and let me know what you think of the exposure so I can gauge whether it is my monitors or my printer profile? Thank you so much for your help!

1/30/2008 4:16:30 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  I'm surprised your brother Tony didn't help you.
The first two do look dark. But I'm not sure if it's because of your monitor. I might say it is your monitor if I knew if or what you did to the picture afterwards.
I'm thinking that it's how you took the picture, if not a combination of both. You are silhouetting everything. And you also have something that's tall relative to the frame up close, taking up a chunk of space. If you were farther back, the picture might look better overall. It would reduce the size of the big thing and make more of the highlights more prominent.
But, I want to say you might just be under exposing because of trying to get a sunset. Even to get a silhouette, you have to open up some to keep everything else that shows detail(sky, tops of rocks, ground) to look right.

1/30/2008 11:44:08 PM

  If you are not sure that what you see is accurate, you may want to get sure. Monitor calibration is a first and necessary step in getting your images to behave and your process to become predictable. You can't just ask a few people how it looks and hope that they have their screens looking right. You also can't depend on what your printer is spitting out to be accurate as color management will play into that as well as the character of the printer and paper. Calibrate your own monitor and stop guessing.
I use a Color Vision Spyder, but the Spyder Express that is well under $100 will do what you need and probably save you that amount in testing and wasted time if you do printing at home.
I also teach some courses here at BetterPhoto that look at the whole process of making your images the best they can be, and defining a workflow: Correct and Enhance Your Images and From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow. The process of correcting and enhancing and following a stable color workflow covers a whole process, not just one point (monitor calibration) or another (printer profiles). It works as a continuum.
All that said, the beginning series seems it may be a bit under-exposed, BUT I also don't know what you did to them. You shoot in RAW, but that doesn't mean there is no compensation happening when the image is opened even if you are not doing something Camera RAW is. Unless you have manipulated these a lot already, you can make adjustments to effectively bring more out of the images. if they look right on your screen, likely your screen is a bit too bright ... and just lowering the brightness is NOT the best way to be sure it is correct. That, and some of what Gregory said too ;-)

1/31/2008 8:27:09 AM

Chris N. Sweet
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/17/2007
  Thanks guys.
By the way, I dont have a brother called Tony!

1/31/2008 2:07:03 PM

  Tony Sweet, one of the illustrious instructors here at betterphoto ;-)

2/1/2008 5:01:25 AM

Giordano 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/13/2006
  Hi Chris,

Whatever you do, stay away from Pantone Huey.

Gio

2/1/2008 5:49:24 AM

Chris N. Sweet
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/17/2007
  To be honest guys, I think I am going to have to replace my monitors, I cant get them balanced and one of them has a blue cast to it which I cant get rid of! They dont adjust as they should so I think hardware calibration tools such as eyeone etc would be a waste of time.
Cheers for you advice guys.

2/1/2008 12:44:21 PM

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Photography Question 
Tina Woods
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/1/2006
  15 .  Printing On-Site at an Event
I shoot bodybuilding competitions, but one organization is now asking me to do on-site printing. I could really use some guidance. Is it worth the trouble? What printers are best? Does any printer create 8x10 prints on-site or are they all smaller. Thanks!

11/6/2007 12:08:20 PM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Tina, for event shoots like these, those photographers who do offer on-site prints usually use dye sublimation printers. Kodak makes a number of models, as do a couple of other companies - though sadly they seem to have disconinued their 1400 model. It costs around $500 and can print up to 8x12" output.
The advantages of dye subs are twofold: The output looks more "photo-like" than most inkjet output, and there is no chance of running out of one color of ink. Rather, a type of ink ribbon is used that is consumed 1:1 with the prints - meaning you also know exactly the cost per print.
The downside of dye sub is that you are only able to use the paper/ink that is offered by the manufacturer - generally there are not a lot of options (glossy and matte, for instance). Even though the 1400 was discontinued, you can still get supplies and probably will be able to do so for a few more years.

11/6/2007 12:57:18 PM

Joel Garza

member since: 6/14/2005
  Tina, is this to increase your sales or just a wish of the event holder? check with yout local pro-shop on renting dye-sub printers. Depending on the shop, you may be able to rent a printer before making the investment. You'll have to buy the ink/paper but some models allow you to remove it for storage so you can save it for another event. Ask if you can view sample outputs. Also consider the connection and the software you will need to make it all work. Do you plan to shoot tethered, wireless or transfer your images after the shoot? will you have to do post-corrections or will they be ready to drop and print. Will you need to increase your prices? These are just a few thing to consider. Back to my original question - will this increase your sales or is it a wish of the event holder? you may ask them if they are willing to pay for a minimum number of prints to offset your costs... Joel

11/13/2007 6:01:46 AM

Martin J. Preslar
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/25/2005
  Tina,

I am gearing up to do this kind of thing myself, so I will share my research with you.

Dye-sub is the way to go. The professional look and laminated finish of the prints makes a bit impression.

For 5x7 and smaller, the Sony UP-DR100 and UP-DR150 are the ones to go with. They are fast and easy to get used or refurbished on eBay or other sites. I would suggest the UP-DR100, since it is cheaper. (I also have a couple on ebay that I am selling that end today, but I wouldn't want to seem to be trying to sell them to you... :) The downside on these is they use a SCSI interface and to get full speed you wouldn't want to use a SCSI-USB adapter, but actually have a SCSI card on your computer. That makes it a bit more pricy, since SCSI cards cost a bit and you would have to use a desktop computer to run them (unless you can find one of the touch-screen printing consoles that they run on in stores).

That said, if you want something that does 8x10, you will need something different, which is why I am selling mine. There are a few Sony UP-DR70's available, which is the discontinued model I would choose if I went with Sony (and still might). They tend to be more expensive, but I have heard good things about them. The other option in discontinued product is the Olympus P-400. It doesn't do FULL 8x10, it is more like 7.64x10 on A4 size paper, and the paper is pretty pricy. The best I have found with paper and ink combined is about $1.25 per print at 8x10, but you could do 2 5x7's or 4x6's for that price. In general, you will probably be charging on the order of $5-10 for a 5x7 and $10-20 for a non-DA 8x10, then you can go up in to the high $20's for "magazine cover" or "event art" 8x10's, so the media cost is pretty well taken care of by sales. I bought one of these for under $250 shipped. I just hope to get some jobs that I can use it at! LOL! :)

Marty in Central Illinois - The Land of Corn and Flatness!
www.prairieperspectivesphotography.com

11/13/2007 7:09:57 AM

Steve Parrott
LightAnon.com

member since: 9/4/2004
  Marty's advice is very good, but I will put in another angle on it. Yes, dye sub printing can be very nice, though I personally have had issues with the colors not being as "vibrant" with a dye sub print as compared to ink jet. I have done a few on site printing events and use a Canon Pixma ink jet. The printer accepts the CF card directly from the camera, and I use pre cut 5 x 7 photo paper. People have always been very very pleased with the results. Do keep in mind that no matter what you use, be prepared for some people to be waiting in line if it is a large event and you are shooting lots of photos. I have seen some photographers using a simple Epson 4 x 6 printer, which is pretty fast with cheap print costs. Also, if you are printing without using a computer, be sure and do lots of test shots to get your in camera photo as good as it can be... you can't fix it later in the computer. Also, you do not need to have your camera set on the max resolution and size, it will just slow down the print process. On site printing can get a bit hairy at times if it is a large event. You MUST have an assistent with you... DO NOT try to do it all yourself.
Steve

11/13/2007 7:43:51 AM

Martin J. Preslar
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/25/2005
  Steve,

I have looked at the Pixma printers. The 9500 looks like it might be as good as a Dye-Sub printer in a lot of ways. Which model do you use and how does it stand up to the workload?

I will also second his comment about an assistant! DON'T TRY TO DO IT ALL!!! You should concentrate on shooting the pictures and have someone else to run the table, take the orders, print the pictures, etc... If you try to do it yourself it would be a nightmare!

Marty in Central Illinois - The Land of Corn and Flatness!
www.prairieperspectivesphotography.com

11/13/2007 8:04:51 AM

Steve Parrott
LightAnon.com

member since: 9/4/2004
  Marty,
I can't tell you the exact model number of the Pixma I use for on site print jobs. I keep it in storage away from here and only pull it out when needed. Honestly, I try to avoid on site printing when I can. I actually have 4 Canon printers, and the results from them all are very nice indeed. I do however ALWAYS use ONLY Canon paper. I have tried Kodak and generic papers and the results are never as good. My on site Pixma is an earlier model that is not made any longer anyway. Just be sure you get a model that will print directly from your camera card. The Canon printers are fairly fast compared to all other brands, so that helps, but as I said and you agreed... NEVER try to do it all yourself. My wife operates the printer. I shoot, give her a card, put another card in my camera, and she prints. If the event is not too large it works out well, but with even the fastest printer, there will be people waitiing for prints if it is a very large event. Be ready for it and try to stay calm! LOL

11/13/2007 8:49:40 AM

Lucia I. Stanley

member since: 8/25/2005
  How about offering them "proofs" to take home with a receipt of sale if they want to purchase what they see on your lap top (yes, having a lap top is a must for clients). This way you can have some dry dark room time and, thru the dry dark room and its magic, offer them some addtional photos that you've played around with, either by zooming and cropping or adding artistic flare and color reducing, just to name a few. Remember, the more you flatter them, the happier they'll be.

11/13/2007 11:27:43 AM

Tina Woods
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/1/2006
  Great. Thank you all for your input. It is something that I have shyed away from and now I am realizing why. I have on-line print sales, where I can review and upload only best images. This makes me realize that I am capitalizing well by what I did last year- no on-site prints. I sold them a disc of all their stage images which I burned after the event and mailed to them for $75. There is no overhead for that and no aggravation. Not sure how same-day sales would make a better profit, but am doing my research. Thanks again,
Tina

11/13/2007 11:34:37 AM

Martin J. Preslar
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/25/2005
  Tina,

The draw to the on-site prints is IMPULSE PURCHASES! In general, if you don't get their cash on the day of the event you are not going to make the sale. We live in an "Instant gratification" society. People are becoming used to the concept of "want-it-now, get-it-now" in all aspects of life. There is no reason you cannot still offer the burned discs for $75, but look at your records and see how many of the contestants/significant others/fans did NOT order a $75 disc. Then ask yourself: "How many of those people might have bought an 8x10 for $12 or $15, a 5x7 for $6, or a set of 5 5x7's for $25? You could even offer "graphically framed" pictures at a premium, especially if you can get some competition specific graphics from the organizer to make it a memento of the event!

The other compelling factor in offering on-site printing is that if you don't, somebody else will offer it to them next year and you will loose the gig. It is the way "sports-event" photography is headed...

Just my 2 cents more...

Marty

11/13/2007 12:11:03 PM

Tina Woods
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/1/2006
  Marty,
How would I offer a graphically framed photo? Can the printer hold a template? The other issue is that I did well with the disc sale b/c most young people today want jpegs for their myspace page. But I do understand that a few more sales could be made, however, do you print them out & hope people buy them? Wasting paper & making more costs. Do they view them in a little screen in the printer? I just imagine more chaos, confusion and lines, but I know that this is a sign of the times issue.

11/13/2007 12:23:49 PM

Tina Woods
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/1/2006
  The other issue I left out is that with bodybuilding events, there are many poses. It's not just one "miracle moment" shot. So, people will want to see all the shots. This can be very time consuming? No?

11/13/2007 12:28:14 PM

Steve Parrott
LightAnon.com

member since: 9/4/2004
  Tina,
To answer one of your concerns, I get payment UP FRONT before printing the photo. I have an area set up with lights and backdrop, people pay, and receive the print later. One thing I learned the hard way is to stop taking photos at least an hour before the event ends. This will normally give you time to get all the prints done before people are leaving. I made the big mistake of not doing this on a New Years Eve party once, and was still printing at 4 AM with lots of mad and drunk people waiting around. In your case, you might be best off to have a laptop there and bring up the photos for people to see, then if they want to purchase they can. There is really just not an easy and perfect way of doing this, or at least I have not found one. Concerning Marty's suggestion of using an event specific frame for the photos, that is a cool idea, but you would have to have the template in your computer and drop each photo into the template in PS... or at least that is the only way I would know to do it. This would add greatly to the time and work aspect of the whole operation though, so I doubt if it would be worth it to *me*.
Steve

11/13/2007 1:31:56 PM

Martin J. Preslar
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/25/2005
  The way that it works at hockey tournaments is as follows:

- Set up a table in the lobby/snack-bar area of the rink
- Deliver memory cards to your assistant, who loads them onto the computer (either laptop or desktop depending...)
- The assistant prints contact sheets of pictures for a given game. (For a bodybuilding contest I would think this would be for a group of contestants between breaks or something.)
- The customers look over the contact sheet to decide if they want to purchase any prints, fill out an order form, pay the assistant, and, if things are slow, take their print when it comes off the printer. Otherwise they come back later and the print is waiting for them.
- If a digital frame or some such is ordered the assistant drops the picture in and prints it. You can also add text, show it on screen to the customer, etc... Having the screen to show the customer is an important sales tool!

The real key is that the assistant has to do the printing and selling, though to a certain extent the pictures sell themselves. The photographer needs to concentrate on getting good shots, not on the rest of the stuff.

Steves advice about stopping pictures at some point is important too! Most of the time at hockey games the photographer leaves the ice at the end of the 2nd period early in the 3rd, that way the assistant has time to get the contact sheet done by the end of the game when the parents are streaming past your table into the snack-bar!

There are places that sell software to do this type of thing. Google on-site printing or on-site event photography for some places. One that has a lot of info is 5 Minute Photo (http://www.5minutephoto.com/ - with which I am in NO WAY associated, by the way. Though I did buy their information booklet) :)

Marty

11/13/2007 2:18:14 PM

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Photography Question 
Debra K. Johnson
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Debra
Debra's Gallery

member since: 6/8/2005
  16 .  What Format to Save?
I was wondering which format is best for saving your images for print.

9/17/2007 8:04:36 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  If you're simply printing, it might not matter. But, if you're doing any editing before printing, you want to save in either PSD [assuming you're using Photoshop] or TIFF.

Both allow you to save layers, increasing the file size but allowing you to edit the image in further sessions.

Most cameras save in JPEG and the file size reflects the size of the sensor. For example, my Canon 30D saves JPEgs as 3500 MB files, this is typically good enough for printing AFTER I resize and change the resolution to 300 ppi.

9/17/2007 8:25:52 AM

Ariel Lepor
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2005
  You mean 3500 KB files! ;)

It doesn't matter the format. As long as the program you are using shows the image properly, it uses its own method of printing; a program converts whatever file format you are using into its own "format".

9/17/2007 10:52:04 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  You could get 50 different responses, and they all can be correct. You didn't give us a lot of information, like: Are you printing at home or at a lab, what kind of camera do you use (film, DSLR, P&S...) and what file type you use to shoot?
My workflow (for what it's worth) is like this:
I mostly shoot Raw (Canon DSLR), sometimes JPEG. I save (move the files from the card to the hard drive) the original files whether Raw or JPEG. I then open the image on which I am going to be working, do whatever processing is needed, then save as a PSD. I tend to save it with layers, so I can go back and do adjustments as needed without starting over. I then flatten the image, crop if necessary, then save as a JPEG at level 10. The JPEG is uploaded to my lab's site, and I order the print(s).
There are variations, to be sure, but this is basically my workflow. I have yet to see an issue where a JPEG is saved as the final print file and it didn't print as well as a TIFF (or other file format). Without getting into what a JPEG can withstand, simply save a copy of your finished image as a JPEG at 10 or higher compression level (lowest compression rate) and you should be fine. If you need to make further changes, you have the working version saved as a PSD or TIFF that you can go back to.
Again, I am not saying this is the correct workflow, but it is the one that works for me!

9/17/2007 11:49:11 AM

  My camera is a Digital Rebel xt. I use Photoshop 7, and I use mpix for printing. You have already been so much help. Thank you.

9/18/2007 5:53:20 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  With the xt, you have the option of shooting Raw or JPEG. I am not going to tell you which is best, since each has its upside and downside. Regardless of which you use, be sure to save the original file. If shooting JPEG, never save over the original. Keep it as an "electronic negative."
My suggestion is to save the working file as PSD. There are two reasons. First, JPEG does have some loss when saved, and it can show when saved multiple times. Again, I won't go into the whole JPEG argument, but why not save with a compressionless file format? Second, PSD is the native file type of Photoshop. There is no chance of conflict or misinterpretation of data when opening and saving the file. You can work on it and save it as many time as you like, and the only damage to the file will be your processing. Processing an image can be considered "destructive," simply because of the act of manipulating pixels. It is not a bad thing, unless it causes visible issues. But that is another discussion... ;-)

9/18/2007 7:15:02 AM

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Photography Question 
Constance Reid
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/5/2006
  17 .  Color Space
I recently upgraded my old HP printer to an Epson R1800. Until recently, I've had my camera (Maxxum 7D) set to sRGB color space, but because of the way I've set my printer, it always wants to convert to the embedded space. After looking through my camera manual again, it seems that I should probably have it set to Adobe RGB. When I first bought my printer, its output seemed to be calibrated very closely to my monitor ... but I couldn't leave well enough alone and wanted to make it even better by adjusting some of the settings as indicated in my manual. (I'm also using Photoshop 7.) But now, my colors (saturation, brightness, etc) are off and I can't figure out why. Can anyone help?

9/14/2007 3:37:21 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Hello Constance,
1) You have to first calibrate your monitor to the printer. Hopefully, you have already done this.
2) sRGB or RGB rarely makes a difference when printing with average home printers. RGB simply has a greater "Color Gamut" (more colors).
3) Your difficulty is more than likely an uncalibrated ICC profile (International Color Consortium).
If your printer is set for sRGB, then your editing software be to match. Prior to a save, you should have a check box that indicates a ICC Profile ... usually sRGB or RGB. If your printer is set to RGB, set your software to RGB before you save it and Vice Versa.
ICC profiles are a standard that computers can understand. In other words, Red is red, blue is blue, etc. It is understood across any platform as long as you are using the same ICC profile.
My best guess is that you have your printer set to RGB and the software is saving as sRGB ... a complete mismatch.
Hope that helps a little,
Pete

9/14/2007 9:02:59 PM

  The solution is probably in the color settings you changed in Photoshop or how you are handling profiles. If I can see a screen shot of the Color Settings dialog, I may be able to tell you what is wrong. It sounds from the results like you are converting to AdobeRGB and then the printer is not seeing the profile -- which can easily happen if you do not embed the AdobeRGB profile on save.

Just a note about sRGB and AdobeRGB, in 8-bit, each have the same exact number of colors (16.7 million). AdobeRGB has a somewhat broader gamut that favors colors intended for print...but there will be larger gaps between the colors that are mapped in sRGB. It is a common misconception that AdobeRGB has more colors--simply not the case. The real difference between these is somewhat overplayed, and can be mitigated by good technique in correcting images for color and tone.

I cover color workflow and corrections in separate courses here on betterphoto.com, but I'm glad to answer your questions here.

9/18/2007 4:07:45 AM

estelle knize

member since: 3/22/2005
  I have a question re: your answer to Constance ...

Where and how can I find out which ICC profile is used by my printer? I generally use sRGB for the web, and Adobe RGB for print, but was not aware that the monitor and printer profile should match.
I do calibrate my monitor periodically, but don't know how to find the printer profile.

estelle

9/18/2007 5:49:02 AM

  Estelle,
Your printer should be using the profile you embed in the image. This should be based on the workflow you have established, rather than just assigning a profile at the end of the process, which is bad practice (converting to another profile may be a different matter). You should see the profile if you open an image and choose Save As.

I use 'should' a lot because a lot depends on how you have the Color Settings adjusted and what version of Photoshop or Elements you are using.

When you say that the "monitor and printer profile should match" that would not be correct. A monitor profile should be created when you calibrate your monitor, and this is used by the system. Your image should be tagged with your working space.

I hope that helps.

9/18/2007 8:23:40 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  oops...

My apologies Constance..I wrote "calibrate your monitor to the printer"..what I intended to write was Calibrate your monitor to your screen so WYSIWYG. Has nothing to do with color space, but needs to be done for serious work.

Sorry about that.


Pete

9/18/2007 10:28:37 AM

William Schuette
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/8/2006
  Constance, your problem may be a conflict between the printer driver and photoshop. You need to decide whether you want the Printer Driver or Photoshop manage the colors. If both are active, you can get some bizarre results.

Bill

9/20/2007 10:10:43 AM

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Photography Question 
Peter Konrad
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/11/2007
  18 .  Learning How to Print Color Photos
Can someone suggest the best book or course for optimizing printing digital photos viewed on a computer (digital camera -> laptop -> printer)? I would like to understand this concept and the easiest way to achieve reliable color from my prints.

8/29/2007 7:35:13 PM

  Getting the best color (and, by that, I mean getting your prints to match as closely as possible to what your monitor displays) is a matter of developing a solid workflow - either that or relying on luck (which I don't recommend). A solid workflow is established by doing all of the following:
- Calibrating your monitor.
- Creating an ICC profile.
- Setting up color management in Photoshop /Elements.
- Adjusting your images for print (color, resolution, sharpness).
- Testing your workflow, and adjusting if necessary.
In my opinion, the best way to work through the issues is to take a course focused on these issues, with an instructor who can lead you through the pitfalls and show you how to get results. This could save you weeks and months of trial end error. There are at least two online courses at BetterPhoto.com that do this but approach it in a somewhat different way:
- My course: From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow
- Jon Canfield's: Better Color for Great-Looking Prints
I can't speak directly for Jon's course (perhaps he will jump into the discussion), but my course was specifically designed to help you tackle the issues, weigh the options, and test your results to be sure you get what you want. The process you learn can be repeated should you ever need to set up another computer or if you want to change your workflow. We cut to the chase, can discuss and adjust based on your needs and interests, and get you where you want to go in less time than wading though a book and putting the pieces together on your own.
I have a pre-press background and learned the ropes on the front lines working for a photography book publisher where I needed to match color in print on various papers. Jon also has quite a technical background and record for expertise. I don't think you would go wrong with either course!

8/30/2007 2:49:36 PM

Jon Canfield

member since: 4/25/2005
  Hi -
Richard's advice is right on the money: It's all about the workflow, and it starts with the monitor. I also think either of these courses would be a great option for you, and if you decided to go into more depth, the color management books are an option, and I have a book titled Print Like a Pro that covers the printing workflow extensively (it's what my course is built around).
Richard is one of the recognized experts in color, so I'd have no problem recommending his class.

8/30/2007 6:45:31 PM

Peter Konrad
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/11/2007
  Just what I was looking for. Before I sign up, how is the material presented (i have never done an online course like this before) - is it downloaded? How are questions handled? Can I step through the material with my camera, pictures and monitor?

8/30/2007 6:57:48 PM

Jon Canfield

member since: 4/25/2005
  Each week a lesson is emailed to you from BetterPhoto. The lesson covers the topics for the week, and has an assignment. For example, the first week of my class I show you how to calibrate your display using either a hardware device (the preferred method), or software such as Adobe Gamma. Your assignment is to edit a photo before calibration, and then again after calibration to evaluate the changes to color balance, shadow detail ad highlights. You upload these images and I critique them.

These is a Q&A board for each class, and questions asked here are seen by everyone, so all students can learn and share information. You can also see the other student submissions to see what kind of issue they have, and learn from everyone.

Jon

8/30/2007 7:45:37 PM

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Photography Question 
Suzanneraehardy 

member since: 8/12/2007
  19 .  Printing from Disc: Photos Are Grainy
Does printing from a disc create poor quality? I have tried cleaning the heads, etc.

8/12/2007 12:12:13 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  If you mean the old film discs, then yes, the tiny negative will produce grainy photos.
If you mean digital photos stored on a CD-ROM or DVD, it depends on the resolution of the file stored on the disc. If it is a low-res highly compressed jpg suitable for email or computer display (as is common for labs that develop/print film and also include a CD of the photos), then it will likely not have enough resolution for printing.

8/13/2007 5:34:00 AM

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Photography Question 
Carol A. Roux
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/23/2006
  20 .  How to Mount Digital Prints
I would like to know what I can use to mount digital photos on acid-free matte board. Do I use heat fusing or cold mount? I want to enter a contest, and their rules say the photo must be mounted on matte board, no archival mounting, just flat on the matte board. I have used heat mounting paper with b/w and other film color prints. With digital color prints, I do not want to alter the color. Please help me decide which to use. Thanks!

8/9/2007 7:56:38 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  Use spray adhesive. Inkjet prints don't do well with a heat press, the ink often runs. Not familiar with the term "cold mount", unless you mean spray adhesive.

8/9/2007 11:32:32 AM

  Hi Carol,
I agree that a heat press is not a good idea. I know it doesn’t work with my HP 8750 printer. However, I hate spray adhesive. It is very messy, and the glue you inhale is bad for you. Most of the time I use photo corners, and hide the corners with a matte. Alternatively, there is a product called Gudy 831, check out this link www.lightimpressionsdirect.com/servlet/OnlineShopping?DSP=50100&PCR=30000:120000:122000:122200:122203&IID=20719. I put a test print using this stuff in a sunny window more than a year ago - no problems so far! Really, I think this is a great product.
Thanks, John Siskin

8/10/2007 10:13:20 PM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Carol,
There are a lot of products out there for mounting prints. A photo mount board comes with a peel and stick adhesive works well. It comes in a couple of different thicknesses and I prefer the double weight to give it more durability and less chance of bending or bowing. It also comes with foam core for a lighter weight but unless you put it in a frame, it tends to bow after a while. Lacquer or spray adhesive requires adequate ventilation, usually with a spray booth (exhaust fan). There are pressure sensative transfer adhesives as well but they can be messy and get glue all over your prints. With photos, that can be cleaned off with lacquer thinner but that will remove ink from an inkjet print. Most of these come in a 32x40 inch sheet, trimmed to size with a large paper cutter. They are also available in standard sizes.

8/14/2007 5:07:32 AM

Susie Peek-Swint
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/23/2002
  Hi Carol ... when I had to do this for a local show last year I bought a large sheet of matte board and a roll of thin double-sided tape from an art store ~ I got a nice clean flat finish which worked well for me ~ hope this helps :)
susie

8/14/2007 7:59:48 AM

Carol A. Roux
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/23/2006
  Thanks everyone. Susie How wide was the tape. I am afraid this might not work for our State fair as their rules are rather strict. However I will keep this in mind for future mounts.
Again everyone Thanks

8/14/2007 9:43:03 AM

Sara L. Tanner
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/2/2003
  Hi Carol,
Have you ever used rubber cement? I like it b/c the glue is not in the air as with spray adhesive and the excess can be rubbed off with a special eraser. Whatever you use, I hope it turns out great!

Sara

8/14/2007 1:36:55 PM

Sandra J. Colby
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/27/2004
  Hi Carol~
Ever do any scrapbooking? There are achival double stick pieces or tape that work well along the upper edge. My matboard company recommended only adhering the photo by one edge if not using an adhesive mount board. This allows for "breathing and prevents pulling/curling.
If it is to be just mounted on a board with no mat or frame, then you would secure all sides.

8/14/2007 3:34:19 PM

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