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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 
Gina M. Dockins

member since: 7/29/2007
  21 .  Digital Images Look Blue When Processed
We've been learning about our digital camera and took pictures that looked fine when downloaded into the computer. But when I had them processed, they all came out blue, and the lab tech said something about a wrong setting on our camera, but my husband thinks it is the photo place! Help!

7/29/2007 4:20:24 PM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  Blue suggests to me that your white balance could have been off, particularly for fluorescent. Another thing to consider is whether the lab is doing "color correction" to your images. The first time I uploaded to a lab, and picked up the results, the colors were totally off. I then saw on their Web site, which I'd missed the first time, a tiny checkbox for whether I wanted them to perform color-correction or not.

7/29/2007 5:01:08 PM

Linda Weekley

member since: 4/12/2003
  I get the blue tint when I process at Sams Club. It is probably the auto color correction the lab does, ask the lab personnel how to turn that off. If they don't know what you are talking about, find another lab.

7/31/2007 4:48:53 AM

Jeff Beard-Shouse

member since: 1/2/2007
  I don't know if this is your problem, but it could contribute. If your monitor is not calibrated right what you see on screen and what you get printed will be different colors. Alot of monitors have more blue in their white than what you may want. So any color correction you do on that kind of monitor will make the image look more cyan (added cyan to balance it out). I would be more inclined to think it is either white balance in the camera, and/or the lab that you took it to. But this might be worth checking out. I know Vincent Versace has had some good things to say about monitor calibration.

7/31/2007 7:14:50 AM

  But how about black & white pics. If I change to black and white then with my old printer everything came out blue. My new printer Canon Pixma MP800 comes out red. I have tried just about every different variation of setting there is. When printing colour pics I always move the red on the printer software down to 50% and that comes out fairly accurately. You could say the fault was with my screen in that instance but not with b&w when the pic has been turned to greyscale it still comes out pink.

8/1/2007 2:54:50 PM

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Photography Question 
Amelia Deslongchamps
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/20/2006
  22 .  Calibrating a Monitor
I am looking into getting a color calibrator for my monitor, can anyone suggest one that they prefer? I have done my research but reviews seem equal on the main products out there such as Pantone or Colorvision.

7/25/2007 6:16:01 AM

I have used the ColorVision Spyder for some time now, and it is what I recommend in my Color Workflow course. It is easy to use, and does a great job. I also used an early version of the GretagMacbeth (when it was still Sequel Imaging), which is what got me using hardware calibration in the first place.
The competition in this market is tight, so manufacturers really have to provide ease-of-use and results. Whichever you pick, it will be a good addition to your system and a means of helping you along the way to getting better color.

7/25/2007 11:52:28 AM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Amelia,
Richard, of course, is the expert in all of this. However, just to reassure you that you do not need to be an expert in order to get good results from calibrating your monitor, I also use the Spyder Pro. I find it very easy to use (no real tech knowledge needed) and accurate. I tried the Huey, but was not as satisfied with the results; although, many other folks here have used that system and have received good results. Whichever you choose, rest assured that both will vastly improve your workflow.

7/25/2007 5:49:45 PM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/13/2006
  Take a look....


7/26/2007 8:35:20 AM

Raymond Parsons
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/22/2007
  Hi Amelia -

I use the Pantone Huey and I'm very pleased with the results. The setup is very easy and I can definitely see a difference in the photographs with the monitor calibrated correctly.

7/30/2007 11:54:02 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  If it doesn't work well, Gio might tell you that they'll leave you hangin'.

7/30/2007 12:05:39 PM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  The Spyder2 pro is GREAT and EASY. The Huey is cheaper and it basically comes down to the number or sensors...both are fine but I think the extra $100 for the spyder2pro was money well spent.

7/30/2007 1:06:08 PM

Amelia Deslongchamps
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/20/2006
  thank you everyone for your advice, you helped confirm my decision to go with the spyder pro.

7/30/2007 1:36:41 PM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/13/2006
  Very good decision!!!
I wish I asked around before I bought Huey.....


7/30/2007 2:58:12 PM

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Photography Question 
Scott Barker
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/16/2007
  23 .  Best Prints Possible!!!
I was wondering what are the best DPI, resolution, or other wise little tricks to do, to get the best possible prints for 4x6. 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14. Also if I am using to print my photos, what kind of paper does anyone recommend for B&W, B&W with some color, and full color pics.


7/19/2007 6:02:15 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  If you're prints smaller than 8X12 and use an Epson printer, set resolution at 340 ppi. If you're making prints larger than 8X12 with an Epson, you can use a lower resolution [for a 13X19 as low as 180 ppi.]

If you're using a Canon printer, use 300 ppi, although you'll acceptable prints at 240 -325.

Generally anything above 300, however, is a waste as consumer-oriented printers "expect" 300 ppi. This resolution bears zero relation to the printer's dpi production, so don't get confused.
The reason you can use lower resolution for larger prints is that they're viewed from a greater distance and, the human eye adjusts for the distance.

7/19/2007 8:06:15 AM

  The resolution of your image (ppi or pixels per inch; dpi is a printer term for dots) really depends on the type of printing you will be doing. For example, if you print to a magazine or other high-resolution offset printing, the printer has greater resolution, so it requires more resolution in your images. On the other extreme, the web is generally low resolution (72-96 dpi; screen dots) and you need less resolution for larger images. I've used as much as 650 ppi for negative reproduction, and I would assume there are options that go even higher. The idea is to match the ppi to the output so the image has enough resolution to satisfy the output device's demands.
Home inkjets can generally get away with 240 ppi at printed size. You CAN go lower (180 or so), but you may begin to get resolution dependent softening - which may be acceptable depending on how picky you are. The type of printing that injets do is pretty forgiving and less likely to be noticeable than if you were to try and print with too little resolution to a laser printer or offset.
To get the best possible prints, I follow the advice I give in my blog. Instead of dealing with the chore of printing at home and needing to keep a store of paper and ink and performing maintenance, I set up my files and send them out to a service where they have printers that cost about as much as my house ... and they take care of it for less than it would cost me, and I get the best prints in any size without having to own and maintain expensive equipment for printing.
If you already have a home printer and are set on using it, manufacturers have a vested interest in you getting good prints. Follow their recommendations (read the manuals) for the best quality, and if they are different than what I suggest here, take their advice.
I hope that helps!

7/19/2007 12:23:21 PM

Scott Barker
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/16/2007
  I am not using a home printer as I agree with Richard, I use to print, what I was wondering is about them. What paper should I use of theirs depending on what I print? Also about the resolution, I shoot in RAW, around 3400x2100, so what dpi/ppi is it safe to set my RAW image to before I need to start dropping it for a larger picture print?

7/19/2007 12:33:20 PM

  Again, the manufacturer will probably know their own equipment best. There is a pretty good FAQ on their site here:
They suggest 250ppi, and sRGB color space ... which I think are good recommendations. As far as the paper, that is really a personal preference. Maybe try a single shot printed on all three paper types to see which you like best? I always like to test services for workflow and results before I use them for bigger projects using their 4x6 prints - or even 3x5s if they are significantly cheaper. These will prove to be inexpensive tests and may save you lots (effort and headaches) in the long run.

7/19/2007 1:57:35 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  You really don't need to worry about the dpi of your image when you upload it to Mpix for these print sizes. Upload your images, and when you select an image and go to choose print sizes, any sizes that are to large for your image will be grayed out.

Don't crop any more than you need to, of course. If you do crop your image, I recommend keeping it in the original 3:2 ratio, then you will have a chance to adjust the crop on screen for the other ratios like 5x7, 8x10, etc.

Their standard E-surface paper is very nice for all color printing. Their B&W paper, obviously, is great for B&W. If you have B&W with some selective coloring, though, you'll need to choose the color paper.

Their Metallic paper is an acquired taste. It has a very different pearlescent look that is difficult to describe. I would recommend trying it out before printing anything really large or important.

They will send you a sample kit of their paper if you request it.

You won't be disappointed with Mpix. Their quality and customer service are top-notch.

Chris Vedros

7/19/2007 7:23:35 PM

Steve Parrott

member since: 9/4/2004
  I am another MPix user. They are absolutely first class, in terms of service and quality printing. Pro lab results for everyman. Personally, I always send my files to them already sized to the EXACT size I want printed, at 250 DPI, in sRGB color space, JPEG 8 bit. You can upsize or downsize in PS or a good res up program if needed. I prefer not to use their on line cropping tool as I don't feel it is precise enough. If I an wanting a 16 x 20, then I send a 250 DPI 16 x 20 to start with. I have never had any color mismatch issues. I calibrate my monitor with a Spyder 2, and the prints I get from MPix are as perfect a match as possible. Oh yeah, I always check the DO NOT color correct box on the MPix order form. The E surface paper is the best all around paper. I always use the black and white paper when I submit b / w photos, but a trick to that is to NOT check the black and white color option when ordering. Just submit a b/w photo in sRGB color space, choose true b/w paper, and do not check the black and white conversion box. The photo will be b/w without any automatic b/w conversions going on at the MPix end that can alter the look or your photo. As for the metallic paper, I like it for very limited uses. It looks great with a colorful car photo for instance... I don't like it as much for people shots or landscapes. That being said though, I have people who love it and want it for their wedding album photos... it is just a matter of taste.

7/27/2007 11:56:11 AM

Pat Harry
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Pat
Pat's Gallery

member since: 11/26/2006
  What exactly do you do with the icc profiles provided by mpix? (I have them, but now what??) Are they used strictly for soft proofing before you upload? At first I thought maybe we were to convert the photo to that color space, but I think I'm understanding that we convert to sRGB. So I'm assuming the profiles are to help see the end result before we upload an order. Do I have this correct?

9/1/2007 10:23:05 AM

Christopher J. Budny
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/3/2005
  Scott, I'd say it is worth it to upload a single file to mpix, make 1 order on the standard paper and 1 order on the metallic. (They do however, say metallic is not best suited to portraits.) You have to make it two orders, as your paper selection applies to an entire order; you can't mix and match paper choices in a single order of several prints.
I did this exercise for my first time using mpix; sent a colorful flower image to print at 10x13 (I uploaded it at their suggested 250dpi) and I *LOVE* the metallic paper results. Don't get me wrong, the "regular" paper result is very nice... but I framed and hung the metallic version!
Also, I further tested their output, by uploading the same file as a high-quality JPG, and then as a TIF, then requesting 10x13 prints from each. The TIF being a very large file took a long time to upload. The JPG was a much smaller file size of course. I have to say, I could not tell a difference in the resulting prints, so I'm content to use a JPG for future uploads (I still do all my edits & save as TIF.)
Haven't tried a B/W with them yet, so no comment yet on their B/W specialty paper...

9/1/2007 1:40:18 PM

Pat Harry
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Pat
Pat's Gallery

member since: 11/26/2006
  I found the answer to my own question...

"The output profiles that we are providing are only intended to be used in conjunction with PhotoShop and its soft proofing feature. Converting an image to one of these profiles and submitting the image for production will result in the image being incorrectly printed. All files received must continue to be submitted in sRGB color space, no exceptions."

9/1/2007 2:41:26 PM

Your original question was a good one, and the answer you found a very sensible one. For quite a long time peple have been trying to promote the AdobeRGB space, or even custom is generally either overkill in the real world, or flat out too unpredictable. You need to profile your own monitor, for preview purposes. however, what you should expect to see in print using an sRGB workflow and a good light-process printer (e.g., Kodak RP30) is virtually what you see on screen so long as you tag your images sRGB and calibrate.

my From Monitor to Print: Photoshop Color Workflow course goes through the details.

Good to see you found your answers! keep at it.

9/1/2007 2:51:08 PM

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Photography Question 
Maria Zammit
BetterPhoto Member
Contact Maria
Maria's Gallery

member since: 4/24/2007
  24 .  Prints: How Long Do They Last? And What Care?
I would like to print some photos to hang in a room. What do I have to do to ensure they will not fade after a couple of years? What do I have to ask for at the printer to ensure I get what I want - a long lasting print? Thanks!

6/29/2007 9:21:37 AM

John Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/8/2001
  Prints made in the wet darkroom withstand the test of time. You can still see prints Matthew Brady made of his Civil War images.

The same might not be said of digital prints. Digital photography is very new; really only about 20 years ago Kodak introduced the first consumer-oriented digital camera.

You'll read a lot about how long a given paper manufacturer's print will last. It's hard to say; results reported reflect a simulation as opposed to the "test of time."

As with any piece of art work, you want to be sure it's protected from dust, aerosols, chemicals, etc. Thus, you want to hang properly framed prints. [And, you don't need to pay huge sums - you can do a more than adequate job yourself.]

One other thing, watch strong lights "glowing down on your prints." Recall that most museums prohibit use of flash photography - the reason being the negative impact of the bright flash. Don't know if it's really true but, I wouldn't argue with Museum Curators [like, for example, those at the International Center for Photography in NYC.

6/29/2007 12:35:22 PM

  Hi Maria,
Traditional Photographs were made using light sensitive materials, such as silver halides. These are reactive chemicals that can be damaged by light and chemicals. I think you are unlikely to see any of Matthew Brady’s U.S. Civil War work on long-term display in a museum. I recently saw some Daguerreotypes at the Getty Museum here in Los Angeles. They were shown in a special room with controlled light. The worst light appears to be in the ultraviolet, but you couldn’t show images indefinitely under red bulbs either.
The basic situation for digital prints is if you use a printer that uses pigment inks the ink itself is more stable and less likely to react to outside chemicals. That helps a lot. Next, if the image is in a sealed frame behind glass, matted with museum-grade materials, things will be even better. You can use a glass that will filter out ultraviolet light, which will help more. Finally, sunlight is much more intense, and more blue than light from most other sources, so if you can keep sunlight away from the print, it will last longer. The other two big problems are water and heat: Try to avoid these. The print will last for years, maybe decades!
Thanks, John Siskin

6/30/2007 5:13:48 PM

  Thanks, John, for your help. I am now more confident to try out some enlargements. Can you help me with the sort of paper that is most likely to last longer, please, and what sort of printer is best. Are home-printed photos as good as those produced at a professional printer?

6/30/2007 7:40:04 PM

  Hi Maria,
The three major printer manufacturers for photographers are HP, Epson and Canon. If you get one of the printers from these companies that uses their archival inks - for instance, Vivera from HP - and you use their recommended archival paper, then you should have a good outcome in terms of durability and quality. If you use ink or paper from a third party, there is no predicting how long the prints will last. If you get one of the 13X19 inch printers with the archival inks from one of these companies, expect to pay between $500 and $1000, and you can expect very fine prints.
Thanks, John

6/30/2007 9:17:03 PM

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Photography Question 
Michelle Montgomery

member since: 2/26/2007
  25 .  Matching Prints to Monitor
My printer (Epson Stylus Photo R1800) is not printing true colors. While looking at the computer screen, they look fine, but when I print them, they are dark. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help.

6/1/2007 11:16:56 AM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Michelle, the first step is to calibrate your monitor. There are several good calibration systems out there. I use the Colorvision Spyder2 and achieve very good results. However, you will never get a print on paper to look exactly like an image on a monitor. Realize that the monitor is an RGB device that emits light, while the print is a CMYK colorspace and may be on a variety of media from gloss to matte finish.
Again, the starting point is a calibrated monitor. Then, you'll likely have to "dial in" your print to get the desired results. If your print is a bit darker than the final monitor image, then darken the screen to come as close to the print as possible using the monitor's backlight and/or brightness controls (check your printer manual).
Once the screen is close to the print, use a curves adjustment to affect the blacks, whites, or middle tones to get the desired result. Then print another test. You should get there with a few tweaks and get good results. Remember to recalibrate the monitor periodically.
Hope this helps.

6/1/2007 5:41:15 PM

  Hi Michelle,
John is correct but left out the part about also setting your printer profile to the same profile you create when running the Spyder2 calibration software.
When you have your monitor & printer set to the same profile, your prints will be very close to what you see on screen.

6/4/2007 12:27:11 PM

  Probably your printer driver is not set correct. Where are you printing from, PS, PS Editor, or direct ro the R1800 driver?
If printing from the PS EDITOR, makes sure under Color Managment: Adobe (RGB 1998)is selected as source, then sRGB IEC61966-2.1 is selected under Printer Profile, then Relative Colorimetric is selected under Rendering Intent; Go Print, Properties and make sure the right paper and so on is selected under the Advanced Screen, print and you should be able to come close what you see on your screen, go from here to make any adjustments to your pribter if nec.

6/4/2007 5:19:44 PM

Sherry King

member since: 6/25/2006
  I also have an Epson R1800 printer and had the same problem. We have Mac computers and all I did to 'fix' the problem was to go to System Preferences, then Displays, select the Color tab, and click the Calibrate button. I set up a profile and selected the same profile when printing. However, as Thomas said, make sure you select the correct paper. Good luck. -- Sherry

6/5/2007 6:02:17 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  One thing everybody has forgotten is "which program" is being used to Edit the pic. If it is Photoshop 7 or 8 then one must edit the colour settings and change 20% dot gain to 0%. If Elements is being used then one must turn off the colour management, then begin to calibrate using normal methods already listed above.
Photoshop was originally designed and created for the Macintosh computer for use in the Printing industry, and the "Dot Gain" function is to allow a margin for "ink squash" on Print Presses.
Obviously if you are printing direct to your own desktop printer then this mode should be turned off and other calibration must be done specifically for your own printer and set-up.
You will never be able to "get-what-you-see" until this dot gain function is set to 0%.
"Elements" is a watered down version of Photoshop and has limited editing with the Dot Gain function. Just urn it off (eg: colour management = none) and calibrate your monitor using the methods other members have described above.

6/5/2007 6:57:35 PM

Orlando Negron

member since: 10/6/2004

Where is that dot gain in Photoshop?


6/7/2007 6:50:22 AM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  In Photoshop 7 and 8 it's under COLOUR SETTINGS.... CUSTOM.... then WORKING SPACES.

6/7/2007 6:14:34 PM

Jon Canfield

member since: 4/25/2005
  The Dot Gain settings only affect grayscale and spot color such as duotone prints. For color printing, I suggest using Adobe RGB if you're in Photoshop, or Optimize images for Printing if you use Elements.

As the other posters mentioned, the starting point is a calibrated monitor. If you use a Mac, the Calibration Assistant can be used, on Windows you can use Adobe Gamma. The best way to calibrate though is with a hardware device like the Spyder, huey, or eyeOne Display.

I do cover all of this in both my color management class here at BetterPhoto, and my book "Print Like a Pro".


6/7/2007 7:01:24 PM

Karoly ka Harkai

member since: 6/8/2007
  The printer drivers are very sensitive softwares. What is your printer name?
Does your printer driver well installed?

6/8/2007 3:02:03 AM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  DOT GAIN happens on all Print Presses in all modes and to varying degrees, whether it be Greyscale, Duotone, Tritone, Quadtone or CMYK. Every Press is different, as is every Desktop Printer. The only time the DOT GAIN functions are irrelevant is when you are using "light" not "ink" to produce an image (ie: RGB pic printed on an LED diode printer). If INK is involved anywhere in the process then DOT GAIN becomes a factor, and is different for each printer, and brand and model.
If you are printing an RGB image to a desktop printer using toner or ink, then somewhere inbetween the two modes is an automatic CMYK conversion happening (ie: you cannot print an RGB pic to a CMYK printer without this conversion). I think it better to convert the pic to CMYK first, using a pre-set "dot gain" function to get correct ink coverage. The image on screen will display the image with say 20% or 30% dot gain (to show you if it is too dark etc) which will allow you to modify or lighten your pic before printing. If you have various Printers, then you will need a different setting for each.

6/8/2007 7:39:26 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  Inside the CUSTOM CMYK setting is the DOT GAIN number box where you can enter whatever percentage you require. Underneath this is the BLACK INK LIMIT boxes. If you think of CMYK being 4 x inks... then one would expect the total ink limit to be 100% for each (ie: 400% coverage)... where say a "full rich black" could consist of 100% Cyan, 100% Magenta, 100% Yellow and also 100% Black. This would give the richest of "blacks" possible. Unfortunately this can cause drying problems on Print Presses, and possible "over saturation" on desktop printers (too heavy).
Many professional Print Houses ask that you limit your ink coverage to around 270% to 300% to avoid some of these problems. Hence, if these settings are used, your image "on screen" may appear different to compensate for this. It cannot be ignored and left in "auto mode".
However if your normal method of printing is done using RGB and you let the auto CMYK conversion filter kick-in when downloading your file to your desktop printer, then you will have to calibrate your "screen to print" in a different way. But, being aware of some of the settings I have mentioned will put you in better touch with potential differences and/or print problems, whether it be to a Print Press or your Desktop Printer.
Many people have never ever switched their pic from RGB to CMYK. If you try it, you will immediately notice a change in "colours" on screen. Computer screens use "video" to display a range of colours in RGB. Printing is done using CMYK inks (plus exra ink colours for greater effect). Ink and video are very very different, saturation and luminosity especially. You can see some colours on a screen that are impossibe to create using ink. This confuses many people. "Why won't it print they way it looks on screen?" I constantly hear people say. I have been in the print game for many many years and RGB is only the beginning. Being CMYK savvy will help.

6/8/2007 8:55:40 PM

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Photography Question 
Carl W. Warren
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/31/2006
  26 .  Scanning for 8x10 Photos
What is the best size for 8x10 from scanned color negatives? Right now, I scan the 35mm film @ 1200 dpi and then when I use the preset crop control, then I can only fit so much of the photo that way. I would like to fit as much of the photos with out cropping before printing. If I send these to an Internet lab, they come back cropped with sometimes a vital part of the photo missing. Any help would be appreciated!

4/1/2007 6:12:28 PM

doug Nelson

member since: 6/14/2001
  Scan at 2400 ppi at least. Scanning at 2700 or 3200 will give you some leeway for cropping, so that you will end up with the ideal 8 x 10 at 300 ppi, when you go into Image Size and scale it out. Go into Image, Image Size, Resample UNchecked, Constrain Proportions checked. Enter 10" as your image length, 10 as image height, if a vertical. Then you can crop off the ends. This often works for me, because I think the 35mm frame is too long (or too tall), anyway. Or you can enter the short dimension as 8" and work from there.

4/2/2007 1:11:41 PM

Bob Fately

member since: 4/11/2001
  Carl, Doug gives some good advice - you want to scan at a high resolution (well, bove 4000dpi is probably not worthwhile) to give you the ability to crop or manipulate as necessary.

However, as for your cropped edges issue - understand that the size of the negative is 24x36MM, meaning a ration of 1:1.5. If you want to print the full frame of a 35MM film image, you need to maintain that 1.5 ratio, with in the case of an 8 inch height would translate into a 12 inch width.

4/2/2007 4:23:35 PM

Carl W. Warren
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/31/2006
  thank you doug and bob, I will be needing a new computer mine just can,t handle that much right now thanks the advice will be put to good use
carl warren

4/2/2007 7:31:19 PM

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Photography Question 
Steven Wayne

member since: 1/29/2005
  27 .  Help!! Printing the Whole Picture
How can I print the whole image that I captured without Photoshop croping some of it out when I print? I capture in Raw off a Canon 5D and am using Photoshop CS2, printing on a Epson 3800. I am enlarging photos to 16x20, and for some reason, I can't seem to figure out, it crops the photo. When I do them as a 4x6 with a border ... I get the whole thing, it seems crazy to me that you can't print the whole photo that you see??? I would love some help.

1/27/2007 12:17:08 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
Unfortunately, you will have to crop to print at the size you desire, 16 x 20. Your camera, as do most DSLRs, has a sensor with a 3:2 aspect ratio. The image size you want is 2.5:2 ratio. I try to print in image sizes that correspond to the aspect ratio of the camera; i.e. 8 x 12, 12 x 18, 16 x 24. You are able to get a full 4 x 6 print as that is also the aspect ratio that matches your camera. If you need to print an image that is not the same ratio as your camera's sensor, you must crop (as I said earlier). This means you'll have to leave room around the edges with no important detail. Hope this helps.


1/27/2007 1:20:27 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Steve,
As pointed out, what’s bothering you is called aspect ratio. Most modern cameras are designed with film or image sensor chip in the shape of a rectangle. You could still buy a square format film cameras, it makes an image 2¼x2¼ inches. Your camera was designed around a format taken from the 35mm film camera. This format has the dimensions of 24mm x 36mm. Note that the length is exactly 1.5 times the height. Your digital camera has the same aspect ratio, which has become the defacto standard. Stated another way, whatever the height, multiply this value by 1.5 to derive the length.
Now allow me to explain your problem:
Let’s start making a 4x6 print. Your software adjusts the image (magnification) so that the image printed will exactly fit the 4 inch height dimension. Now your camera produces an image that is longer than the height. In fact the image is 1.5 times loner. Thus: 4 x 1.5 = 6. That translates to a 4x6 exact fit no cropping.
Now let's make a 16x20:
Your software adjusts the image magnification to exactly match the 16 inch requirement. However, the long dimension must be 1.5 times this value or 16 x 1.5 = 24 inches. Sorry, the 24-inch length is too long, it won’t fit the 16 x 20 piece of paper. Now the software logic causes 4 inches to be lopped off. Happily or unhappily the software crops off 2 inches from each end. You see, you picked a size, 16x20 that is more "square" in size. Had you ordered your software to display all the image (no crop) it would be forced to cause the image to be distorted. You see this all the time when a wide-screen movie title is displayed on a standard width TV. The broadcast engineer distorts the image and the people are squashed as they appear too tall.
Now next time you should make a 13.3x20 or a 16x24. In other words, whatever height you choose, the length must be 1.5 times that number or you crop or distort which ever comes first.
Hope you enjoy photo math 101.
Your friend,
Alan Marcus

1/28/2007 2:54:37 PM

James B. Hewin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/4/2005
  If you can't bring yourself to crop your image you can always scale down the size of your image during the print process. I often find I would rather have the white space around the print than cropping out valuable parts of the original composition.
In Photoshop CS2, go to “File/Print with Preview” and choose “Scale to Fit Media”. If your image is landscape and your preview is portrait use Page Setup to switch it.
Using Print with Preview in Photoshop automatically adds white space either at the top or sides depending. I like to reduce the image size even a little more so there is white space both on the sides and the top. You can do this by noting the scale percent after checking “Scale to fit Media”, then uncheck it and put in a slightly smaller percentage. For example if when checked it reads 20%, then uncheck it and put in 18%. That will add white space all the way around on your print.
This method does not change your file or affect the actual size of your image like resizing does, it just rescales the size for the print.
James Hewin

1/30/2007 11:52:31 AM

Ken Henry

member since: 9/16/2003
  As I understand the question is, Why does the printer crop the photo? I resolve that by changing the print size in the first window of the printer command. My epson 1800 also crops photos.
example: for a 4x6.
a. in PS click on the printer icon.
b. the first window will appear.
c. in the 'Scaled Print Size' box I change the width size of 4" to 3.86".
d. and the length will automatically change to 5.77".

Now the bottom of the photo the printer is still cropping a little more off. One photo I really needed that bottom edge. So I added approx 0.20 canvas to bottom side of the photo.
e. go to image, resize, then to Canvas Size.

For a 16x20 photo I would change the print to size at 15.75" and it will print to a full 16".

I did a test on 8.5x 11 and printed a full 4x6 photo. The printer oversized the photo to 4.125"x6.1875". Because the print command is for borderless prints.
With borderless off it prints true 4x6 size, on an 8.5x11 sheet. On a 4x6 paper the printer reduces the photo to 3.75x5.75, full photo no cropping.

So therefor it's going to take trial and error test runs to recalculate the
ACTUAL print sizes.

When I print on 11" paper I'll set my 'scaled print size' to 10.75".

So if I really need to have the actual full photo size ie. 4x6 I would use 5x7 paper with 'borderless' off and trim it.

So therefor,
1.Borderless prints oversize.
2.Borderless off print undersize full photo on the same size paper with a boarder.
3.Borderless off using larger paper prints actual true size full photo image.

For 16" photo borderless I would try 15.8". It will take a few trial runs to figure out what size will get you full photo.


1/30/2007 12:13:56 PM

  I also have this problem and it was explained to me that the 8x10, 11x14, 16x20 etc. ratios were meant for 2 1/4 square formats of my medium format camera, or for art work (as in the case of frames), and not for 35 mm SLRs with or without digital.

It's very frustrating because I've been composing pretty much the same way for 20 years prior to purchasing my first 35 mm camera. I have no problem getting the medium format film images to fit frames, but have major problems getting 35 mm images to fit.

Does anyone know of a viewfinder format that could be adapted to a 35 mm SLR camera? My predominant camera is now a Canon EOS 20D. Seems that I recall that decades ago before they were forced into bankruptcy by the Superfund section of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act that Meisel Photochrome Corporation gave customers predrawn formats for the various sizes of frames. Can something like these be adapted to using the 35 mm format so I can retrain my brain?

1/30/2007 1:58:06 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Bunny,

During the period before enlargers, prints made were by contact i.e. they were the same size as the negative. Early photographers used glass plates, not film. The 8x10 format came from a common window glass size used by cabinet makers. View cameras were made that accepted the 8x10 glass plate which was replaced by 8x10 sheet film. As films improved and enlargers came on board, the 8x10 sheet films were cut into four 4x5 pieces. The 16x20 was a natural evolution as to print size as it has the same proportions as the 4x5 or 8x10 both are 1:1.25. Another common glass plate size was the 5x7 with a ratio of 1:1.4. This glass plate was replaced by sheet film of the same size. The 11x17 was merely a 2x enlargement from this negative. It was common to use a split film back and holder. This allowed the photographer to shoot two frames on a single 5x7 film. The negatives were 2½x3½.

Now Meisel’s was one of my customers. My company was making the world’s greatest color enlarging meters and Meisel’s used them at every station. I recall that they gave away clear plastic sheets with all of various film formats drawn upon them in Black. Kodak also gave away such sets that were supplied to their photofinishing dealers. These sheets sat on the counter-top on an illuminated frosted glass. Customers placed negatives into clear sleeves and laid them out on the overlay. Using black crayon pencils, customers marked-up their negatives for cropping.

You can still get these, I checked half a dozen pro labs on the web and they continue supplying. Also there was a neat device made using two triangles that sliped and slides making view mask that held the proportion correct for all the different size prints. This was placed over the negative or slide on the illuminated glass. I think all this is still available.

In recent times, using an inkjet loaded with transparence sheets, and a drawing program I have made overlays with high accuracy, you can too.

Luck to you,

Alan Marcus

1/30/2007 3:34:44 PM

  Thanks, Alan.

I don't date back as far as using glass plates --I'm not that old. But, those plastic overlays were very useful to me both for composing images on my 2 1/4 square negatives, as well as selling prints to the customers.

I don't have a clue on how the design them, as I'm not mathematically inclined. But, if they would help me solve the cropping/composing problem that I have with 35mm/SLR's, I'd love to learn more about which labs use them so that I can obtain/purchase a sheet. However, I am no longer professional and being an amateur, most labs won't even talk with me.

Can you help?

Thanks again for your reply.


2/1/2007 3:00:47 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  I did a quick search for Overlays:
Check this source.

Seems they still sell acetate overlays. Also, I noted in my search that school finishers were still using cardboard insert, these are sleeves with a rectangular cut-out. Negative is inserted into the sleeve and the area in the cut-out is the correct dimensions for a print size thus the sleeve becomes a crop guide for the printer operator. Check the web for a local school finisher and maybe they will be kind and give you some.

I only told about the glass plates because I like to know the origins of sizes etc.. Most film sizes originated from cabinet makers window glass Most print sizes were attempts to cut a large piece of paper into convent smaller sizes with reduce waste.

Hope this helps.

Alan Marcus

2/1/2007 4:26:12 PM

Nancy Donnell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  Thank you guys so much for all of the information on ratios, and how to compensate! I really appreciate it.


2/6/2007 9:48:58 AM

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Photography Question 
Clarence Lynn

member since: 12/23/2003
  28 .  Mounting Inkjet Photos
Can you use a heat-press to mount inkjet prints printed on the better inkjet papers?

1/27/2007 8:37:35 AM

Stephanie M. Stevens

member since: 4/20/2005
  Yes. In my classes, we mount inkjet prints using a heat press.

1/27/2007 10:05:40 AM

  Hi Clarence,
Some inkjet prints, notably the Epson pigment ink products, will work well with a dry-mount press. Prints made with an HP printer on their premium paper will not survive the dry-mount press. Generally, it is a bad idea to dry mount any dye-based print, it may cause immediate changes in the color. It is likely to reduce the long-term stability of the product, considering that heat is one of the factors used to test prints with accelerated aging. I do not use the dry-mount press for long-term display with any inkjet or other color process. I will still use the press with black and white fiber- based papers.
Thanks, John Siskin

1/27/2007 5:25:26 PM

Clarence Lynn

member since: 12/23/2003
  Stephanie and John,
I appreciate your response to my question. This question arose during our camera club meeting,with no one knowing the answer. I use only BW silver-based paper, but will be changing to digital shortly. John, your Framing and Mounting Your Photographs course looks very interesting. Stephanie, I enjoyed your prints.

1/28/2007 7:51:38 AM

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Photography Question 
R.M. Fusco

member since: 5/26/2004
  29 .  Printing the Right Size Image
I am having trouble with printing. This has long been a struggle for me. What do I have to do to get the exact size image printed on an 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper? Say, for instance, I want to print an 8 X 10 image. The image size that prints is always slightly smaller than that ... like 7.875 X 9.875. What do I do to get the actual image size to print? Thank you,

1/19/2007 8:13:01 AM


member since: 9/25/2006
  It could be because your printer and print-nozzle head cannot print 'bleeding' prints (printing right up to the edges and actually a little over them). So the print software recalculates to stay away from those edges.

1/19/2007 8:29:53 AM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/28/2002
  R.M., first you have to make sure your printer can print borderless pictures. Some printers can, and some cannot. If your printer can print borderless pictures, then make sure 'borderless' is selected in the printer setting and the margins are set to 0. Hope this helps.

1/19/2007 10:21:06 AM

Melissa Papaj
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/28/2005
  I have found that I will size the whole image (for a 4X6 say)to 3.9X5.9 and then place it on a second layer of a true 4X6, basically giving it a border, but when you print it, it may have a very small pencil-line border or none at all...Hope this helps.

1/23/2007 7:07:15 PM

Dale M. Garvey

member since: 3/13/2006
  Don't know what program you are using, but in Photoshop I find the clicking under File> new I can set the frame I want. I then place the image in the frame. This is very handy when ordering prints on line.

1/24/2007 8:13:31 AM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/8/2006
  I was wondering if you were doing any cropping before trying to print the image? You can (with most programs) set the size of the crop area so it will print exactly to size. I had the same problem as you, until I realized I wasn't paying attention to crop size. Again I'm not sure if that's a factor for you.

1/24/2007 10:30:40 AM

Glenn Ruhl

member since: 12/22/2006
  From R.M.'s description of trying to print an 8 x 10 on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, I don't think borderless vs. non-borderless is the issue. R.M., you didn't mention what brand of printer you are using, but I've had lots of problems adjusting print size also, using an Epson. I suspect there may be some kind of clash between the printer driver and the operating system print functions. One suggestion that seems to have helped for me is to check whether there are any updated printer drivers for your printer. I downloaded a new one for my printer from the Epson site and I'm having fewer problems now.

1/24/2007 2:17:25 PM

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Photography Question 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/7/2005
  30 .  Large Prints
I have been asked to print some pretty big prints - 35in x 25in. I use a Canon 350D 8.3 megapixel. When I size these prints to 35x25, the dpi reduces down to 88dpi. My printer only accepts photos at 300 dpi, but when I re-size them at 300 dpi the photos end up over 225meg and crash. Has anyone printed images this large from an 8.3 megapixel camera, how are the results? My client has ordered five at this size, and I thought I would just print one as a test first so I don't waste my money. The largest I have gone previously is 16x23 and the image is beautiful ... is 35x25 pushing the limit?
Thanks very much.

1/14/2007 5:04:12 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Natalie, you didn't specify who your printer is. I assume you have a professional lab doing your printing. since most of us don't have the capability to print anything that large at home ... perhaps your print service can suggest a solution. Maybe they can step up the size after you upload the image in a smaller size. The math is simple, as you indicated. If you multiply 300 times 25" x 35", the resulting file is going to be very large. You very likely may have to tell your client the largest size you can produce (16 x 24).

1/15/2007 6:52:39 AM

David A. Bliss

member since: 5/24/2005
  Take the edited but unresized file to a good local lab to have it printed. Their software will do a much better job at enlarging, and it will enlarge it to their printer's specific dpi. Have one print made so you can see how it looks. Remember, a print that size is meant to be viewed at a distance, not close-up, so it is best to look at it from about 10 feet or so. Even 35mm film, when enlarged to that size, will show some softness and grain when viewed up close.

1/15/2007 2:29:02 PM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/7/2005
  Thanks very much for your responses.

I spoke to the pro lab I am using and they said it will be fine, but to upsize them slowly (10% increments). If I am unable to do it, then like David said, I'll get them to upsize them (but they charge). They are also going to print a test strip to see how they go before the final print. I definiately understand the viewing distance, hopefully my client will also.

Thanks very much!

1/15/2007 4:21:08 PM


member since: 9/25/2006
  That's right, Natalie, if you enlarge by 10% (and save, and close), and do that a couple times upto the desired size (mind: lowest possible JPG compression!), you end up with biiig print files that can produce amazingly high-res prints. may come in handy.

1/15/2007 5:23:49 PM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/7/2005
  Ill do it in Tiff mode then convert to jpeg once it is done.

1/15/2007 5:31:12 PM

  Nat, I do it with C1 PRO and the conversion is done at one time. If per chance the size won't work it will tell you. But I have sized upto 250 megs so far with no problems. (That is from Raw files, then I edit from there) But it is an expensive program, but I really do like it. Not sure if that might help you in the future or not? Good Luck!!! Sheesh :)

1/16/2007 5:34:20 AM


member since: 9/25/2006
  "Ill do it in Tiff mode then convert to jpeg once it is done."

You're right, of course. Lossless is best.

1/16/2007 5:50:10 AM

Richard -. Morton

member since: 9/11/2004
  While I currently use a Nikon D200 with 10+ mp, I still have my old Nikon D-70 with 5.6 mp,so I am speaking from similar experience. I use Photoshop CS2 and I have an Epson 7800, on which I regularly produce 24 X 36 prints, both borderless and with a 1" or 1.5" border that looks like a mat.I have a fairly new Dell with 24" monitor so that I am able to see the enlarged pictures. I have little problem producing good photos with this equipment and I know a number of other photographers who do the same thing with similar equipment. I did go out and buy an additional 500 GB external drive to store all the very large files. It works just fine. I did enlarge, in in Photoshop the size file to handle to 300 MB. There is no probelm in working with these large files producing big prints. They are wonderful.

1/16/2007 6:06:03 AM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Natalie, All good responses.

I might add an inexpensive plug-in to enlarge a little at a time without having to go through all the 10% increases manually. Look at the Fred Miranda plug-in "Stair Interpolation." You must first set the desired aspect ratio, then use the FM plug-in to do the stair process automaticaly.

Site is

Hope this helps

1/16/2007 6:37:24 AM


member since: 6/8/2006
  I have an action from Scott Kelby's PSCS2 book for photographers, that I use in PSCS2 that increases the file size by 10% with each push of the key. I burned the file to a CD and took it to Kinko's and had it printed at a 24x36 size. The image is a handheld macro, cropped a bit from a 2 mp Olympus C2100 UZ. I can stand 2' from the image and it's pure perfection, if I do say so I used JPEG.

1/16/2007 6:38:57 AM

Debbie Del Tejo
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/30/2005
  I found to be very good, very fast and excellent. TIFF is they way to go and that site tells you how many megapixels and what size you can go up to.....very reasonable with great results. You can also see the cropping per size requested. Just trying to help.

1/16/2007 6:39:56 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  While I am now working with the 10.2 meg D200, I have previously had 30x40 prints made at my lab without difficulty. As previously mentioned, the file size must be increased in step process by 10%, usually about four times to get the size you need, otherwise your file falls apart at that size. You probably need to keep the image as a tiff and will probably need to burn it to a CD to send to the lab -- all of which your lab and others have already advised. The step increments keep adjacent pixels being selected instead of random ones that degrade the image. Saving as a jpeg will throw out data you just acquired and the resulting file size will be too big to send via internet. This can produce great results.

1/16/2007 8:17:26 AM

If your original is shot in RAW, you can upsize the image in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw)prior to converting and saving as a TIFF. There is a selection box that allows you to increase the megapixel resolution beyond the native 8.3mp. You should then be able to go to 180 dpi from the TIFF and get a good-sized image without interpolation. You can then use the 10% method to kick it up the rest of the way. Any professional grade printer can print with that resolution, and at 25X35, 300dpi is overkill. Printers are optimized for resolutions in multiples of 60, i.e. 180, 240, 300, 360, and in my experience you are better off reducing the dpi then you are inventing pixels.
I have an image in our state welcome center, shot with a 20D, that is 3 by 5 feet at 180 dpi.

1/16/2007 9:16:29 AM

BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/7/2005
  Oh wow, thank you to everyone who responded it. I very much appreciate it.

Ok, so what I'll do:

Leave them as Tiffs and send them to pro lab on CDs - ouch.

I also have Scott Kelby's action, so to upsize is only a click of the button like Susan said. I can't believe you got a 24x36 from a 2mg camera! That is fantastic.

Ok, well when my client makes the final payment and they are all printed, I will let you all know how they turn out.

Thanks everyone again for supportive comments.

1/16/2007 2:07:48 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  If your computer cannot handle large file sizes, a quick fix is to scale your JPEG file to half size (12.5 x 17.5 inches @ 300dpi) then ask your Lab to output the file at 200%.
A picture 25 x 35 inches is 225 meg in 300dpi TIF format - but this is only about 21 meg in JPEG (minimal compression, level 12).
As stated above, the larger the print size the more one views it from a distance. Get up close on "any" poster size print and you will see either grain, printer's screen dots or rosetta patterns.

1/16/2007 4:44:16 PM

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