BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Peter Konrad
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/11/2007

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.

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8/29/2007 7:35:13 PM

Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  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 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!

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8/30/2007 2:49:36 PM

Jon Canfield   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.

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8/30/2007 6:45:31 PM

Peter Konrad
BetterPhoto 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?

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8/30/2007 6:57:48 PM

Jon Canfield   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.


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8/30/2007 7:45:37 PM

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