Video – Printing 101

I’ve gotten a lot of requests to delve into the print settings in Lightroom and take a closer look at how to get that great print. So this week’s video is going to do just that. Think of it at Printing 101. The cool thing about it is that I don’t think there’s going to be a printing 102 video. There’s a few print settings in Lightroom and once you’ve seen them there’s not much more to it. While I’m at it, I’ll head off a question that usually follows whenever I teach this and that is a) Do I do all of my printing myself and, b) If not, what lab do I use? Yes I do some of my printing myself. I’ve got an Epson R2400 that does an amazing job. Lately though, time constraints and ink/paper costs have lead me to look more into sending my printing work out and I have to say that Mpix.com is making it harder for me to print myself. They do one heck-of-a job and their quality/turn around time is amazing. Will I still continue to print myself – you betcha. But I’m liking the idea of a lab more and more these days. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts so feel free to leave ‘em here as a comment. See ya tomorrow!

Click here to watch the video. (14Mb)

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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36 Comments

  1. I too am finding sending out to Mpix.com a perfect solution. Most of the stuff I’m printing here is more “proof” type work with final work sent to Mpix (by they way they rock… good prices and turn-around time is fantastic! — quality work too!!!). I don’t want to spend my time printing and finishing the print with a protective coating… nope Mpix does great work… (and this isn’t a paid advertisement, nor do I work for them… just had very good experience working with them).

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  2. I agree about MPix – after ordering 72 4×6 pearl prints from ColorIncloporated (because ColorIncorporated didn’t offer Kodak Metallic paper any longer) – I received an invoice for $328. Bye bye, ColorInc.

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  3. I found a new lab last year that works great for me. It is Buckeye Color Lab. Their prices and turn around are VERY good. I like that what I see on my monitor, matches what I get back. That is the best thing. I got tired of getting back prints from other labs that wouldn’t match at all or staff that didn’t have a clue. I do calibrate my monitor and care about what I’m seeing.

    Any words on SlideShowPro for Lightroom? Thanks!

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  4. When ordering prints from a Mpix or others, how do you make sure they honor your color adjustments or do they change what is sent with some of their printing software. I’ve heard but not tried Mpix and have been disappointed by other labs so for now I’ll print my own. Except my printer is an R800 and is limited to 8.5 inch wide prints.

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  5. I’ve gotten to the stage of being pretty finicky about results. I use the various papers that I like (thank you, Red River). I like the colors I see on my monitor, calibrated to a standard I agree with. In short, its the only thing that “I want it now!” If I do a 7 point picture I’d be very angry if I get 6 point results or the print fades 2 years from now. Plus, I would still have to wait at the door for delivery. And, yes, I’m still saving for an Epson 1900 or 2400. This month’s allowance is for re-upping on NAPP and for Amazon to ship the Layers book.

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  6. You’re recording this on February 22nd? Even though it’s still the February 21st? And your iCal shows 21 and your menubar clock says it’s Thursday and the 22nd is a Friday?

    Something is fishy!

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  7. I agree, something is definitely fishy. How the heck did I make it to where I am and I still don’t know how to keep track of dates. Actually, I realized after I was done I get the date wrong. I could have gone back and re-recorded but that isn’t any fun. So watch the video tomorrow and the dates will catch up.
    : )

    Matt K

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  8. This subject could go on for days and probably should. To me ,though, the point at which you start using a lab versus doing your own prinitng is where you stop becoming an artist and become a commercial photographer. I am just a newbie to this but so far have never been satisfied with the results and control of my work from the few labs I have used. Another point that might be considered here ( hopefully without stepping on any one’s toes) is the promotion of a specific services and/or products -labs or otherwise. That being said I have the utmost respect for the judgment as best you can- I need you.

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  9. I’ve always done my own printing. Since the days of film and now with digital, as a photographer, part of my job is to make my product.

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  10. Sorry this is off topic, but I just found this in LR. Ha, I feel bad that I never knew this before. So before anytime I wanted to know if I had blown the highlights (and where), I’d hold Alt, and then adjust the recovery and see. Sometimes I could just tell that it was obvious from the histograms. Well anyway, I just found there are two up pointing arrows on the histogram that when hovered upon, well show you the blown highlights or shadows!! I wish I would’ve known this sooner. :)

    Now don’t get the impression that I blow them all the time… :)

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  11. I am currently a student and so I print all myself, but maybe when I get out into doing it regularly I would have a lab do it… it just is nice seeing the result right in front of you and the process of making it amazing.

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  12. hey Matt,

    yes I like sending my stuff out, sure i have to make a pdf and open in PS and save as JPEG , but the cost of ink and paper and hassles of printer head cleaning and all that goes with it is not worth a good print from a lab.
    The first step is to be color calibrated on your monitor and if you use Adobe Gamma and set it to the wizard you can be so close to right on.
    thats what i have done and get a color match from monitor to print. you must be in sRGB because most photo labs are set to sRGB if not all.
    i send to several different labs depending on the print size and have never had an issue with color or my blk&wht. in fact i have some actions for blk&wht that take the cyan out of the print so when i convert i use the action and its right every time. for my action i use channel mixer in monochrome, settings are (RED 60) (GREEN 30) (BLUE 10) and a color balance adjustment of (MID’s +1RED +1MAGENTA +1YELLOW) and (HIGHLIGHTS +1YELLOW) and that works for me.

    I like the ease of lightroom in layouts for printing and it does save time in PS doing it the old way.

    Thanks for your tips here and in PS killer tips also.

    Ron

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  13. I have to totally agree with you that mpix is great. I heard you person put it this way printing just one nice picture is good to do on your own but printing a lot of pictures is work. I have to say that, that pretty much says it all. Thanks for all the work that u put into this site I stop here daily.
    Sean

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  14. Love MPix. Use them foall my photo printing and do my own canvas work on an HP 5000 Wide Format Inkjet printer.

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  15. I use Mpix for 20×30 prints. They do a great job – turnaround time is incredibly fast. I’ve used others, but I’ve found them to be the best so far.

    Larry

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  16. From one who has NEVERbeen able to print from Lightroom and get the correct coloring, I really appreciated this short tutorial.
    I did find that my printer, which is the Epson R2400, was set to make color adjustments, and I had never noticed that before. Thanks to you, hopefully I’ll finally be able to use Lightroom and print from my great printer.

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  17. If there’s not going to be a printing 102 how about a primer on building your own print templates. I haven’t tinkered with it enough to have learned much yet but I’m currently taking a class where knowing how to build a Comp Card (Zed Card) template might be beneficial. I know how to get multiple images on a page but they’re all the same size. I’d like to vary the size of the photos on an 8 1/2 x 11 or 11 x 14 output. It’s kinda hard to do class work and tinker in Lightroom (and eat dinner, and get some sleep and have time for the family, etc, etc, etc).

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  18. there are some labs that accept adobe rbg as your color space. i guess i’m a bit confused about this topic, as i have heard that the only really really true way to get your colors to match the lab’s 100% is to convert them to cmyk. now, why when we have the capability to have all of that other color space, would we curtail ourselves? because (from what i gather) even though the labs are accepting srgb and adobe rgb, in transferring them to their printers, they are changing them to cmyk themselves.

    what has everyone else heard? and maybe we do need a primer and a second course in this (imho).

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  19. Another really useful tutorial Matt – Thanks.

    I notice that in the printer settings you left the paper type as ‘plain paper’ , even though the profile is set to a premium paper. Is that because the profile deals with the aspects that this part of the printer driver would change, or does the profile completely over-ride the driver’s paper setting?

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  20. Ha! I was just about to the same thing about the paper type! Do I need to change it to the specific paper type? What if there is a difference in color> Where should the adjustments be made? I do have all of my monitors calibrated and get good results printing out of Ps, (with a little tweaking here and there). Thanks for the video, I have so much about the great printing out of Lr, but couldn’t get good results myself, (yet). Can we please get a set of presets based upon the old cooling and warming filters of the film era? 81s, 85s, and 80s, 82s…thanks Matt!

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  21. Allen,

    With Mpix you just have to check off a box on the order form to NOT color correct your prints and they’ll print them as is. Like many online labs they only print in sRGB. You can download ICC profiles from them as well.

    I use them for the majority of my prints. Their printers cost much more than I can afford and printing is what they do so they are good at it.

    Have always had great service. Anything I wasn’t satisfied with was quickly reprinted and shipped next day.

    Of course if you are printing to custom papers for water color or other fine art effects then certainly printing yourself is best.

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  22. What Brian and Zac asked. If I tell the printer driver not to manage colors, can I really ignore the paper setting there and trust LR and the color profile to manage ink flow as well as color balance?

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  23. Okay Matt.
    A few days of playing with the settings, and watching your video a few dozen times, I’m still no closer to getting prints the same as they look in Lightroom.
    Where do I turn for help? I really want to be able to use Lightroom to do my printing.
    It is seriously frustrating.
    I have calibrated my monitor, downloaded profiles, changed settings…
    *sigh*

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  24. Hey everyone,
    One thing I did forget to mention is to change your paper type in that list as well. Sorry about that.

    Matt

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  25. hey matt, thanks for the cool videos.
    i have an epson 2400, and use “ultra premium luster”. do i pick PremLuster BstPhoto.icc from the list? and what’s the diff between that and Photo.icc, or PhotoRPM.icc

    thanks

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  26. Hi Matt,

    I got this from some place else, but it’s one of the reasons I really like printing from LR.

    Once you have everything set correctly, save them as preset. Then the next time you print, hold down the ALT key and the Print… will turn into a Print button. When pressed it will start printing without going through all the print settings, but use your saved settings. I use Moad Kokopelli Gloss with their ICC profiles on a Canon i9900 and I save one preset for Landscape and another for Portrait.

    Works Great and sure saves time.

    Keep it up!

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  27. I live in canton ohio, and just about 5 miles north of me is a lab called buckeyecolorlab I’ve used there sevices for about 3 years now, I’ve have never been disappointed once. They also offer a color profle for photoshops soft proof which is great so with a calibrated monitor wysiwyg.And thanks to the NAPP help desk they showed me how to have photoshop load the profile on startup. I’ve been know to do correcting but forgetting to load the soft proof just to have to go back and re colorcorrect.All I need now is have the same option for lightroom hint…hint

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  28. This video glossed over it, but there is something I don’t understand about the image resolution.

    What does the DPI setting actually do? I don’t understand this concept of DPI – isn’t the DPI based on the resolution of the thing that’s displaying your image – be it a monitor or a printout?

    In the video, Matt says that he sets the DPI around 240. On what is this decision based? Why 240? Why not a really big DPI, won’t that give a better image? (Of course I realize it must not.) Why would you choose a larger DPI than the native resolution of the image? How does the print DPI relate to the native resolution of the image?

    Thanks for any help. If there are any websites that explain this, I would appreciate the links. Thanks.

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  29. Matt,

    Could you tell me how you record your movies for the web?

    Do you use a special program for the screen capture?

    Keep up the good work

    Cheers

    James

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  30. If you Like MPIX, try WHCC.com.
    Better output and less expensive, nearly half of MPIX.

    I began using MPIX and after a few recommendations to try White House Custom Color I finally tried them and never went back to MPIX.
    WHCC allows you to print 5 8×10’s before giving them any payment info.

    FYI: 12×18’s at WHCC are $6.00
    Free 2 day shipping (all orders must be a minimum of $12)

    MPIX.com is $10.79 for a 12×18.

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  31. I have a question. I’m interested in using an online photofinisher as well. They say they print at 400 ppi (ppi not dpi) and they recommend that I can get good print results with 300 ppi. My question is: when I export from lightroom to a jpeg, does it matter what ppi I choose (i.e. should I leave it at 72 ppi or change it to 400 ppi), or can I just ignore this setting. Also, will I get better results if I choose TIFF rather than jpeg?

    (For online photofinishing I’m using file>export)

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  32. Alright – can you give some more information on the Lightroom to PDF to Photoshop to JPG to commercial printer? When I try to do it and pull the PDF into PS CS2 it only brings the image and not all the other stuff – so I loose borders, plates, etc.

    Thanks!

    Duane…

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  33. These video’s are great. Question…I am trying to use a Selphy ES2 printer & paper which does not seem to have a ICC profile to download. I have searched the web and have found others asking the same question…but not a lot of answers or suggestions. My prints are coming out too dark when the printer is managing the color.

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  34. At WHCC you can send them ten prints and they will send them back to you as test prints so you can see if you like or calibrate, etc. They also have extremely fast turn-around!!
    I’m finding more and more labs accepting Adobe RGB embedded files since they say they can actually print outside the sRGB profile, even if not entirely. I’ll take any extra I can get, so I send them in as Adobe RGB.
    Drycreek Photo has a TON of info on printing at labs, etc., and color spaces, etc., particular to different printers. Most use Fuji Frontier or Noritsu and you can find info on that on that site.
    Anyway, I’ll stop blabbing.
    Thanks, Mattie!! :O)
    Gina

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  35. Thanks for your easy delivery and explanations…? how do you save a picture that you ( a “save as” in photoshop) get the same print output when you want to make another print later? make you could address this in your LR 2 printing video ?

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  36. Great tips Matt – many thanks

    Two questions:

    1. Does anyone know of a service of similar quality to Mpix in the UK; and
    2. Is there a video, pls, showing how to set up a print to send out to a lab?

    Thanks

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