Print Module

Using Print Dimensions & Resolution

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The Print module in Lightroom has a checkbox in it that allows you to resample the image you are working on to set the target PPI for printing.  If your image does not meet the resolution that you specify in this box (usually 240ppi), the upsampling kicks in and takes care of it for you.  There are times however when you would like to see just how far of a print size you can get away with without any upsampling. In this instance, I made a two shot pano of NYC with a Sony A7R and wanted to see just how far I could push the file with its natural resolution.

How Do You Do It

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Select the image that you want to work with and go into the Print module.  Inside of the Print module, I tend to turn off all of the guides with the exception of Dimensions.  Once you’ve done this, the checkbox that you want to look at is the Print Resolution checkbox under the Print Job panel.  If you leave this checked on and the file is under the target resolution based on the size that you want to print, Lightroom kicks in and starts doing its upsampling for you.  The part that’s interesting is that it will not tell you in the Dimensions screen that it is upsampling.  The Dimensions screen will just show you the size of the image that you are working on.

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However, If you turn off the Print Resolution checkbox, you will see the size of the image that you are working with, as well as its target resolution in PPI. This shows me that I could theoretically push this file into something a little bit bigger than 34×15 and still be above the 240ppi that I would be aiming for to get a good high quality print.

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Where Else Could This Be Helpful? Crops.

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Another place I tend to find the Print Resolutions and Dimensions helpful is when I work with crops in an image.  This was shot with a Fuji XT1 when i was walking around Ybor City.  While I liked the original picture, I found a lot of the area around the picture a little distracting.  Cropping the shot would let me really focus on the things I wanted in the image.  When you crop, however, you know you’re throwing out a good portion of the image- which will limit how big you can print it unless you upsample.  Me, I’m trying to see just how far I could push it without that happening.

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Unchecking the Print Resolution, the file looks like it could be printed at about 16×9 at just about 240PPI.  So, i’ve lost a big portion of the size, but not really all that much.  Truthfully – I would opt to make this an even smaller print and increase the resolution just a tad more.  Does it bother me that the print needs to be smaller?  Not really – I’ll just get a bigger Matte for it and call it an Artistic Choice.  Hey – have you seen just how big the Mona Lisa is?  🙂

Hope the tip helps!

 

 

 

 

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21 comments

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  3. Claude Carrier 10 January, 2016 at 14:18 Reply

    Great explaination. It is the only place I found that explains well the use of the “print resolution”. Thank you.

  4. Susan From Vermont 8 February, 2015 at 11:01 Reply

    I think I understand how this works. But with a printer that only prints on paper up to 8.5×11, cannot really see it. I will look in my library and see if I can find some images that were extremely cropped. Maybe then I will see the difference.

  5. Andy Z 12 January, 2015 at 08:35 Reply

    I’m missing something here. WHen I have Resolution checked, 240ppi, my image would be 2.5×3.8 (I’m rounding). When I turn that off, instead of seeing larger dimensions I see a larger PPI setting, “2.506 x 3.759 in @ 1379 ppi” and it would appear I have to do the math to increase the size while reducing the ppi.

    How do I see dimensions in inches at a predetermined ppi?

  6. Lori 8 January, 2015 at 00:52 Reply

    I love this tip but was wondering if it is ever OK to do the upsampling. Why is it there if it is to be avoided. If one did need to upsize, is it better to use lightroom or photoshop. (Does one do better than other.) I also have OnOne8 – would that resize algorithm be different? I read someone saying if you upsample, do it in small increments at a time, not all at once. Does that make sense? I’m asking because I’m going to be working with old photos for a project and anticipate the need. Looking forward to the new lightroom show. I don’t care what is covered as I always welcome refreshers.

  7. Bill Young 7 January, 2015 at 22:50 Reply

    Thanks for the great tip RC. I never thought to uncheck that Print Resolution box. I need to convince myself that something less than 360ppi will be OK on my 3880.

    If you and Scott are still looking for ideas for your new LR show, I’d vote for a regular feature on useful plugins. I found the article in this month’s Photoshop User very informative. I think Jeffrey Friedl’s site alone would provide you with a lot of material.

  8. Matt Schlotzhauer 7 January, 2015 at 09:49 Reply

    Hmm… doesn’t seem to work. keeps defaulting to a small page size. Does this have to do with the printer setup to use? ie w/o a large format printer how do you do this. Print module has always seemed funky to me.

    • RC Concepcion 7 January, 2015 at 10:15 Reply

      Yes Matt – you do. I’d love to hear what you’ve thought of as funky in the Print module. I’m not the end all be all on the print side… but I do like spending a lot of time in that space.

      • Matt Schlotzhauer 7 January, 2015 at 10:23 Reply

        Hey RC,

        I spent way too many years in the windows camp (switch to apple 2 yrs ago) where my main print app was Qimage. LR’s Print module although quite capable is not intuitive ie doesn’t lead one through the process well. It becomes a trail and error exercise that you have to continually re-learn especially when you don’t use it that much. I usually find myself back in PS if I have to get a print ready to send off to my usual printing house. One thing I still miss is the ability to dial in sharpening the way Qimage provided.

        • Paul C 7 January, 2015 at 10:43 Reply

          I echo all all of this.. trial & error… and a whole lot of printer ink. However saving as a template helps me get there. I think the problem is that we spend a whole load of time in some other modules but the printing always comes at the end when we are most tired!

    • Matt Schlotzhauer 7 January, 2015 at 10:15 Reply

      Got it! Sheesh… set page size left panel at bottom…. need more coffee 🙂

      Very informative tip Scott, THANKS!

  9. Michael Christensen 7 January, 2015 at 00:50 Reply

    I have LR ver. 5.7 I have done as described but I only get the dimensions but not the DPI. The dimensions is in top left corner inside the image and not as shown in the above-mentioned over the image. Is there a setting I need to put somewhere?
    Thanks in advance:-)

    • KC 7 January, 2015 at 10:05 Reply

      “Once you’ve done this, the checkbox that you want to look at is the Print Resolution checkbox under the Print Job panel.”

      and

      “However, If you turn off the Print Resolution checkbox, you will see the size of the image that you are working with, as well as its target resolution in PPI.”

      This was a rather verbose way of saying: “Go to the Print Job panel and uncheck Print Resolution. This will display the PPI of the file.”

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