There is nothing better than seeing your photographs printed. A recent trip to Yosemite and the Ansel Adams Gallery has inspired me to print my photographs with the best quality and craftsmanship that I can. When in Yosemite valley visit the gallery. Even the restaurants in the valley display the beautiful work of Michael Frye and others. The work and detail in the prints are gorgeous. With that being said this is how I develop my prints.
After editing (click here for more on editing) I will print from Photoshop. I will go to lightroom select the photo I want to print in the library tab, right click on that photo and select edit in: then select edit in Photoshop. Once I have it in Photoshop I do very little to the image since it's already been through the edit ringer. What I do is add some sharpening. The easiest way to do this is with a Nik plugin called Sharpener Pro. This makes sharpening a simple process based on your needs.
Once you have your photo loaded in Photoshop and Sharpener Pro loaded, go to filter, Nik Software, Sharpener Pro: Output Sharpener. Nik will then open up your photograph in the Nik Plugin. Under output sharpening I change it from display to ink jet. It will then give you a few options you will have to fill in based on your needs and printer. Under viewing distance I usually select the 4-8 ft range on my 13x19 prints. I then select my paper type. Last but not least is the printer resolution. My Canon Printer is a 4800 x 2400 but refer to your printer manual for proper resolution. That's it! Nik also has a selective sharpening option if you want to apply sharpening to some areas and not others. This is helpful if you want to sharpen the foreground but don't need sharpening for things like water and clouds. When that is completed press OK.
Once Nik applied the sharpening you should set up your printer to get the best possible prints. In Photoshop click file, then print. I then click Print Settings... This opens up the setting for my Canon printer. The menu for other brand printers may vary but the same concept remains. The main thing we want to do is have Photoshop manage the colors not the printer. So after you select your media type, paper size, and print quality, we want to click the box for "color/intensity manual adjustment".
Next click the main tab near the top. Double check media type, paper source, print quality and make sure color/intensity is on manual. Next click the set button. This will bring up the color adjustment tab, click on the matching tab next to that and click "none" under color correction. Press ok, press ok again and now you are ready to print. Double check the settings in the Photoshop print menu. Select color management; and document. Under color handling select "Photoshop Manages Colors". Pick your printer profile based on the paper you are using. Most manufactures have the paper profiles available for download on the manufactures website. I use Canon Paper and a Canon printer so paper profiles came preloaded. Now under "rendering intent" I either use "Relative Colorimetric" or "Preceptual". I normally do a couple 4x6 test prints to see which one comes out best, but sometimes you can see the effects in the Photoshop print setup page. I click the black point compensation box and now I am ready to print my photograph.
All in all the process takes just a few minutes. I am using Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. Process may vary based on different versions of software. I am using a Canon 9000 mark II printer, Epson and other printer procedures will vary so consult your manual when trying to set up your printer. The main thing we need to remember is to sharpen your photographs based on our needs and allow Photoshop to manage colors. When you have a calibrated monitor your print will look like what you see on your computer. This will save you time and money when trying to match your monitor with your prints.
After the printer prints, I let the print sit on the printer for a couple hours before I even touch it. This allows the print to dry. I then take the print and place it in a shaded area at my office and let it completely dry for a couple days before I frame it or ship it. I ship using a hard density tube with the print placed in an archival plastic bag. I also place a pair of white cotton gloves in the tube so when the buyer receives the print they will be able to safely handle it. A good idea for your customers is to have it shipped right to the framer. This way the customer won't have to handle it at all!
Happy Easter & Happy printing!