My first post here on NPN. Excited to get to know you all.
Anyways, I’m here because I’m often battling printing my work. I shoot and edit darker/moodier scenes most of the time, so as you can imagine dealing with dark areas and printing is a point of contention for me.
A quick history of my print workflow, I’ll make it short (and btw, I don’t often soft proof because I find it very misleading, I tend to just test print on a small paper) -
Calibrated monitor, check.
Edit a master copy for the web. This is how I wish the image to look under ideal conditions. I save it as a PSB most of the time (I edit with lots of layers :-p )
Duplicate the master copy.
Flatten the Image
Convert profile to adobe RGB or sRGB depending on where it’s being printed.
Crop and Size the Image to exact specs
Then finally brighten the image and make final adjustments (possibly saturation, contrast, etc).
Step 6 is where things often get extremely frustrating to me. I find myself under a common scenario creating a brightness/contrast layer and bumping it to about 30, contrast to maybe say 10. If it’s a darker than normal image, I’ll create a darks 4 luminosity mask, sometimes darks 3, and put it in screen mode and then add a little contrast back via the middle levels slider. This will result in the image looking fairly flat on my screen but I know that when I print, it will come out much darker and with quite a bit more contrast.
And often I need to create a lights 4 mask (or so) and mask OUT the brightness changes to the brightest areas of my image as to not clip them. Even if they look clipped on screen, they do often end up ok in print.
However, even with significant bumps to brightness, or exposure, or levels, I still find the images come out with more contrast than my original master file. I can get them fairly close, and they look ok. But often I’m having to do a whole other round of editing just get it even close to my original intention.
When printing it seems like you lose the bottom 10% of your histogram, it becomes nearly invisible unless under DIRECT sunlight.
I guess my question is how do you all manage your printing workflow? What works for you? How often are you test printing, and what edits in Photoshop do you make before printing? And lastly, how do you best manage your darks and shadows when printing darker images? Just bumping exposure a whole stop or so for print can throw off the highlights, so I don’t think that’s the solution, but is it? It’s impossible to trust what you see on screen until it’s in print.
Anyways, you get the point by now. Thanks to anyone who stuck with this post and can help out. I’m mostly happy with my prints but I just want a more obvious workflow. I don’t understand why so much contrast gets added when printing. And soft proofing just doesn’t work right since it’s backlit, vs front lit in a print.
Thank you all, and sorry to drop such a huge ass bomb for my first post. But I hope this will help other folks who love to print at home. BTW, I’m using a Pixma Pro 100 at home. Everything calibrated, it’s just a matter of all the additional adjustments I have to make from my original master file.
I’m sharing two images, the first is my original intention, the 2nd is with the edits I had to make to get it to look like image 1, but in print. Hope this all makes sense.