This is one of the photographs that I printed, on Hahnemüehle paper, in the photography print workshop I attended this week. Many thanks to instructor, friend and mentor, Regula Franz, for offering this workshop in her home studio – for her teaching and her generosity.
I learned so much about printing photographs that my head is still swirling, and I want to record some of what I learned here lest I forget.
Printing photographs is all about subtleties. The process trains your eye to see the nuances that make the difference between a good photograph and a truly exquisite one.
If you’re going to make the effort to print or have your photographs printed, go the extra step and use archival ink and paper. The type, finish, and thickness of paper make a huge difference in the print. Conscious printing brings true color rendition, details in shadows, and contrast that bring images to life.
Configure Photoshop’s color space for Adobe RGB. Calibrate your monitor so the results you get will be reliable. Download the paper profile to your printer. Adjust your photo for printing (curves to brighten, sharpen, luminosity). We used the steps outlined by Scott Kelby in his book, The Adobe Photoshop Book for Digital Photographers. Make sure to allow Photoshop to manage colors, not the printer.
There are lots of things that can go wrong in the process, and some of what could go wrong did during our class. The printer manual needs to be at-the-ready at all times. Print nozzles get clogged and need cleaning. Ink runs low. The picture that appears vibrant on the screen looks a little dull on matte paper. It can be a frustrating process, but also an immensely rewarding one. There is a giddy feeling as I watch my photograph inch its way out of the printer tray and into my hands.
I work within the constraint of a limited budget, so I won’t be purchasing a photo printer right now. But I had this truly wonderful feeling while taking the workshop – the feeling that I was in the right place, doing the right thing for me. This story is not over, not by a long shot.
There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves
and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.