How to Get Your Photos Ready to Print in Photoshop

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Adobe Photoshop is a powerful image editing program used by digital photographers to enhance their photos. They also use Photoshop to prepare the picture for print to make sure that the printed photo more closely matches the onscreen image.

  • Open your image in Photoshop and make the necessary adjustments to the brightness, contrast and depth of color and saturation using the appropriate tools. Make adjustments so that the image, as you see it on the screen, is improved to your satisfaction.

  • Decide on the size of print you are planning to make. Click "Image>Image Size" and uncheck "Resample Image." Adjust the resolution to at least 180 pixels per inch. This shows you the maximum size image you can print from your file. 240 pixels per inch would be better to get a sharper and crisper image. Assuming your file is large enough, recheck the "Resample Image" box, set the resolution to 180 or 240 pixels per inch and then adjust either the width or the height to match your paper size. Click "OK," which will adjust the size of the file to properly fill the paper at the chosen resolution.

  • Sharpening your image corrects for the slight softening that happens when ink is absorbed into paper during printing. Use your favorite sharpening tools to get to a point where the image actually looks slightly too sharp on the screen, or alternatively, use "Smart Sharpen" with "Lens Blur" selected, 100 percent Amount and Radius set to 0.3 pixels.

  • Select "View>Proof Setup>Custom" and in the pop-up, select your printer and paper profile from the "Device to Simulate" list. Select "Perceptual" as the Rendering Intent, leave Black Point Compensation checked and also check "Simulate Paper Color." The printer/paper profiles can be downloaded from the paper manufacturer's web site and represent, on screen, what the image will look like when printed.

    Normally this will look duller than you expect. A computer screen is backlit and can show pure white with ease. A print reflects light from the surroundings, so the brightest shade is limited by the amount of light the paper can reflect.

  • Add a Curves adjustment layer to bring back some of the contrast that is lacking in the print. Select "Linear Contrast" as the preset. Remember, you are trying to create a pleasing image on the screen that will represent the final printed image. Adjust brightness and add more color saturation, if necessary, to enhance the colors. Finally, save the file under a new name and then print.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep an original copy of the file and always save edited files under a new name.
  • Reduce the file size during the preparation for final printing and then save this as a new file.
  • Don't enlarge a file more than 200 percent or the quality of the print will suffer.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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