Day 267 – Printing and Digital Projection

Camera Club this week was amazing – an evening on monitor calibration and printer calibration for getting the most out of your prints and digital files …. I know the importance of both… I have a Spyder to calibrate my monitor… I use the correct colour profiles when I am printing on my expensive photo paper – but my images have never looked quite right – they often come back darker than I anticipated … I have never let on – I went to college and did Graphic Design for 2 years … but I had no idea why!

A flatlay showing some of the components needed to present images.
A flatlay showing some of the components needed to present images.

Tonight – I had a light bulb moment – the simplest tip of information ever – and I am looking at a whole new set of images ….

My monitor was set too bright – how daft is that … no one ever told me to only set my monitor at around 80/100 candles. (The brightness level) for photography – if you are gamer – you want a much brighter screen – but if you are doing photography you want it to look as close as possible to the end result. I need to be aware tough that people viewing my images may well be looking at a screen that is too bright too!

When I print photos, I use Permajet paper on the whole – and depending on the paper type I use depends on how the ink sticks to the paper … so I set my print profile too, so that the computer matches the paper to what I am seeing on the screen.

I also discovered more about soft proofing – how you can visualize the image on the paper in Lightroom and in Photoshop CC –  if you are not working in the right colour space, then you photo might now be printing out quite with the range of colours you expect… It was also explained to me the difference between relative and perceptual.

When I go to print – I have an option to “relative” or “perceptual” print – I have never known which to choose – and actually it does depend a bit on the image… but “relative” is a good place to start – as it theory in soft proofing I should have already ensured that there were not colours out of Gamut. It is explained much better here, if you are interested.

Sometimes images are printed with a colour cast – they often say that at club but what’s a colour cast? A color cast is an unpleasant color shift in a photo. For example, a photo taken indoors without a camera flash may have too much yellow. Color cast is a difference between what you see in the image and what you expected to see – by taking photos in Raw – this can be corrected often with the white balance tool. A useful video for Lightroom can be watched here. This usually works most of the time but can fail under mixed lighting or when the target is not actually pure white. This is a great video by Fstoppers – with enable you to sort out the colour cast in photoshop, particularly when it only effects some areas of the image. A great reason to start editing in Lightroom and then pop across to photoshop!

For club competitions I also discovered..

  • It is a good idea to view prints under a daylight bulb as this is how the judge sees them
  • For digital competitions… The projector projects the images slightly brighter so it is a goo idea to export with -0.2  exposure in Lightroom … or -10 brightness and +15 contrast in photoshop! But that is only for our club projector – although it is calibrated for international competitions.
  • To get to the top of the advance class … I am nowhere near that level, the photographers can spend up to an hour or so editing their image, they print and re print to make sure it is right – looking closely at the image to make sure it is perfect. However it is great to hear that our primary class photographers are already a very high standard compared to some other clubs.

I was not sure about club photography when I started – they seem so knowledgeable… I know that I should have known some of this before – as I have said I have done 2 years Graphic Design, a year’s photographery course … but I think until today I was not ready for all this information – it is technical, I just wanted to create images – but through developing my photography I now want to make better images – and therefore I need to learn what i can to achieve this.

Note: Today’s image – a photography related flatlay – this one was much easier to compose … I had a subject – photography,  I wanted to include items that told a story relating to the post and although I need to work on my horizontal camera angle – I am much happier with this one.

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