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Moving from Film to Digital & Printing #1
Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
February 22, 2011 - 4:36am

Hi,

Just heard of this site off of the This Week In Photo podcast, glad I started listening, I am very impressed!

I've finally gotten rid of my darkroom and almost all my film cameras (I held on to my 1967 Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex F3.5 Model 3). I am real happy using my Canon 5D with Aperture, and Nik Software suite for my editing work in aperture. All is perfect except one thing…

When I used to print my images, I walked into my darkroom and did my work. Now everything is on the computer but I need to get things printed professionally so I can produce the same quality images I used to produce, and then mount them etc…

So my question is:

What are the tricks in aperture I need to be aware of to properly generate images for printing? I know this can be a wide subject but surely there are some top 5 tips somewhere I can peek at? :)

Is there a site that folks rely on for high quality printing? I don't really care about the cost, I just want it done right. If so, what kind of format do I need to be producing from Aperture to get the images to them properly and expect the right results. I'm looking to print on matt paper in sizes as large as 16x20 (I almost never go up higher, plus with cropping something tells me I won't be able to go that big with the 5D - I do understand the principles behind digital photography)

Thanks very much.
R

Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
February 22, 2011 - 6:04pm

Thanks for this advice, though I understand ICC profiles it’s been a while since I’ve used them, and it was back when I did what we called ‘desktop publishing’ :)

I’ve started researching some books to see which one fits my comfort level of understanding.

Do you have a recommendation on a reputable printer to use?

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
February 22, 2011 - 6:35pm

Robert (and Rutger),

FWIW I’ve printed photos from my 21Megapixel 5D Mk II and 1Ds Mk III as large as 30” x 40” and they looked fantastic. 300 dpi is a LOT of pixels on paper and I think the 150dpi is probably more than acceptable. Obviously you’ll want to try it to see if it’s what you expect, but I was blown away. And frankly seeing your work printed that big is just awesome.

For printers, I use a print house in Orange County that specializes in canvas printing but also does metal and paper (heavy watercolor type stock). I’ve been VERY happy with their results and the printer takes special care to look at your file up close in Photoshop and will even make changes to the file if he spots things that won’t print well. They are called Pixel2Canvas, the owner is Roxanne Benton. pixel2canvas.com or (949) 215-4844. Tell them Joseph Linaschke sent you (well tell Roxanne that if you talk to her!).

Of course they can ship anywhere so you don’t have to be local to use them.

Another very high end printer (i.e. expensive) in Los Angeles is Bowhaus, Inc. bowhaus.com (310) 837-1200. I’ve visited them and gotten a close look at their work — stunning! — but ended up not doing the big project I had planned so don’t have first-hand experience.

hope that helps,
-Joseph @ApertureExpert

@PhotoJoseph
— Have you signed up for the mailing list?

Robert Sfeir's picture
by Robert Sfeir
February 22, 2011 - 6:58pm

Thanks Joseph… I love this site already :) Printing on Canvas would absolutely rock!

Dr.Bob's picture
by Dr.Bob
February 22, 2011 - 8:06am

There is a lot to know about digital printing, just as there is really a lot to know about ‘chemical’ printing. So the best tip I can give you is to get some experience in it. But here are some starters for you:

Colormanagement: This is the most important part of digital printing. Get yourself a good book (e.g. real world colormanagement by Bruce Fraser) or a course of some kind. Profile your monitor and printer!

Quality of prints will depend on the quality of the printing material. Try different paper types and see which one suites you best (just as in the dark room). Or sent it out to a professional print shop or wet-lab; in my opinion nothing still beats ‘chemical’ prints. When you sent it out, please take care of the colorprofiles they accept or expect.

Finally the most basic tip: 300 DPI @ print size. Assuming the 16x20 you mentioned are inches (it’s about time we all start using the (SI) metric system) then you need 16x300 by 20x300 = 4800x6000 pixels or roughly 30 megapixels. Please keep in mind that this 300 DPI rule is not strict and sometimes doesn’t even make sense at all. You’ll need 300 DPI for up-close viewing, but for poster-sizes, which are always viewed from a distance you could go to 150 DPI.

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