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Best Practices for Printing

Lesson 33 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

Best Practices for Printing

Lesson 33 from: From Capture to Print

Rocco Ancora

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Lesson Info

33. Best Practices for Printing


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Advantages & Pitfalls of Printing


Demystifying Color Management


Understanding Bit Depth


Best Color Space to Work In


Importance of Image Capture


Live Shoot: Natural Light


Live Shoot: Studio Lights


Lesson Info

Best Practices for Printing

So let's have a look in summary where we go with all of this. We began talking about color management at the very, very start. And we began with the notion of working in the largest practical color space to be able to contain colors. ProPhoto RGB and certainly Abobe RGB was the way to go 'cause we learned that raw files then have a profile embedded in them and we decide how we map those colors and in what color space those colors will be mapped. Then, number two, the importance of calibrating your monitor to industry standard. OK, so we're not guesstimating, we're not making decisions with our eyes, we are making calculated decisions precise decision of how the color is being displayed on our monitor knowing that when we send our files to album companies or labs, what we get back will be exactly what we saw on the screen. OK? We've got to make sure also that our post production environment is as neutral as possible. Why? Because we talked about the fact that colors around us affect our...

visual perception. Very simple. Different color temperature lights, you know, we view things a little bit differently. And then of course, setting the color management policies in your post-production software and making sure that you stick to them. OK, so if you are working in Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RBG, you set those parameters in Photoshop, you set those parameters in Lightroom, in Adobe Camera Raw, so you're getting cohesiveness and consistency in working within a particular color space. And then of course, we go down the road of using custom profiles for optimum results when printing. You saw in the previous session all that come to life basically. We had an image on a screen that we worked and we loved the way it looked on the screen and then all we did was apply a printer profile matched to the paper and what we saw on the screen was exactly what we got printed. So, it's not magic, it's just sticking to procedures and making sure that you tick all your boxes and the result is pretty much out of this world. And then, of course, using D50 lighting to evaluate our prints. So there's no point in making an assessment about a print if your viewing it under totally the wrong light. And when we start looking at viewing conditions, you know people say, "Oh, I just go outside "and view it" because outside is daylight. Yeah but, at what time are you going outside? Daylight is daylight and it changes throughout the day. You've got morning light, you've got afternoon light, you've got evening, you've got sunlight. It might be a cloudy day. You know, if it's a cloudy day, well it's still daylight, but it's got a different color temperature. So we can't just trust going outside. You know, viewing color critical stuff with a booth is important or even setting colored lights in your-- D50 lighting in your environment where you view prints. And if you're not doing your own printing and the lab's doing the printing for you even when the area, your post-production area and you see there, when you open up the boxes, making sure that you're getting back what the lab has printed. So make sure that you're not-- There's isn't a mistake on your end or there's a problem within the system, you still need to be able to look at it under daylight D50 lighting. So it's important that you invest in D50 lighting. We then looked at the idea of printing archivally and what is printing archivally? Archivally is basically understanding that the substrate or the paper needs to be acid free and it's got to be free of optical brightening agents and it's got to be a cotton-based paper. So we're not introducing chemicals that could upset the way the colors work and over time these things actually deteriorate. So actually D50 lighting to evaluate your prints, printing archivally is extremely important. And then the idea of selling photography and selling images with your clients as historical pieces. And it comes down to educating your client as to the importance of photography. What is photography? And a lot of photographers don't take the time to do that. Photography is a way to keep us connected with our past and the way that we do that is through creating lots of beautiful prints that we sell to our clients and also selling prints to our clients is about having a business and having something to sell. As the line that we used earlier, selling you with speed sticks to make a buck or printing to make a living. You decide as to which road you want to take. And I know which road I definitely want to take. Any questions Roo, from the internet at this stage? Well, could you talk us through the larger prints here? Yeah, absolutely. These ones here. These are-- These like I said are from a series I shot in Japan and, when we print, it's about completing that final vision. OK, so when I took the shot, this is pretty much what I saw. So, it's about pre-visualizing. And once you understand the process of what to do with printing, you want to be able to get to the point of you look at a scene, you visualize it, you pre-visualize it, and you actually see this before you do that. I know if sounds pretty crazy, but to actually see the final print before you take it is where you want to be. Even in my general wedding work, it's the same process. I look at things and I know how the print pretty much is going to be interpreted. This one here, this one here, this is, you know, this is a very different take on Mt. Fuji. Mt. Fuji is a really, really big mountain and it is an awesome site to see. But when you view Mt. Fuji from a different perspective, and in this case here I shot it with a wide-angle lens and I made the mountain actually appear so small in the vastness in this amazing sky, you come to realize that everything is relative. We are very small compared to this mountain, but the mountain is very small compared to the rest of the world if you like. So that was a very, very different take on something that is quite beautiful. But also, I wanted to preserve these nice beautiful subtle hues that were through, through the sky. You know, there's very subtle oranges sort of creeping through and there's this beautiful wispiness of the clouds and the wide-angle lens helped me to kind of accentuate that. Printing this on Rag Photographique was the paper that we printed it on. The reason for that was, number one is the nice, beautiful, velvety surface feel to it. And the nice, beautiful gamut that it gave me because it was a nice, softer image. The paper handled the gamut of the, of what was in the photograph quite well and the blacks, I just wanted that nice beautiful milkiness to it. And the same goes for this image here. It is that type of feel. And a lot of the times from our own personal work, I would like to edit and I guess shoot for the paper, if that makes sense because I know what the paper can reproduce and I know what I'd like to edit and you pretty much make images for the paper stock. But this only comes from experience with printing. So the idea is to go out there, print. If you're not printing yourself, so out there and actually print through a laboratory, you know, the stuff from Graphy. Even just getting prints ordered through Graphy, absolutely amazing. OK, so very good. Rocco, question, when you deliver your prints to your clients, what recommendation do you give them how to display the print? The location within the house, you know, where to opt it, what kind of lighting, etcetera. I normally ask them where the print is going to go. You know, people a lot of the time, the dialogue goes something like this: We want to order a print, but we don't know how big we want to go with a wall. And the questions I ask is how big is the wall? OK? If the wall is say, 10 feet across, then it's obviously a big wall. And I always say to them, what looks really silly is a really, really small print on a very, very big wall. Or a very, very big print in a very, very small space. OK, so everything is proportional. If I was to fill this wall there and I only had the choice of putting one hero picture well something along there, I'd have to print at least a 60-by-40-inch print or canvas or something to fill that space and make it work. As I showed you in the presentation, in the hallway of our house as you come in, there is all these pictures and they're all eight-by-12s. Why? Because when you walk in, the space is this wide and you're viewing prints very, very close. And it's a cluster of prints altogether and it looks amazing. You know, a lot of clients ask us to do that. We do the cluster of prints. So we print 10 eight-by-12s and then they frame them in clusters and it looks absolutely beautiful, all different sizes, sometimes even different frames and it looks good. And then we start talking about lighting and we are very, very specific about if we are doing a 60-40-inch art print and it's gonna be hung on the wall and we've printed it on archival paper, is there going to be a lot of sunlight hitting the wall? Yes, well then you've got to start thinking about UV glass. Strongly recommend UV glass. Then we start talking about framing and framing with conservation glass or perhaps framing with acid-free boards, etcetera, etcetera. So that's a sort of level and extent we take. Essentially what we want to do is not only print for the client, but we want to take control of the printing. We want to be in control of the entire process because then we can guarantee the full product. But what I always say to my clients is that once you take your 60-40 print out of here and we've printed it archivally and you take it, and you take it anywhere you want, all bets are off because then the print get damaged, you gotta by a new one. Because framers aren't-- Not all framers are equal. Some of them are pretty rough. You know how many clients have rung us, "They've damaged the print, what am I gonna do? "Can you print another one?" Yeah, I can, but it's gonna cost. A 60-by-40-inch print doesn't grow on trees. So these are the conversations. Looking at the size of the wall, and be genuine about-- I always love to seel 60-40 prints, but if the client has a wall this size, I'm not gonna go down that road. I'd rather sell her five or six eight-by-12s that she can put in a cluster, which would look quite nice. And, you know. So be malleable with your products because those hanging conditions could bury you. Very much. OK? Maybe one final question. What do you use to sign your work? Like what pen? What pen I use? Yeah. OK, for this stuff here, I use a pencil. So a HB pencil for this type of paper works really, really well. And for the other paper, which is the platine, which is a coated stock, I get, um, it's an ink pen, which I've forgotten the name of it. But it designed especially to sign photographs. So it's not going to interfere, it hasn't got acid in it or anything like that. In Australia, we buy them at art shops. Art shops sells these pens, but they're ink-based pens and they're very, very fine and we can use them to sign on the paper itself.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Rocco's Photoshop Actions
Rocco's Printer Evaluation Files
Color & Luminosity Seperation Action

Ratings and Reviews

Roberto Valenzuela

I honestly consider many courses to be great, but optional. However, this course by Rocco Ancora is a MUST! It helps the photographer complete the circle of being a photographic artist. Our job doesn't end at the edit, it ends with the print. When your clients can hold and enjoy your creative vision physically, that is when the magic of being a photographer happens. I have been so fortunate to travel the world teaching and meeting some of the best photographers in the world. That being said, I can say with confidence that nobody can teach this combination of Photoshop retouching / fine-art printing better than Rocco Ancora. I believe in this class so much, I traveled to Seattle to attend this course to be part of the live studio audience. I have never done that before. But that's how important I consider this material to be. I am so happy I took the time to go and learn from the man himself. Now, I will get this course to watch it, dissect it, study it, and practice it. Very excited to see how the knowledge in this course will propel my career further. --Roberto Valenzuela

a Creativelive Student

I was fortunate enough to attend this class in person and got to experience Rocco's prints in person. The quality is absolutely breathtaking and a game changer, Learning these skills will really help my business in a number of ways. In the past, I have had a difficult time convincing clients to purchase typical lab prints through my studio, as opposed to buying them through Walmart or Costco where the quality was "close enough." Rocco's method that he shared in this class creates three dimensional images of unmatched quality and images that just jump off the page. The knowledge from this course will empower me to help run a sustainable business and thrive as a photographer. You would be foolish to not learn these methods and incorporate them into your business. Highly Recommend!!

April S.

I have invested time into learning Lightroom and Photoshop, my own gear, and my particular photographic style, but the one thing I am really lacking is a solid understanding about preparing an image for print, and the various print options (e.g., paper types). When I saw this course come up on the CL schedule it caught my eye immediately so I RSVP'd for the live broadcast. I was at work when it started and couldn't watch at that time. I do listen in from work sometimes, but after 2 minutes of listening to this course I realized it was one I really needed to watch closely and focus on. So, I stopped the stream after a couple minutes and bought the course. I have never done that before. I always wait and watch as much as I can in the initial broadcast (or rebroadcast) to decide if a course is one that I really should spend for. I knew right away though that Rocco was presenting the very information I was lacking and needed, and I wanted it! In addition, it was clear to me after looking him up online that he's a consummate professional with lots of experience and his delivery style even in just the couple of minutes that I listened reflected that. I already have X-rite ColorMunki Display and Colorchecker, a good monitor, and I have a photo printer (Canon Pixma Pro-100) but I'm lacking that technical understanding of color and know I'm not using my resources to their fullest. I use my Canon Pixma to test-print images before uploading to the print service I use. My method isn't ideal since the service uses different printers and ink, and paper depending on what I choose, but at least I have a much better idea of what my image file will give me in print form. After Rocco's course I believe I will be much better equipped to prepare my images and choose the options best suited to each image. I'll still test print if only because it's fun to see something on paper, but I expect the results I get from the print service to be much better once I really know how to put this knowledge to work for me.

Student Work