We’ve addressed the basics of layout, imaging, and slide shows in Lightroom. Now, we’ll move on to the Print module. Again, there are great tutorials, books, and of course, our workshops to help you, but this may give you a few hints to help you along.
For this series, if you have not already done so, we recommend that you open your own copy of Lightroom to see more details. The screen shots below each section of text will show you where to look and indicate what you might expect to find, but your own monitor will show you a larger view.
For most people, it is great to be able to print your photographs whether in contact sheets or regular prints.
The recent versions of Lightroom have made tremendous strides in the Print module. Everyone’s eye, taste, and sense of quality differs, but printing on archival Premium Luster papers with archival inksets works well on papers up to 13″ x 19″ Since our Epson printer doesn’t take larger sizes, I cannot comment on those. Even if I could, we ultimately have to make these choices for ourselves.
When making test prints to experiment with resolution and sharpening, etc., don’t waste paper and inks printing out a whole print; instead, take a 3.25″ x 4.5″ sample from a representative part of your photograph and use that in different modes to see what works best for you. I cut a letter-size sheet of my archival paper in half lengthwise, and print on that. By turning the paper 180 degrees, one can get a second print on that half, or four total out of the letter-size sheet.
I make prints up to 12″ x 18″ that are gorgeous and have that WOW factor.
Successful printing depends upon the matching of printer, paper, and ink sets. This is where the ICC profiles come in. ICC stands for International Code Council that provides standards for many industries. The ICC profiles for your printer take into account the different possible matchings of the three elements above. An ICC profile for Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster will produce unacceptable results on Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta.
Since Lightroom uses ProColor RGB, you will need to download and install the most recent color profiles for your archival printer. Currently, Epson has them at a rather long URL, (and if it’s out of date, then run a search for your Epson printer model along with ECC profiles). Heaven forbid that Epson would make it easy, but if you click on the above link (if you have an Epson printer), you then:
- Find your printer and click on its link;
- Click on Drivers & Downloads that, of course, make no mention of the critical ICC profiles;
- Select Mac or Windows;
- In the double box, you’ll see reference to ICC profiles on which you’ll click; and
- You can finish and install from here.
Anytime you install a new or updated profile, you should restart your imaging program of choice. And while you’re at it, it’s not a bad idea to check and make sure your printer driver is the most recent one available.
If you have a new operating system on your computer, make sure you upgrade to the latest driver.
Layouts & Templates
As with the Slideshow module, you have to gather the images to be printed in the Library module, either from one folder or from a Collection you have created. In this first case, I’ll do contact sheets from a portion of one of our assignments that reside in a single folder.
I then go to the Print module and decide which layout I wish to use. When I first created my templates, I started with one of Lightroom’s Pre-sets and tweaked it for our purposes. You’ll notice that I have the image file name show up and a 1-pixel “stroke” border around each image to set it off from the background. You’ll also see that I selected all the photos in this folder and that at the size I have set up, there will be seven contact sheets total out of this part of the assignment.
Finding where to change the paper size is not as intuitive as I wish it were. In the left panel, click on Page Setup…. at the bottom. Be sure that in addition to the paper type and size, you select the right printer if you have more than one. Then click on your printer’s Properties and make your selections as you normally would. If you have already saved your User Template, be sure to right-click on it and select the update option.
In the right panel, down at the bottom, make sure you select your proper printer profile instead of the default Managed by Printer. If you have not already used your printer profile, select Other…. and go from there.
In naming your templates, consider names that group like categories together. Compare my names to the Lightroom ones above them. See how easily I can pick mine out? All the contact sheets are together, etc.
Hint You’ll also notice that I note the paper size after Print. That reminds me to make sure I have the correct size paper in the printer.
In the next scenario, let’s pick several photos from different folders for different-sized prints as I recently did for our family and us.
Since the photos are already in a Collection, I don’t have to return to Library module to find them. They are already there in the lower part of the left panel. I just select the ones I want to print out in, let’s say, 5×7, then click on my Print Letter 5×7 template. You can see the various elements highlighted below
What you cannot see as well above is what appears in the upper left — both the layout and how many pages there will be, etc. as shown below.
I can then repeat the same process with different photographs and different User templates.
When you plan on printing photographs in different sizes, after tweaking them to your satisfaction, make virtual copies, then crop each to a different aspect ratio as explained in an earlier installment of this series.
Let’s say I want to make a larger, 10×15 print. It’s easy, and as always, the preview shows up.
See how the image totally fills that inner dark line? Sometimes, however, the image does not fill out the black outline as shown below.
This is a red flag telling me that I have either cropped inappropriately in the Develop module or as in this case, that I have selected the wrong virtual copy. Arghhh!
With the built-in preview, this is not a major drama. I have not wasted any expensive paper or ink. I simply select the other Virtual copy that is in the original, 2:3 aspect ratio. If I didn’t have a virtual copy as above, I would head back to the Develop module and correct the cropping there.
For smaller prints, you will probably be quite happy with a resolution of 240 pixels; for larger prints, you may want to try 300 or 360. Again, we always recommend that you test for yourselves, as we all have different tolerances and aesthetics.
When printing with archival paper and inksets, I allow the prints to dry/cure overnight before framing or stacking them. I prefer to be conservative on timing here.
According to the folks at Epson, when you get a choice of Fine, Photo, and Best Photo, with their printers in the advanced print dialog, use Photo for prints up to 1440 x 720 pixels and Best Photo for those up to 5760 x 1440 pixels.
Final Lightroom Installment
In our last installment on Lightroom, we’ll take a look at the Web module.
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