There are several elements that work in tandem to produce a high quality professional printed photo from a digital image.
Professional photographers receive training on how to produce the best quality image “in camera”.
In today’s world, the industry of professional photography is changing. Since I started my newborn photography business in 2008, my clients have evolved and the demand for printing digital images has increased tremendously.
Many photographers have resisted this change. Yes, we love to provide our clients with high quality products. Knowing that our clients have a beautiful hard cover story album to showcase to their friends and family professionally printed by a trained photographer is what we strive towards.
The industry has in fact changed and more and more individuals are requesting digital images only. There is an increased desire for social media sharing, digital frames and smaller living spaces.
Whatever your need is for a photographic image, we understand that you are still looking for beautiful images of your children and families.
Perhaps you are only looking to share your images from your mobile device. Maybe you are living in a condominium in downtown Toronto and don’t have the need for a 24×36 gallery wrapped canvas on your wall. Many clients express to me that they love scrapbooking and displaying their photograph art in a keepsake album where they can make a story of their own for their newborn.
Whatever your needs are, I want to assist my clients with achieving better results from printing their own digital imagery.
Following in this article are some tips from Chandra Lee Photography on how to acquire an enhanced quality photo printing on your own.
How Do Photographers Process Their Images
Firstly, let us try to understand the process that a photographer uses to produce their final product.
- A professional photographer knows and understands how to create a great quality photo straight out of camera;
- Whether you shoot in auto white balance or custom white balance, your photographer “should” know how to correct for white balance or capture a corrected white balanced image out of camera. At Chandra Lee Photography, you will see me using a grey card while I photograph. This is so I am capturing a correct white balance image straight out of camera;
- The photographer that you choose to hire should know about proper exposure. The highlights and shadows should be captured correctly while shooting. Although these things can be corrected in Photoshop during post processing, it is always best to “get it right” out of camera. Every photographer has a different style. There really is no “right” or “wrong”. Although there are technical aspects to photography, one photographer’s style may be using dramatic lighting. Another photographer’s style may be using more even lighting;
- Some photographers shoot in RAW and some photographers shoot in jpeg;
- You need to convert a RAW image in order to work with the image in Photoshop;
- Before editing begins, computer monitors should be calibrated. The device I use is called a Spyder Pro Elite and it attaches to my computer screen before each editing session. It measures the light in the room and makes sure that colors are balanced based on settings you input into the program like “gamma” and “white point”;
- A color profile is created within Photoshop that matches the color profile of the lab where the photographer will print his or her images.
The steps above are necessary so a photographer knows what their prints will look like from their printing lab. Without taking these steps, it is like editing in complete darkness.
How the Market has Changed and the Need for Digital Images
The market is changing. The industry of photography is becoming increasingly over-saturated on a daily basis. DSLRs are more affordable and within reach for many more individuals. With this change, I have observed the change in the marketplace during the last 7 years. More clients are expressing a desire to have “instant” access to their images. It is becoming more and more evident that many photographers need to know how to capture a correct image out of camera.
My post processing is minimal in most situations. I want my subjects to look real. I want the images I produce to look sharp and not fuzzy. That’s just my style. I primarily photograph newborn babies; however, I have expanded my talents over the years to include maternity photography, family portraits and photographs of older babies and children. This past year I have devoted much time to modeling sessions to practice new lighting techniques with children 3 years of age and older. This weekend will be an event I have looked forward to for several months photographing teens and children from the ages of 11 to 19 years.
Many of my clients have viewed samples in my studio of professional photos I have captured and printed through my professional printing lab. There are matching photos printed at local labs. Clients are able to view and see the difference that can take place when printing on your own. Whites may be blown out. Shadows may be darker. Babies may look orange. Colors vary drastically. Photos may look over saturated. The point is that the end result may not look like a professional photo at all.
Tips for Obtaining a Better Quality Printed Image on Your Own
If you can find out your photographer’s color profile including what their gamma and white point settings are, this may help you produce a better looking image on your own. Many labs (not all) have a color profile listed on-line listing these specifications.
If you want to know what my settings are and you are a client of Chandra Lee Photography, just send me an email and I will let you know.
Following are some suggestions from Chandra Lee Photography on how to print better quality images on your own from Chandra Lee Photography.
Disclaimer: A photographer cannot guarantee the quality of images when you print on your own. You may obtain poor quality images printing on your own and results vary drastically from lab to lab.
Some Printing Options
You may need to download the ROES printing software to print with professional printing labs (please check with the lab directly).
I will be adding to this list over time to assist clients in printing their own digital images.
If you are a client of Chandra Lee Photography and have a lab that you love to print your images from, please add the name of the lab to the comments below. In time, I hope to test out various labs and add them to the list here.
Mpix.com has the same color profile as me. They have a parent company called MpixPro that I use for some of my products including the boutique 5×7 scalloped edge birth announcement and holiday cards. This lab is located in the United States. MpixPro will only provide service to professional photographers; however, Mpix will provide services to the general public. You have to inquire about their fees regarding shipping. I incur a standard fee of $30 for one-day air service. I believe it is the only option available from this lab to Canada. Duty charges may also be applicable so you need to check and be aware of the possible duty charges. I receive a duty charge of approximately $30 for one set of 5×7 folded cards ordered through this lab. You will also be required to pay tax so you need to check on that also. Print prices are reasonable or less than local printing labs.
Pikto is a professional printing lab located in downtown Toronto in the distillery district. They have reasonable print prices or less than local printing labs on professional paper and reasonable shipping charges or free pick-up.
I hope this article will help my clients and others produce better quality images on their own from digital images.
You always have the option to order prints or products directly from Chandra Lee Photography.