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Saturday, 29 June 2013


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Thank you for this. I use these in error like many people probably do and then have to explain what I mean.

Some more:

Universal print: print that exhibits an obvious redshift.

Warning print: print made while hoping, in vain, that there would still be enough damn light magenta left.

Finger print: print that has not been manipulated properly.

The "repro" print is a point of argument for me for years with people who did poor pre-press...

People who did half-tone cuts for early reproduction in news papers, all the way down to modern reproduction people before digital scanning (and for that fact, even after scanning), all have the tools in their kit to make any print look good in reproduction. Bad and lazy pre-press workers, who didn't want to change their settings per photo they were working on, somehow would use this as an excuse for poor quality work, claiming they weren't given a print "for repro" (meaning it wasn't flat, light, with over-burned edges).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was notorious over the years for this kind of lazy work, they have some of the most inept union print workers on the planet. They spent years blaming their poor reproduction on old presses that were way beyond their years, then when they got new presses, they weren't any better! One look at the beauty of black and white reproduction in my local New York Times vs. The Milwaukee paper, is proof enough.

Anyway, this "repro" mentality is so pervasive, that one time I was working with an art director that came up through working on newspapers, and he wanted my photography staff to deliver transparencies that were one stop over-exposed because they looked better in the paper, vs. making the pre-press department do their job and reproduce the correct transparency, correctly for the print media.

Lest you think I'm crazy, we went through this whole thing again with color transparency, when the prepress houses and printers wouldn't change their setting from Kodak materials to Fuji, and claimed the film was just "bad". Talk about not wanting to do your job. And the unions wonder where all the hate comes from...

Photographers, make the best print you can! Any talented pre-press person can reproduce it perfectly for the vehicle it's going in!

Very useful info, thanks.

Raises a question for us printing novices: how do you mark the prints to indicate whether they are work, test or proof prints?
Do you attach a label on the back? Or write on the back? Or front margin? Or what??
If so, what kind of label or pencil/ink is archival and considered ok to work with?

Foot print: Someone forgot to wipe their feet.


"Test printing is still needed in inkjet printing, just as it was in the darkroom—it just refers to all the intermediate trials you made before you arrived at the one that fully satisfies you."

I beg to differ. The whole point of a digital workflow is to mitigate the intermediate trials you speak of. If you have a color calibrated set up, you get a "fine print" every time. If you need those extra steps, then you are doing something wrong.

[With a very good, very well-maintained color-managed system, an experienced operator can get a good starting print on the first try most of the time. *Very occasionally* one of those might also be the final print. If you want to argue any further than that, I'd have to see your prints. Lots of them. --Mike]

Please tell us all about the American Photo

How about the Doh! print, for when you print on the wrong side of the paper?

[In all my years of printing in der dunkelkammer--more than 20, from 1980 to 2000--I don't think I've ever done that! --Mike]

Back in the day, I remember a photographer who would take his DW test prints (process and wash them archivally) and dry mount them to his portfolio prints for presentation. The result were prints with an ideal stiffness and pliability that made them both more durable and a joy to handle!

Since like many working digital, I no longer do what you term a work print. I experiment first with the screen image. If I think I want to print an image, I start with a small (usually 4x6) test print. If I like what I see, I usually go to an 8x10 or 11x14. Sometimes, I'll try different small size variations in print saturation, color shift, paper surface, or whatever. Generally, this gets me to what I want, or at least fairly close. Occasionally I get a surprise, not always bad. The digital workflow, with image 'testing' on screen, is a great savings in time, paper, ink and money. Few if any paper 'test prints' is a big advantage.

We can only hope that American Photo is in a forgotten landfill.

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