« Bunnell: Fujifilm X70 vs. Ricoh GR | Main | Open Mike II: A Question for the Mavens »

Sunday, 17 April 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jeff Schewe's Digital Negative and Digital Print, both in my library, both very useful

Not a book, and a version to two behind in the software, but the Luminous Landscape video tutorial From Camera to Print is an excellent tutorial on the basic and advanced techniques on printing. And I'm sure you'll also get lots of mentions of Jeff Schewe's book The Digital Print (which really should be read with The Digital Negative, since post-processing is an integral part of printing).

An excellent book on the subject is Jeff Schewe's book, The Digital Print, now in 2nd edition, a great companion is his other book the Digital Negative. These are excellent resources for the first time printers or those who have had previous experience.

This suggestion is a little bit out of left field, so do with it what you wish...

But, if you can find them David Vestal's books on B&W Darkroom have a lot of lessons to teach you that are independent of the particulars of darkroom technique. IMHO. The important things to learn here are what a good print looks like and then secondarily how to make your print look that way with the tools you have (assuming it's possible).

In one word: Costco

We've got a 50 lbs printer sitting in the corner collecting dust. Almost $2,000 down the drain.
It's way to hard to master, and too expensive to operate... if you don't use it almost every other day. Ink cartridges, clogged printing heads... just a big expensive dead weight that nobody wants now ;-(

Again; keep your sanity and use online printers !!

Two reference books that have remained on my active bookshelf are "The Digital Print" and "The Digital Negative" both by Jeff Schewe. While the former goes into great detail on preparing to print (unique requirements in making the physical object separate from processing the image) as well as the actual making of the print using Lightroom and Photoshop; the latter, companion book (albeit in reverse order to ones workflow) details raw image processing (using LR, PS, and Camera Raw). Anyone who has visited the Luminous Landscape website in the last ten years knows Mr. Schewe's work and teaching skills. Highly recommended!

Hopefully Ctein will get to do a digital version of his magisterial "Post Exposure". I'd also love to see Bill Atkinson write up his techniques.

I'd recommend The Digital Print by Jeff Schewe, one of the leading pros in the country, a key opinion leader for Adobe regarding Photoshop and Lightroom, and author of another seminal book on digital photography, The Digital Negative.

George DeWolfe's "B&W Printing" taught me a lot, if B&W is your thing.

The single biggest hurdle for me has been knowing what I wanted the print to look like. This applies to both darkroom and inkjet work. Looking at good prints has probably taught me the most. Going from screen to print is the easy part - just throw money at it in the form of printer, quality monitor, print and screen calibration tools, ink and paper ;-)

I'm going to chime in to prop up the other side of the equation as well, here.

I use online printers myself. The local Fred Meyer. Walgreen's. Seriously. Using an iMac with a standard display and no calibration or color management beyond whatever the defaults are, by golly, the prints look a heck of a lot like what I am seeing on the screen. We've come a long, long way.

My pictures don't rely on precise placements of tone, or precise color rendering. If blacks look pretty much like black, whites like white, and skin like skin, I'm happy. I have met my artistic goals. And we're there, pretty broadly, at least in the USA.

"Printing" to me means applying my darkroom skills to the image file until it looks the way I want it to on screen, and that's merely a matter of knowing what the various sliders do, and having some experience with looking at photographs. I think?

My references are, therefore, still Ansel Adams. The chemistry parts are irrelevant, of course, and the digital equivalents of chemistry are "good enough" in the defaults to be invisible to me. The only part that's left, for me, is the seeing, the noticing of essentially photographic properties of the print, and Adams still gives us an excellent course in that.

I struggled for many years to get my prints to match what I was seeing on my monitor. It wasn't until I bit the bullet and spent some serious cash that I was happy with my prints. I now use an Ezio monitor and Imageprint software with my Epson 3880 and I'm throwing away a lot less paper and ink.

When I was starting I got a lot out of reading the completely free archives of the Luminous Landscape forum "Printing: Printers, Papers and Inks" which can be found at http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/

I have read a lot of the highly recommended books and seen a lot of highly recommended video tutorials on digital printmaking. Many are good, but I've never encountered one that knocked it out of the park. The published works usually leave the reader with even more questions than what he or she started out with.

I should quit whining and throw my hat in the ring, i.e. produce a definitive work on the subject of digital fine art printmaking. In this modern all-internet-all-the time era, it's really hard to sort noise from signal, and it's even harder to believe that one's audience will be patient enough to read or otherwise view any discussion that isn't quick to the chase, filled with recipes rather than fundamentals, and ignores the critical details lest it bore the audience to death.

That said, I think I'm going to give it try very soon.



Slightly off topic (but maybe not, since we are talking about means of educating ourselves), but this is starting to annoy me - due to its frequency.

I see Ken's recommendation is actually US$10 more in electronic form (i.e. the Kindle version) than in paperback. Here in Japan at least, the Kindle version is US$4-ish cheaper (US$41 vs US$44.81) - but I still think that is odd and too expensive.

A while back in New Zealand in a major investigative journalistic report questioning why the cost of living was so high, major domestic producers and suppliers responded to questions asking why their products cost more in their home market and less after being exported to foreign markets with variants of a universal 'it's complicated, you wouldn't understand.'

Perhaps that's what is happening here? Maybe I wouldn't understand why pixels cost more than paper to make & ship?

(this probably doesn't need to be said, but I'll say it anyway - this has nothing to do with Ken. I'm very pleased he mentioned this title and I'm also now very interested in buying it - possibly from the Book Depository, which I see is 1 yen cheaper than Amazon).

Learn to print? Really?
Read some articles about screen calibration, like this one:

Buy some decent RC paper.

Then make the image look good on screen, be sure to select an adequtely wide margin, and hit "print"

I arrogantly submit that most of what is written about getting great prints is either print-mavens exaggerating the importance of their niche-knowledge, or attempting to compensate for mediocre photograpy.

There’s a video tutorial on the Luminous Landscape website: Camera to Print and Screen by Michael Reichmann & Jeff Schewe. It covers the same ground as Jeff Schewe’s books (The Digital Negative & The Digital Print).
I have found it useful to have both. All the info is in the books, but seeing these accomplished gentlemen at work is very instructive too.

John Paul Caponigro's advice runs from free (YouTube videos at about an hour each and text on his site) through moderately-priced (DVD on his site) to "would be eye-wateringly pricey if the word 'photo' didn't appear in the product description" workshops. There's nothing to lose but time at the YouTube end of the scale (just remember to include "printing" in the search terms).

The last time I made a print was in the mid 1960s, during a college Darkroom class. The main things I learned in that class is that I'm not good at printing and I despise the process.

Many photographers think that they have to master everything from start to finish. Not me! Doing things I dislike and aren't good at is a waste of valuable time. Doing things that I like and are good at is much more productive — and helps in preserving what little sanity I have left.

I use Costco for casual prints and a Pro Printer for the important stuff. BTW I've never had an inkjet print made.

I've watched online video tutorials, on YouTube and Lynda.com. I will check out another commenter's suggestion of a video on Luminous Landscape. Those are easy and accessible.

However, I would also like to recommend an in-person class, if possible. Here in Portland, a local photography non-profit named Newspace hosts all kinds of classes. I took a comprehensive five module class in digital printing there recently. We made actual prints on large printers, tried out various kinds of papers, learnt about calibration, etc. It was great. I encourage your readers to look for such options in their communities.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007