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Thread: Questions re printing of photos

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    Questions re printing of photos

    I've had family request a couple of my photos blown up and framed as Christmas presents.

    Talk about a really basic question, but how do you go about getting a photo printed?
    I shoot in RAW, and use a Canon, so do I take the RAW CR2 file to get the print done from THAT (for maximum quality), or do I convert to a jpg first (and risk losing some quality)?

    With normal photos it used to be an option to go with gloss or matt surface. If that's the case with big prints, what is the best option for something you're getting printed large enough to frame.

    Basically, I'm after anything that I need to know so that I don't waste a heap of money blowing up photos and finding that I needed to know something beforehand.

    The camera is a 60D, the photos were taken in RAW mode, and on the highest setting which is apparently approx 18mp.

    What size would make a reasonable gift without breaking a very fragile bank account?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
    Canon EOS 60D ..... EFS 18-200mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS - 430 EXII Speedlite - "eBay special" Remote Control Unit - Manfrotto 190XPROB w 804RC2 head.

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    We normally convert from raw to JPEG or TIFF and before, after or both before and after that conversion, we would digitally Post Produce the Image for the desired print, such as: colour balance, contrast, corrections and etc.

    Typically using “Lightroom” or “Photoshop” or some other program.

    The EOS60D has bundled software which will open and convert the raw file and also perform some PP.

    A “Semi Professional” “Booth Photofinisher” will be of assistance and I suggest taking a few sample files (JPEG or TIFF) and have them printed to 5x7 as an indicative of the Calibration of your Monitor compared to the end result – as I expect you are NOT working with a Calibrated Monitor. (This is so you get in print what you see on your monitor). A Retail Camera Store with a Digital Photofinisher in attendance – as opposed to a “super store” with Photofinishing Booths would be my advice.

    You could do the same at a Professional Digital Lab, if you wish.

    Yes you can get both glossy and matt (and also semi matt) paper- and also other media also like ceramic and canvas, as examples.

    The prices would be easily obtained from those service providers, and generally you pay for what you get, as you do with mounting & framing services, also.

    My opinion is a 10 x 8 (inch) or 11 x 14 is a suitable gift for a table mounted photograph and 11 x 14 or larger for a wall mount.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 07-11-2011 at 10:15am.

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    Another point. RAW files do not have a colourspace assigned, this only happens when you start editing them. Talk to your printer as to what colourspace they want. Also..is your monitor calibrated using something like a Spyder? (as William states). MOST issues regarding print quality (colour and brightness deficiencies) can be caused by not using a correctly calibrated monitor. You edit a photo on an un-calibrated monitor and think it is correct, but the print is to dark etc, cause your monitor was set to be to bright.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    as you are using a 60D, the default photo ratio is 3:2 - which is native to printing sizes like 6x4, 8x12 etc and so on. The ratios William mentioned before like 5x7 or 8x10 requires cropping and you will be missing parts of the photo. Just print them as it is if you do not know about crop/print ratios and the difference between 3:2 and 4:3 etc. Hope that does not confuse you further.

    BUT, it also depends on what frame you have or what frame you intend to buy too - as they usually state on the front for example - if its for an 8x10 photo or 8x12 etc.

    for me personally, I'd enlarge it to a 30x20 inch on Lustre Paper, and mount it on 9mm MDF wood so its not framed but 'glued' on the wood for a more modern presentation - and easier to blend into any walls of a house without worrying about the photo frame from clashing with the decor.

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    Thanks for that JM, It has been a problem with most of the Images that I've had printed also this ratio thing , My son and I shoot with a 30D and 50D , So your saying the native print format is 6x4, 8x12, etc , No cropping , We had a heap of images printed @ 6x8, and 10x8 which was the STD sizes that our printer uses , The first run were all cropped, The second run , all the images fitted in the print but had borders top and bottom, Plus then it was a Nightmare for the Framer with all the different sizes , What I'm saying is how do you standardise your images for printing and framing , Sounds like dont crop, Or if you do keep the ratio all the same ? - Bill
    Last edited by William; 07-11-2011 at 11:29am.
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    as you are using a 60D, the default photo ratio is 3:2 - which is native to printing sizes like 6x4, 8x12 etc and so on. The ratios William mentioned before like 5x7 or 8x10 requires cropping and you will be missing parts of the photo.

    good point . . .
    Last edited by William W; 07-11-2011 at 11:42am.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    What I'm saying is how do you standardise your images for printing and framing , Sounds like dont crop, Or if you do keep the ratio all the same ? - Bill
    What I do – for digital, I generally "shoot to 5x7", because I print to 5x7 as a standard minimum size for a lot of my bundle work.
    So that means I “see through the viewfinder the scene with a sliver cut off the L&R side edges when holding the DSLR in landscape format.”

    On my medium format cameras' screens: I have framing grids for 5x4 and 5x7.
    You can get framing screens for some DSLRs or mark the interchangeable screen yourself, or just generally shoot a bit wide and allow for various crops later.

    I’ve shot a whole sessions, using DSLRs to: square format; and others to Widescreen Format (16:9) – it is just a matter of practice of visualizing the final framing.

    WW

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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Thanks for that JM, It has been a problem with most of the Images that I've had printed also this ratio thing , My son and I shoot with a 30D and 50D , So your saying the native print format is 6x4, 8x12, etc , No cropping , We had a heap of images printed @ 6x8, and 10x8 which was the STD sizes that our printer uses , The first run were all cropped, The second run , all the images fitted in the print but had borders top and bottom, Plus then it was a Nightmare for the Framer with all the different sizes , What I'm saying is how do you standardise your images for printing and framing , Sounds like dont crop, Or if you do keep the ratio all the same ? - Bill
    No worries William, it is VERY CONFUSING for the average consumer and client to get their heads around all the ratios and numbers I have to admit, lots of complaints from unknowing customers when I was printing stuff at Camera House years ago!

    Anyway your 30D and 50D and pretty much all other modern DSLRs print to a native 3:2 ratio - which accommodates print ratios of

    6x4
    6x8
    8x12
    12x18
    30x20
    45x30 (my favourite and most used size at around 114cm x 76cm for clients and myself)
    and so on etc

    However, with other types of cameras such as the 4/3 formats and compact cameras, they print to a 4:3 ratio, like my old Olympus EP1 Pen in its native ratio, which can print to

    5x7
    8x10
    11x14
    16x20
    40x30
    and so on


    For your question, since I mainly use DSLRs for my line of work - I always keep the native ratio of 3:2 standardized for the client to print, even when I crop it in LR it is still cropped to the same ratio. When I use say, a Pentax 645D for work its native ratio is 4:3 so I shoot to that to maximize the amount of details captured instead of cropping to 3:2 - unless the client requested earlier for only 3:2 ratio.

    so yeah, hope that helps

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    JRT:

    for Canon DSLRs . . . 6x8 native print has to be typo I think . . . 6x9 is it nor??
    . . . maybe you are cropping a tad?

    Your lists are not clear to me because your 4:3 ratios need a bit of cropping, also.
    Maybe you're just accomodating the closest "regular off the shelf" frame size?

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 07-11-2011 at 12:09pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    JRT:

    for Canon DSLRs . . . 6x8 native print has to be typo I think . . . 6x9 is it nor??
    . . . maybe you are cropping a tad?

    Your lists are not clear to me because your 4:3 ratios need a bit of cropping, also.
    Maybe you're just accomodating the closest "regular off the shelf" frame size?

    WW
    yup typo, 6x8 is slightly different to the native 6x4, should be 6x9.....Im just trying to keep it real simple here for the sake of the OP and cause less confusion.

    I am indeed accommodating the closest ratios for off the shelve stuff - keeping it simple for consumers here. This is not an in-depth file printing thread we are discussing so the less numbers thrown around the easier it is for the average consumer to understand and achieve the right or closest result in printing they desire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    I am indeed accommodating the closest ratios for off the shelve stuff - keeping it simple for consumers here.
    Understood. Thanks for the clarification.

    WW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel View Post
    I've had family request a couple of my photos blown up and framed as Christmas presents.

    Talk about a really basic question, but how do you go about getting a photo printed?
    I shoot in RAW, and use a Canon, so do I take the RAW CR2 file to get the print done from THAT (for maximum quality), or do I convert to a jpg first (and risk losing some quality)?

    With normal photos it used to be an option to go with gloss or matt surface. If that's the case with big prints, what is the best option for something you're getting printed large enough to frame.

    Basically, I'm after anything that I need to know so that I don't waste a heap of money blowing up photos and finding that I needed to know something beforehand.

    The camera is a 60D, the photos were taken in RAW mode, and on the highest setting which is apparently approx 18mp.

    What size would make a reasonable gift without breaking a very fragile bank account?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
    Now that I have my questions out of the way, Did you get the answer to your question you were after, I'd say save at the highest JPEG you can , keep the same aspect ratio as the camera took , And get a couple of test 6x4's done first , We all got some info out of your post , I was going to ask today as well

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    Ok, so that's going to be a bit of a problem, as most of these photos are cropped into panorama style, or at least been cropped in at least some way. I'm only wanting them printed as they are now. I guess I'll take them in to an actual lab, which is where I was going to get them done anyway, and see what they think.

    Thanks for all the info though. I do actually get the gist of most of those numbers. Just not sure how to apply them all at the moment, as very few of my photos are up to a standard where they are useable in the same ratios they came out of the camera. I always end up with some extraneous crap in the pic that I didn't see at the time and need to crop out

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    If your only getting one off's , Just tell the printer what size you want the longest side , Let him work it out from there , Thats what I did for a local competition , And won !! The image had to fit in a Matt board frame 20x16 inches , But it was cropped Landscape , So he printed the longest side with a 20mm border on the long side
    Last edited by William; 07-11-2011 at 8:41pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel View Post
    .....

    What size would make a reasonable gift without breaking a very fragile bank account?

    ....
    30 by anything.
    The image and the idea of it as a gift is enough in itself.

    I wouldn't go with MDF but for an image that's easy to hang and move about on any wall in any room in any house foam core and laminated are my preferred options.

    MDF is far too heavy by comparison. 20mm foam core is about ideal and when it's laminated and edged you'd be hard pressed to tell it's just a plank of foam.
    Note if the area on the wall is going to be breezy or draughty, then a heavier construction such as MDF or standard glass covered and framed medium would be better, or some double sided sticky pads at the bottom edge of the print are always helpful.

    Reason I mentioned the 30 by anything aspect ratio is that for a large print, it's easy for a high quality printer to print to whatever size you like, and I too was inthe same situation about a year ago, in that I made a print of an image of mine for a friend. I ended up having the print made at 30x17 which is close to the 16:9 ratio, but I cropped to a specific view point instead of cropping to suit a particular 'industry standard' ratio.

    If you were going to a non flexible printing service(such as the local photo printing kiosk at the shopping centre).. yep! you need to watch for ratios and suchlike. But if you use a high quality photo printing operator, that is dedicated to producing high end quality printing and not just bulk for a much profit as possible, then you do as you please, and they cater around your needs.

    Output format is best at uncompressed tiff at aRGB colour profile.
    That is, convert the raw file to aRGB and edit it this way first. Do not edit the raw file in sRGB mode and then convert it to aRGB mode as your greens(mostly) may over saturate for the purpose of printing.
    Tiff file is best for a larger print output as it will contain more data in the file for the printer to work with.

    In my case the pressie was more of a surprise birthday pressie, so I had to suss out the most likely location for the print and seeing the most likely location for it, I went for a less glossy print type, even though they look less impressive than a full gloss finish.
    I don't think it's impolite to ask a few questions to the would be recipients to know if they'd prefer a gloss or matt finish to their gifts, as it gives them what they want.
    They need to scope out the most likely location for any print and the location of any strong light sources nearby.
    It's no good to have a nice impressive gloss print on a wall, right next to a large window where the sun casts a strong reflection off it and into their faces.

    Invite yourself to dinner one night and suss out likely locations and other possibly important questions.
    That's what I did!

    I simply asked my friend what's your favourite colour at the moment, and as I used to average about 500-100 images per week for a while it wasn't hard for me to capture an image with a specific colour request in quick time. Apparently green was the flavour of the week at that point, and so she got 30x17" of green(mostly!.. with a bit of yellow and brown here and there).

    What I usually do tho is to work in sRGB mode on my files, and as I don't normally print, I kept on working in sRGB mode and then remembered to convert to aRGB(only for the tiff file, as the same file in jpg was saved in sRGB mode.
    In converting to aRGB, the green suddenly changed to a more lurid vivid shade that looked very unnatural. Note I always edit in raw mode in my software. So I re edited the image with a lot less saturation in the greens channel to suit.
    Got the image home after a week or so and compared it to the monitor rendering and it was spot on, as expected. The printer I used had a very high reputation for producing high quality prints.
    I knew him(or the company for years) as a courier, when we used to do lots of couriering of film to his lab and subsequently return later to re deliver the prints/albums/films(developed) etc, and as he was the closest of the printing mobs I knew of to my place to use his services was inevitable(for me).

    As for the fragility of the bank account, I only know too well exactly what that entails(back when I got my gift print), as I was running way past the sniff of an oily rag and in reverse(back then), but I thought about $80 wasn't too bad ..... based on some other prices I've seen around the traps.

    Note tho that size is not as important as impact aspect.

    That is, does the content of the image lend itself to a large print, or a smaller, more personalised print appropriate for an image.

    eg. a super wide vista of a sweeping landscape would lend itself nicely in a larger 30" size, whereas an intimate portrait image may be more appropriate in a 10" or 12" (longest edge) size with a matted frame.. framed at 30".

    Best advice is to find a proper photo printer that services the pro photographer industry. They'll usually have a lot more time to chat with the clients, as opposed to the HN get 'em in and out ASAP mentality where the sales people have no idea on any of the important aspects of the processes.
    Take your file(s) in on a USB drive, they'll almost certainly allow you to see your image on their calibrated monitors, so you will get to see how the image will look before it's printed(too dark too light low contrast too high contrast etc) .. this then helps you with your own monitor calibration. it;s not ideal, but you can get pretty close to close enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel View Post
    Ok, so that's going to be a bit of a problem, as most of these photos are cropped into panorama style, or at least been cropped in at least some way. I'm only wanting them printed as they are now.
    Re framing: then you will very likely need to go to a professional framer and you will not be buying a do it yourself frame, off the shelf, in one of those aforementioned standard sizes.

    But I don't see that as a problem, but rather likely a much better and higher quality finished product.

    WW

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    "professional framing" and fragile bank accounts are mutually exclusive terms.

    Both simply can not exist in the same sentence
    (of course for the exception of highlighting the dilemma )

    If it was framing that you wanted on a budget, you could find larger sized frames off the shelf so to speak, and also some matte board for use as fill to balance out the different crop ratios.
    It's not the ideal solution tho, but it can be done well if it's only subtle.
    What you don't want tho, is a 20x5 pano image fitted into a standard 2:3 ratio frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel View Post
    I've had family request a couple of my photos blown up and framed as Christmas presents.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel View Post
    a very fragile bank account?
    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    "professional framing" and fragile bank accounts are mutually exclusive terms. Both simply can not exist in the same sentence
    “Dilemma” - yes, agreed.
    But it is certainly worthwhile considering that one exceptional gift, might be better than two, which are mediocre.

    WW

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    It won't be a problem asking questions of the person getting the gift. She specifically asked me for the photos as a gift for Christmas.
    So there'll be no need to make it a surprise etc.
    She's interstate so there won't be a dinner invite to sus out the location either unfortunately.

    The photos she wants are pretty much the last three in this thread http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...some-questions but she'll be getting only one of them, not three, so I might have to get her to narrow down her selection a little. I don't think she has much idea what it would cost to get 3 large size prints.

    Maybe I'll be a super-cheap brother, and send her the file in an email and the instructions on how to get it printed and framed, that's about the size of my bank account at present
    She actually works in a pretty exclusive gallery, so I might just send her the print, I'm sure she has access to the framing at her work.
    Yeah, I know, being a cheapskate again.

    Thanks heaps for all the information, you've all taken so much of the guesswork and uncertainty out of it all.
    I don't have a calibrated monitor, however, I can see almost all of the white, grey, black squares in the image someone has up on the site for checking your monitor. The last two whites are just one colour to my monitor. I guess that's another expense if I'm to get into photography in any serious way - a proper monitor.
    Will let you all know how I go with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel View Post
    ......
    She actually works in a pretty exclusive gallery, so I might just send her the print, I'm sure she has access to the framing at her work.
    Yeah, I know, being a cheapskate again ......
    Makes the most sense in two ways.

    1. as a cheapskate brother(oh! .. and welcome to the club, by the way!! ) a print of 20-30" in width will cost approximately $20-30, maybe a touch more.
    2. the postage will be a lot cheaper too.. in a Posty Roll maybe $5-10, rather than $20-30 for a rigid or heavy and rigid frame.

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