When it all comes down to it, a physical print of your image is what matters most. Something tactile that you hold in your hand, or view on a wall is really what photography is all about. I used to do all my printing out of Photoshop and while the printing was good it required several hoops to jump thru. If you wanted to print several sized prints or prints on different papers, you really needed to duplicate you image before making an image adjustment to the proper size of the print. If you didn’t you had no way of making sure that each print would be the same. As I processed each size image I would save the image off as a separate PSD or TIFF file named with the size so that I could go back and reprint as needed. This meant that for each image I would have one or more duplicates at the size of a PSD (big).
That all changes with Lightroom. Lightroom is a much better engine for printing photographs than Photoshop. And it takes up much less space because you don’t need to make duplicates of an image for different sizes and papers. I’ve developed a straight forward work flow for printing from Lightroom. I create virtual copies of the image for each of my prints. Selecting the paper size and orientation and making any adjustments for borders and strokes. Here is how it looks with an image called Lioness.
I usually print in full 2×3 aspect ratio that my Fujifilm cameras capture in. On an 8 1/2 x 11 page I usually set up for a 6 x 9 inch print. If you have a different paper size use the page setup to adjust to your paper. Note: Lightroom does all resizing of the image in the background so you don’t have to do much more than tell it how big is the paper and how big is the print area.
Click on the page Setup to tell Lightroom what size of paper and what orientation you want. I then use the print settings to choose the printer, media type, and resolution. Depending on the print you may be able to print in 16 bit mode or not. I save each paper type as a preset which just makes it easier for the next time I print.
High Speed is just bi-directional printing. Once the print settings are saved, I go on to telling Lightroom how I want the print managed.
For color prints I let Lightroom manage the printing and assign the correct ICC profile for the paper being used. I let the printer manage the printer, for black and white I let the printer manage the print the profile list box allows you to the Lightroom if you want the printer to manage the colors or black and white printing. The sharpening list seems rather simple but the logic behind how the image is sharpened is very good. This final sharpening is available as an attachment for Photoshop but is build right in to Lightroom. The final adjustments I make is to brightness and contrast (sliders at bottom right). You will have to experiment with these as you will find without the adjustments you prints will be too dark. It has to do with how your monitor is calibrated as most monitors are brighter than suggested.
At that point you are ready to print. Before you do it’s time to save off a virtual copy of the image that will freeze the print settings you have chosen.
Just above the image on the left top board is a button to create the virtual copy.
Click on the Create Saved Print button and name your print.
In this case I use the title, the size and initials for the paper type (PL Photo Luster). I tell it save it in the Print collection. Virtual copies of an image take up very little space on the hard drive.
With this workflow I can go back to a specific image in the Prints collect and reprint without worrying about changes having been made for the specific print. And the finished print.