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Photoshop workflow recommendations

If you edit your images in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, here are some tips that should help you obtain great prints from us.

Color management

If you follow the basic principles of color management, then the print you obtain from us should look like the image you see on your monitor. This is important because, for example, if your monitor is set to be too bright, then, when prints look good to you on your monitor, the prints will turn out too dark.

Adjustment layers

You can edit your image by applying changes directly to the background layer, or you can add adjustment layers.  Adjustment layers do not actually change the image layer so you can come back later and make changes or undo what you did before.  After adjusting in Photoshop, we strongly recommend that you leave all your adjustments as separate layers, then save as psd or tif with the layers intact and without upsizing and without cropping. This way you have a record of what you did and you can easily change or remove one of the layers later. We suggest saving this file as psd or tif in a subfolder which you could name "Modified" or something to help you remember that it is edited but not ready for printing. Never save this intermediate file as jpg which always degrades the image and does not save layers.

Prepare for printing

Each time you want to print to a different size, open this layered file and duplicate using the menu item Image/Duplicate… and check the box "Duplicate merged layers only". This will flatten the image (reduce all the layers to one background layer) and add the word "copy" to the file name so you will not make the mistake of overwriting the edited file.

Files for printing at Photo-Lamps.com

This is the file to upload to Photo-Lamps.com for prints. Best to save as .tif. You can crop before saving or leave the cropping to us if you are not sure of the aspect ratio, which is a little tricky for gallery wraps. We will crop if requested, upsize using Perfect Resize, and sharpen using the smart sharpen filter.

Files for printing on your printer

For your own prints you will need to crop, upsize, and sharpen. You should wait until this point on cropping because you may print later on paper sizes that have different aspect ratios. If you are making only one print, you don't need to save this file, but we recommend saving in a subfolder "Print" in case you want to print again later. You will need to go back and start with the modified file with layers then duplicate, crop, upsize, and sharpen again if you make a second print at a different size. You should always sharpen as the last step with the file sized for the print you are going to make (300 ppi or whatever is best for your printer).

Further help

Please contact us if you have questions. Our blog has a good article on camera settings. Another good source of information is Tim Grey's book "Photoshop CS4 Workflow". Tim Grey also sends out a daily free email with lots of tips and answers for digital photographers. Find him at TimGrey.com. His writing and videos are very clear and understandable.