What method do you use for optimizing prints?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by terence_uy, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. I'm curious to find out what methods people use to optimize their
    files for printing on Frontier. I normally use curves to bring up the
    mid-tones but I've found this can sometimes obliterate the mid-tones
    and increase noise.

    Other times I've just used the level sliders and limited my
    manipulation to the highlights and shadows only but for some reason
    this method doesn't work as well with my old 10d files.

    If anyone would like to share some new tips for optimizing files for
    printing I'm all ears.
  2. Terence, it is important to remember that the Frontier is working in a sRGB color space not RGB98 (the gammut is not as wide on a Frontier) as we use for inkjet prints. I suggest that you make your changes in photoshop in sRGB and save them accordingly this will give you much brighter prints. Also to accurately correct levels try holding down the alt key while moving the highlite and shadow sliders. This will show you exaclty where clipping will ocurr so back off from that point. This is much more accurate than using your eye as you may or may not have a fully calibrated monitor.

    All the best
  3. Do you shoot RAW files? What RAW developer do you use if you do ? (you should IMO). I use PhotoShop CS which has a RAW developer with an enormous array of correction tools to apply before I even get to the regular PS controls. Also, once you are in the new PS, there are new tools for application to different type image issues. Here are the ones I use most frequently: Curves (requires real skill and an unerring eye). Levels: ( a more blunt instrument than curves, but effective in less problematic circumstances). Shadow/Highlight: ( a new addition to PS that is incredibly valuable in restoring detail to the shadow areas without effecting the midtones and highlights. Or helps pull out faint details in the light areas like a wedding dress... without having to carefully select it). Selective Color: (a less known PS-6, 7 and CS option; Image > Adjustments > Selective Color > scroll down to > Whites > Midtones or > Blacks. Provides selective control of these tones without having to select them with a lasso). Noise: The Canons are not as tolerant to lifting blacks as say Nikon Ds. The 1Ds is even worse than the 10D in that respect. Fundamentally, when you underexpose an in-camera file, it is effectively like shooting at a higher ISO which shows up as noise especially in the darks, when you try to lift it in PS. Here are a few things that can help: Expose a little more carefully, and shoot RAW. When processing the RAW files you are working more directly with the original image data, so you can somewhat suppress noise with careful adjustments of the exposure, brightness and contrast controls at the RAW development stage. Learn to use channels. You click on each channel window, ( >Windows > Cannels), and find the noisiest channel, and then just apply a noise reduction tool to it ( Filters > Noise > Dust and Scratches is the one I use most frequently). Go to www.fredmiranda.com and get the inexpensive 10D ISOR (R for Reduction) action to plug into PS. It is easy to install and use. It provides a broad array of simple automated PS commands that reduces noise in ISO 200 to 1200 files. Sometimes, I apply an ISO 800 action to an ISO 200 shot that turned out especially noisy. It completes a ton of different commands and tools in the proper sequence in a matter of seconds. Finally, the local lab I use when not printing images myself, has actually written a profile for my photographs to maximize the output. No two monitors are in perfect sync as far as color is concerned, and this has helped a lot. Sorry to be so long winded, but PS is a lifetime learning process because it is so very deep in those options provided to photographers. Guess that's why it's called "Photo" Shop huh? Here is a problematic file where I took the flash off the camera and held it down low for "footlight" theater type lighting. It practically blew out her dress, and the background was VERY noisy. Shadow/Highlights restored the dress, and noise reduction was applied to the background using Dust and Scratches:
  4. Do you more or less leave the mid-tones as they are or do you find you have to "lift" them to get them to pop off more from the print? I like dark moody pictures but one pro here swears he went through fuji training and Fuji told him the proper way to optimize the prints was to "lift" aka brighten the midtone.

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