Article by Robin Whalley - www.lenscraft.co.uk
This is part three to Robin's tutorial. Click the following links to read parts one and two:
Understanding Printer Profiles
Printer Profiles have been mentioned a number of times above as they are a vitally important part of printing. They are instruction files that determine how an image should be reproduced by your printer. They control variables such as how dark or light the image should be by controlling how the ink is applied to the paper. This means you will need a separate profile for each printer and paper combination. The theory is that the printed image will match what is seen on screen (when soft profiling) and generally this works well.
When printing there are really two options:
Use printer profile created by the printer or paper manufacturer for your printer and paper combination. Most paper manufacturers now provide downloadable profiles on their website.
Use a custom profile created for your specific printer and paper combination. This is more accurate than the generic printer profiles however its time consuming and expensive. This is the option that I use but you need special equipment and software to create them. The print differences when compared to the manufacturer profiles are only slight so don’t worry about needing to invest. Some paper manufacturers also provide a custom profiling service for free. I have used these in the past and they are excellent.
Once you have installed your profile (how you do this depends on your computers operating system and instructions can be found on the internet), it should be selected when printing to the paper it was intended for. There are noticeable contrast, colour and saturation shifts between profiles if you select the wrong one.
Finally Making Your Print
Lightroom provides two printing buttons at the bottom of the interface on the right. There is "Print One" and "Print...". The "Print One" button when clicked prints one copy of each of the selected images. The "Print..." calls the "Print" dialog to be displayed. This allows you to set the number of print copies to be produced but more importantly to my mind you can re-check and change your printer profile and settings. Personally this is the option I chose as I have lost track of the number of times I have made a print only to find I had used the wrong setting. So here is a checklist of the most common mistakes:
Is the paper size correct?
Have you selected the correct type of media in the print driver to match the paper you are printing to?
Have you set the print driver colour management to be managed by the host application? If you don’t set this the printer will try to adjust the image further so that your colours will be wrong. As I write this I have just managed to send a colour image to my printer and the printer was set to produce a black and white image – I need to take my own advice.
If your printer can be set up to print in black and white in its driver have you checked its set to match the image you are producing?
Have you set the printer resolution and quality to a level suitable for the image you are producing? It’s no good having the printer set to high speed draft when trying to produce a fine art print of a detailed landscape.
Once you are happy press the print button and wait for your masterpiece to be produced.
If you missed part one and two of this tutorial click the following links: Printing From Lightroom - Part 1 and Printing From Lightroom - Part 2.