Sean Bagshaw’s and Zack Schnepf’s “Producing Better Prints” video series was released last Thursday. It’s an in-depth look at the process of making prints, whether for printing on a photo printer at home or through a commercial photo lab. Most photo courses today focus on composing images in the field or developing them in Photoshop. This new course goes one step further and walks you through the next step: the process of outputting these images as prints.
For me, printing is an integral part of the creative process. I see developing photos as a collaborative process between the photographer and the image. There’s a ongoing dialog where the image tells the photographer what needs to be fixed and the photographer responds by finding a way to address these concerns. Working together, the image and the photographer arrive at the final version of image.
However, sometimes it’s hard for the image to voice it’s concerns. For example, things look so good on a computer monitor that it’s easy to miss what the image is trying to say. The way to overcome this monitor-bias, I have found, is to make a print. Switching to a different medium, paper, allows the image to speak much more clearly than on a computer screen. Problems are now much easier to identify, and solutions are equally obvious. Making a print provides important feedback that isn’t possible when developing solely on the computer monitor. Once I see the print, the on-screen image will improve also, but only because the print told me what I had to do.
This process of improving images through printing only works if you have dialed in a consistent and accurate printing regimen. Your print needs to match your on-screen image as closely as possible in order to use the print as a decision-making tool. The “Producing Better Prints” course shows you how to do this. I was not a consultant for this course (Sean and Zack are fully qualified experts), but it is so closely aligned with my own printing practices that it helps me appreciate why printing is such an important part of my workflow and so helpful in making creative decisions.
The “Producing Better Prints” course does a great job of flattening the learning curve for making prints. There are many printing variables, all addressed in this series of videos. Once you work through them and find what works for you, the process for making a prints is quick, predictable, instructive, and fun. Here are some of the topic covered in the series:
- Monitor calibration and workspace lighting.
- Types of printers, and printing media.
- Image file types and bit depth considerations.
- Color management, color spaces, software settings, and ICC profiles.
- Soft proofing, sizing, and print sharpening.
- Hard proofing and fixing dark prints.
- Ordering prints from a lab.
- Displaying prints.
- Bonus chapters on working with ICC profiles and using Topaz filters.
- Workflows using both Lightroom and Photoshop.
The video below has excerpts from several of the chapters. The entire series is available on my website, and through the end of May, anyone can use the code BP20 to get 20% off. Previous customers should also check their email from May 5th for additional savings or contact me if you didn’t receive the private, previous-customer discount code.