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Making The Print

January 17, 2012

Making The Print: Printing Techniques for the Digital Photographer by Martin Bailey

Martin Bailey, THANK YOU! This is the book I have been waiting for a long time. Many of the the previous discussions or technical posts I have seen on printing in my opinion have been overly complicated and simply have left me with the feeling of never wanting to go down that path. The result was that I avoided buying a printer and sent my prints to one of the popular processing labs. But I have always felt I was missing part of the creative process of producing a piece of art that could be held, hung up or passed around. Part of this feeling of artistic emptiness traces back to my admiration of watching a video of Ansel Adams in his dark room manipulating his prints with the chemical process and dodging and burning technique that goes along with it. I never really experienced the film and print development process first hand, my limited film related skills were confined to loading and unloading loading film and then sending it off to a lab.

But something finally pushed me to buy my first printer and this makes the timing of the eBook release of Making The Print downright spooky. As I begin the review of Making The Print, my first printer, an Epson Stylus Photo R2000 is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. So I guess I ignored Martin’s first piece of advice of not buying a printer until after reading the book. That’s okay, I feel like I have overcome an obstacle of avoiding printing at all cost by finally pulling the rigger on a printer purchase. I will just have to utilize the rest of the book’s advice to get be going in the right direction as I move forward.

The first part of the book is devoted to getting on the road to printing very quickly with some basic foundations that will hopefully improve the look of your images right out of the box, or at least if you are just starting, to get you comfortable with a basic process. Martin shares some tips on selecting your first printer or upgrading from what you currently have and also provides some basics on paper selection.

Martin has plenty of quick tips for folks who are just getting started in the process of printing including basics such as setting your monitor’s brightness appropriately and how to take advantage of the software you currently have to make sure the settings will provide you with the greatest chance of getting a good print out of your printer. Examples are provided with Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop to help you better get a handle on such things as shadow and highlight adjustment, sharpening and printing profiles to name a few.

Part two of Making The Print is about going deeper into the details of gaining success with your printing. Here Martin talks about getting into the nitty gritty details of color management including performing your own color calibration throughout the entire process (monitor and printer/paper combinations). This is not for the feint of heart and I think Martin has cleared this process up a bit with a clear description of steps to be performed with a couple of alternative devices he recommends for the process. He also touches upon the camera calibration as well for the ultimate complete color managed loop for your workflow. Color proofing is also demonstrated with a walk through and in fact Martin mentions in a note the fact that the latest Lightroom beta 4.0 includes this capability.

Next Martin provides a clear discussion on paper type and what to look for in choosing fine art paper and also why you may want to start smaller before going for that large format printer.

This next section is probably my favorite of the book: Gallery Wraps. Martin goes into depth on how to take advantage of your printer to create beautiful gallery wraps yourself. This includes getting the print made just right with respect to dealing with borders, resizing and sharpening. Martin also provides details with illustrations on how to handle the canvas and mount it properly using the stretcher bars. This section I find is one I will definitely attempt since I have spent a great deal of money on procuring canvas wraps in the past.

There is also a nice section to help you prepare for an exhibit and what techniques you could use to perhaps make the process of producing a set of prints more efficiently and economically.

I mentioned Ansel Adams earlier as an inspiration which has always driven me to print my own work and Martin has a nice quote that wraps this review up for me, “Ansel Adams would have loved what is available to us now and it’s just going to get better and better!”

You can save $1 off the price of Making The Print by using the PRINT4 code at checkout or use PRINT20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 + PDF eBooks from the Craft and Vision Collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm(PST) on January 21, 2012.

Click here to visit the Craft and Vision bookstore to get $1 off while picking up a copy of Making The Print.