Photographic Print Quality

For our November meeting Peter had set us a bit of homework – print an image he had sent us and bring it in. It was interesting to see the variation in results from different printers and using different inks with some being close to the on-screen image and some not. We will be revisiting the prints in six months time to see what effect daylight has had on them.

We then discussed the prints of images taken during the month (nearly everyone got the right size this month!) before picking a winner.

Photogroup Nov pic
November photograph of the month – Judy Rivers

A printed image needs to be lightened in order to appear the same as the on-screen image. A case in point is the cover of the Autumn edition of PReVIEW which is rather drab compared to the original image. Software (on the camera or computer) adjusts the image to a level of 18% grey as a standard which misrepresents snow scenes for example and why a white cat on a red carpet will appear green. The camera should have its exposure set on the most important part of the picture.

Printed image
Original on-screen image






Fashion photographers will often send a swatch of material to the printer along with the photographs to ensure that the printed image reflects the original.

Similarly for printing black and white images it is necessary to increase the contrast before sending them to the printer – colour images to be printed black and white should be changed to black and white before being sent to the printer.

Finally Peter demonstrated the art of mounting photographs. The colour of the mounting card should contrast or enhance the image, generally with a light mount for a black and white photo and a darker colour for a colour image, often with a white border round the print. Three quick passes each way of adjustable spray mount is all that is required. It is generally accepted that for a 1” border top and side there should be a 1 ¼” border at the bottom.