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Introduction to Photography and Fine Art Printing

Do you have a certain photograph or any computer-generated photo that you want to print in large format and have it displayed or used as a featured wall piece? Whether it's a favorite memory of you captured in a photograph, or a beautiful image digitally created and saved on your computer, printing and blowing up the images had been made easier and more possible, thanks to technology.

However, it needs to be done properly. With that in mind, here are few things to remember to ensure that you'll end up with high-quality prints.

Image Quality

First off, you must always consider the quality of the actual image. Ideally and to get optimum results, the image needs to be around 150-300 dpi at a 100% scale. If the raw file has higher specs than that, the better the results are. For instance, you need a 300 dpi image for A1 size.

If you'll be opening the said file from photo processing applications such as Adobe Photoshop, you'll notice that the actual file is around 199.4 MB and around 49.9 MB for the 150 dpi version. Higher resolution files mean that the files are larger too.

You'll be surprised to find that most high-end DSLR and digital cameras are now capable of capturing photos that can be easily printed and scaled up to A1 size. It has been found out that that the 24-megapixel cameras will start to become the new standard, and the feature will then be made available even in most compact cameras that most consumers have these days.

Using a Photo Editing Software

If you use Adobe Photoshop as your post-processing imaging software, you can easily pick a random color and assign it to your image. Some examples would be the sRGB and Adobe RGB color spaces. While you perform these changes, you will see that the color of the image on your screen will gently shift as you're currently mapping the new color and as you assign it to its new color space.

The kind of profile that you'll use generally varies depending on the type of photo you're processing and your personal preferences. Based on user feedback, sRGB has a natural-looking effect on the image, while the Adobe RGB profile, on the other hand, makes the image look more saturated. There is no right or wrong choice here - it all depends on the outcome you want to achieve after printing the image.

Consider Color Proofing

Another important factor to remember if you want to get higher quality prints is to make sure that the image will look exactly, or at least closely similar to the colors that you see on your monitor. You can do this by choosing the "Proof Colors" in Photoshop. Once you've applied this setting, you'll see that the color will slightly shift, and this now shows you the color outcomes once the image has been printed.

The printer that you'll use also plays a crucial role - to make this work, the printer should have an ICC color profile option. Don't worry though - most print companies utilize this kind of technology, which means that they will be able to send you an ICC color profile, which lists down their printer's characteristics and printing qualities.

Now that we've taken the heavy lifting and we've made sure that the image is well-prepped, the next thing to do is choosing which paper type you'd print the image on. There are standard and photo papers, while you can also find some art papers which are a little bit more expensive but provides better printing results.

Generally speaking, using standard photo paper will definitely give you vibrant-looking prints, and they are great for general use. However, if you want the print to last longer, going for high-quality fine art paper is the way to go.

What's the difference between the standard and the more expensive fine art papers? To sum it up in one word, their main difference would be "acid". Paper types have various acid content. The more acid that's present in the paper, the more yellowish it could get. Over time, it could also curl, crack, or even turn brittle - all of these could happen in less than 12 months.

High-quality fine art papers make use of acid-free materials and are often made up of 100% cotton fibers. This means that these types of papers are great for preserving images and could last years. This is one of the reasons why most professional photographers, museums, and even art galleries make use of this paper. They also provide a higher print quality.

Is it worth paying for premium quality fine art papers? Definitely - if it means that you'll be able to preserve a beautiful photograph in the next few years to come, then investing in this is a must. Your photo will look exactly the same as it has been printed out on the same day.

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