• Glenn Rudd


Printing photographs at home can be a challenge. We have high tech monitors that display incredible detail and color and want to duplicate that in a printed photograph. Although the reality is that can never be achieved precisely, there are techniques which will yield a close approximation. My intention is to write a series of five BLOGS on this subject which you may find helpful and encourage you to print your own images. Today’s discussion will cover some basic background information.

For purposes of these discussions, we will define “Success” as producing a printed photographic image that meets your expectations for tonality and color. My research and preparation included these resources:

· Adobe Technical Support and Knowledge Base

· Canon Technical Support and Knowledge Base

· Professional Photographers

· Photography Webinars such as “Out of Chicago.”

· You Tube Videos Searching by Subject and Teacher

· Practice and Experimentation

As a baseline, here is a list of the equipment in my Printing System:

· Nikon D-850 Camera Body

· iMac Retina 5K, 27-inch Display

· Canon Pixma Pro-100 Printer using Canon Ink

· Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Software

· Paper: Canon, Red River, Hanemuhle

The first thing we must understand is that screen and print versions of the same image can never be a 100% match. Here are the primary reasons:

· Monitor display images are transmitted light which is an “Additive: process.

· Print images are reflected light which is a “Subtractive” process.

· Monitor display contrast ratios are typically 1000:1 versus 200:1 for paper.

· Monitors display MILLIONS of colors

· Not all colors are printable.

The illustration below demonstrates the differences between “Additive” and “Subtractive” Color Modes:

Note that RGB (Red, Green, Blue) are the primary additive mode colors and when combined produce white. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) are the primary subtractive colors typically used in printers. The Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer uses 8 ink cartridges and is therefore capable of producing many more color combinations.

The next illustration shown below shows side-by-side comparisons of similar hues for RGB and CMYK color systems.

Note the differences in magenta, blue-cyan, and green. These differences are less pronounced with an 8-color or 10-color ink system and can be mitigated with the use of color adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Another illustration that helps to understand printed colors is the “Chromaticity Color Space Diagram” developed by the International Commission on Illumination and shown below.

The space inside the horseshoe shaped line represents all visible colors to the human eye. The envelopes within lines labeled “2200 Matte Paper” and “sRGB” are similar in the spectrum of colors available, but both are significantly fewer than humans can distinguish. The “Adobe RGB” envelope is somewhat larger and approximates the colors available with the Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer. The “Pro Photo RGB” envelop is nearly as large as the horseshoe shape and should be used as the choice in your Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw Preferences.

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