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Thread: Exporting from LR for lab prints

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    Exporting from LR for lab prints

    I want to get some prints done but initially at a modest size of 16x12 inches. The lab I used last time I printed (way before the Merrill) require JPGs at 402 dpi. So, I need to save TIFFs from SPP, then export from LR as a JPEG to the required size. I assume that all I have to do is go to the Export menu and in Image Sizing, set the resolution, then tick Resize to fit and set the long edge to 16in, having already cropped the image to the appropriate ratio. This effectively up-samples the file and it doesn't look great at 100% but I guess no need to worry about that?

    Also, any hints on output sharpening? If I have left sharpening at the default in SPP, what should I set in the export menu in LR? I think I have used 'sharpen for glossy paper/standard' in the past for prints from other cameras.

    Just wondering if anyone else is using LR to create JPEGs for labs to print and if they can share experiences on how to create the export file.

    Lee

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    Any serious printing should be done from TIFF files, I think.
    Everytime you save a JPG you loose resolution/quality.
    With the TIFF files you can do sharpening in PS and save them, if necessary, without loosing any resolution.
    I don't think these files will need much sharpening.
    I must have some prints made in the Lab I use, because I am very curious what he thinks about the DP2m files.

    Do you have a Lab where you can talk to the people who execute the prints or is it some online Lab? That could be very insightfull to see actually what he does in sharpening and upsizing.
    And be able to see some testprints before you go on.

    Michiel

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    I have never had jpegs printed at a lab, but I regularly have tiffs done at large sizes. I would imagine the procedure is pretty similar. If you do your work on a Tiff in LR and then export to jpeg you shouldn't lose any quality in the file on export. But the colour space may produce some problems - if your lab requires srgb then you may restrict the colour range since in LR you are presumably working in Prophoto.

    I have recently done some A2 prints from my DP2M on an Epson 3880. Tiffs exported at "same size" from SPP in LR show a native resolution of 208 ppi and uprez pretty well on the Epson to 360ppi (which is what the printer wants). The critical thing is the sharpening.

    The first thing you should establish is whether your lab is going to apply any sharpening to your file. If it does then you are going to have to experiment by sending some cheap 6x4s cropped from your 16x12 files with different sharpening techniques to determine which works best. If it doesn't then life is probably a little easier.

    If you export from SPP at the standard settings then it would seem from discussion on the web that SPP does apply some sharpening. I have read from those who have conducted experiments that setting sharpening in SPP to -1 or even -2 produces a tiff with no sharpening. In my experience DP2M files with lots of fine detail - i.e. branches or foiliage - can seem much too crunchy when exported from SPP at its default settings. In those circumstances I set SPP sharpening to -1. Images with smooth areas seem OK with the default settings.

    In LR there are two separate stages of sharpening. Capture sharpening and output sharpening. Look at your image in LR at 100% and then play with the sharpening sliders in the Detail panel. Because you are looking at a Tiff LR will apply no sharpening as a default. Play with the sliders until you find a setting that at 100% in LR looks how you want the image to appear - or you may find (depending on the nature of your image) that no additional sharpening is necessary. This is purely a matter of taste. That is capture sharpening.

    When printing to an Epson printer (the only experience I have) I have found that the standard output sharpening (available both in the printing module and the export module) works extremely well. The lab I use applies no sharpening to the file so I output a Tiff file with standard sharpening (when I first started with them I forgot to apply any sharpening at output stage and the resulting prints were not particularly impressive).

    However if your lab does apply sharpening then you are going to have to experiment with both your capture sharpening and your output sharpening so that you understand what they are doing and react accordingly. If you do this on cropped areas of your final print size with different sharpening techniques you will quickly find what works.

    As a final note - the DP2M should produce extremely high quality 16 inch prints without difficulty.

    Good luck

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    Thanks for responses, guys, very useful indeed, pflower! It seems I am on the right track. My lab does not apply any sharpening and they have supplied a colour profile appropriate to their setup.

    So, I will modify the image to suit in SPP (possibly reducing default sharpening a notch).
    I will then export as 16 bit TIFF in a wide colour space.
    I will import that TIFF into LR and make any further changes such as cropping to the required aspect ratio etc.
    I will then export that final image as a high quality JPEG with output sharpening set to glossy paper/standard with the appropriate profile embedded and at the required dpi.

    Then, I will send it off and see what we get. My lab doesn't charge a fortune so I could try a particularly detailed image at a few sharpness settings (both from within SPP and as output) and see how they look.

    I will report back.

    Lee

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    Your suggested approach seems fine. The only thing I would question is whether your lab wants its colour profile embedded in the jpeg. You can certainly use their profile to soft proof in either LR or Photoshop but whether the lab actually recommends that the jpeg you send them should have their profile embedded is something that I would check.

    Good luck

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    Quote Originally Posted by pflower View Post
    Your suggested approach seems fine. The only thing I would question is whether your lab wants its colour profile embedded in the jpeg. You can certainly use their profile to soft proof in either LR or Photoshop but whether the lab actually recommends that the jpeg you send them should have their profile embedded is something that I would check.

    Good luck
    Yes, they definitely need the profile and provide it for download. I'll let you know how I get on. The hardest part now is actually choosing shots that are worthy enough (from a photographic point of view) of being printed.

    Which is odd, really. With all the pixel-peeping, techno-comparisons etc at the end of the day, it should be down to what you want to have on your wall to look at every day.

    Lee

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Schierbeek View Post
    Any serious printing should be done from TIFF files, I think. ...
    Um, no. For my own work, that I print at home, I print directly from Lightroom based on the raw files with my edits using a color managed printing workflow. But nearly all of the work I've delivered to clients or printing services has been maximum quality, eight bit JPEG files, sized and sharpened for the appropriate output size and resolution per their needs.

    Very very few clients or print shops nowadays want to deal with TIFFs due to the size—even a maximum quality, minimum compression JPEG usually saves about 40% on data transmission and storage needs. Most of the services print with 8bit printers and use sRGB as a baseline color calibration. When a print service supplies color profiles for their systems, I output a print master with that profile embedded.

    A few years ago, I was concerned about this and sent both TIFF and JPEG print masters of test images to three local labs as a test. The returned print products looked identical, from all three, although there were variations between the prints output by the three labs. What this says is that it's best to work with a lab and get to know how their process will render what you want to print, and tweak the print master to make it right, regardless of whether you use TIFF, JPEG, etc.

    G

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    Hi Godfrey,

    It may differ by Lab, but the Pro Lab I work with asks me to deliver TIFF files, so we can make some tweaks together, sharpening etc. He even sometimes gives critique in the WB or colour tone of the image. Light/dark. Well I trust his opinion in many cases, because he does nothing else and is the expert.
    The TIFF files are bigger, so logicly speaking they should contain more information.
    And I agree if you want to make big prints it is important to me as well to work together and be able to analyse and discus print test strips.
    At least that is the way I work for exhibition images mostly 60 x 90 cm or about.

    I do not know if he sends the final draw to the printer as a JPG, but I don't think so. I will look into that next time.

    Michiel

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Michiel Schierbeek View Post
    Hi Godfrey,

    It may differ by Lab, but the Pro Lab I work with asks me to deliver TIFF files, so we can make some tweaks together, sharpening etc. He even sometimes gives critique in the WB or colour tone of the image. Light/dark. Well I trust his opinion in many cases, because he does nothing else and is the expert.
    The TIFF files are bigger, so logicly speaking they should contain more information.
    And I agree if you want to make big prints it is important to me as well to work together and be able to analyse and discus print test strips.
    At least that is the way I work for exhibition images mostly 60 x 90 cm or about.

    I do not know if he sends the final draw to the printer as a JPG, but I don't think so. I will look into that next time.

    Michiel
    Certainly, different labs request/require different things. That's why it's essential to work with a lab and find out their particulars to get the best results.

    A JPEG saved at minimum compression/maximum quality loses so little if opened and edited sensibly to tune for a printing process that there's really no loss. And you can use either sRGB or Adobe RGB 1998, depending upon whether editing is going to be needed at the end point. They're pretty much the same thing as an 8bit TIFF in that respect.

    16bit TIFF using ProPhoto RGB ... that is far more editable, but very very few print houses are set up for that kind of data, in my experience.

    I've used four different professional printing services in the past eight years. Only one of them could handle 16bit TIFF at all, the others do TIFF or JPEG, but prefer JPEGs now. That's changed since 2005, when most of them wanted TIFF.

    Of course, the printing engine decodes the file (TIFF or JPEG) and sends it as an RGB stream to the driver for printing. There's no loss on decoding JPEG format, only on encoding JPEG format, and the losses are scalable with quality and resolution settings.

    G

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    Re: Exporting from LR for lab prints

    >The TIFF files are bigger, so logicly speaking they should contain more information.

    Yes, but the real question is can you also see the difference. I would expect maybe some diffs in smooth gradients and extreme colors that cannot be represented in Adobe RGB.

    By the way if you use JPEG then don't use ProRGB but aRGB instead.
    Uwe Steinmueller
    -------------------

    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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