How many of you are happy with your digital workflow? Are your results repeatable? Are your camera, lenses, monitor, scanner and printer calibrated? If so, you are on your way to making great inkjet prints. Here is what I will be covering in this article:
• JPEG vs. RAW
• Sharpening techniques for output
• What color space to use?
• How to load and use a profile
• Creating and saving paper profiles
• Driver interface setup
• Viewing tests and making corrections
JPEG vs. RAW In The Field
Getting your image as near perfect as possible in the field should be the goal of any serious photographer. In reality, this is step one in the printing process. Errors made there will definitely affect your printing.
Try to pre-visualize your finished print when shooting and make as many adjustments there as you can so that you can achieve the print you want. Over/under exposures, shortened tonal range, noise, color artifacts all make your job harder. A sharp eye for detail and the technical knowledge to control these factors in the field all add to the quality of the final print.
JPEG compression shortens color graduations, pre- serving luminance. Although JPEG is 8 bits of each, color, most cameras capture 11 bit (or more) in RAW. More information is always better when you enter post production. It’s hard to get back what you didn’t capture. With RAW editors like Lightroom and Camera RAW, you preserve the RAW files for future revisions−sort of like unlimited “undos” and opportunities to rework your prints as your processing skills improve over time.
While it is true inkjet printers cannot handle all the information we throw at them, do you really want them to make the decisions about what information can be cut? Anything applied in camera cannot easily be undone in post. The most benign of JPEG processing in camera still tosses data and most add sharpness.