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A Photographer’s Guide to Photo Printing Technologies

The Evolution of Photo Printing

Much has evolved in photography printing over the last twenty years. Less than ten years ago, developing negatives at professional photo labs seemed the natural thing to do. Today, developing A3-sized, lab-quality photos at home, in minutes, at a fraction of the cost is the norm.

Read more: A Photographer’s Guide to Photo Printing Technologies

Basic printing techniques

printingKnow the words
In image processing, there are overlapping terms that tend to get interchanged. Especially for image and print resolution: dpi (dots per inch), ppi (pixel or points per inch), lpi (lines per inch). In addition to this, the resolution of an image is stated by its dimensions in pixels or in inches (at a certain ppi or dpi resolution). Yes, we can understand if your head is swimming. Let’s understand this:

When an image is captured using either a camera or a scanner, the result is a digital image consisting of rows – known as arrays – of different picture elements that are called pixels. This array has a horizontal and vertical dimension. The horizontal size of the array is defined by the number of pixels in one single row (say 1,280) and the number of rows (say 1,024), giving the image a horizontal orientation. That picture would have a “resolution” of “1,024 x 1,280 pixels”.  

The size of the image displayed is dependent o the number of pixels the monitor displays per inch. The “pixel per inch” resolutions (ppi) of monitors vary, and are usually in the range of 72 ppi to 120 ppi (the latter, lager 21.4” monitors). In most cases, however, with monitors the resolution is given as the number of pixels horizontally and vertically (e.g.1,0240 x 1,280 or 1,280 x 1,600). So the “size” of an image very much depends on how many pixels are displayed per inch. Thus, we come to a resolution given in ‘pixels per inch’ or ppi for short.

Read more: Basic printing techniques

Color management for printing

Printing your photos is an important task for every photographer. Knowing what colors will work how and setting them right for the print task is as important as getting the lighting right when you shoot. Learn more about color management and profiles.

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Making prints from slides

TransparencyYou shoot a lot of transparencies and get them developed as well. But you would also like to make negatives from them and make prints. Here's a way of achieving that. There used to be two and now there are three basic methods for making prints from transparencies (slides).

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Your personal (portable) photolab

It wouldn’t be too far from the truth if we were to assume that you belong to one of the growing legions of photographers who use either their cell phone or digital camera to capture photos and then forget about them.

Read more: Your personal (portable) photolab