For many photographers, a photo simply isn’t a photo until it’s been printed. There is something about the finality, the tactility of holding a photograph that makes it real, more so than a collection of random electrons bouncing around. But printing, more specifically, self-printing has become something akin to alchemy to the digital photographer. Many photographers (myself included) have spent countless hours angsting over getting the image coming off of the printer to look like the one on the monitor. If this sounds a bit too familiar, the latest title from Craft & Vision may be just what you’ve been waiting for. Making The Print: Printing Techniques For the Digital Photographer, by photographer Martin Bailey is a veritable Rosetta Stone for digital photographers who have labored over printing their own work to lackluster results.
The 60-plus page book is broken into two parts. Part One is designed to get you making good quality prints in the least amount of time, without the need for third-party hardware or software (beyond what you already have, such as Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture). Bailey outlines a few quick adjustments you can make to your display and your editing/post application of choice. He also covers the importance of printing with profiles, which can make dramatic differences in print quality
Even when printing to your printer manufacturer’s brand paper, you can usually get better results by taking control away from the printer driver and handling this in the application you are printing from.
Part Two is where the gloves come off and Bailey dives headlong into getting the very best quality prints out of your hardware and software; in a word: calibration. Bailey offers a detailed walkthrough of calibrating all of the hardware in your workflow, from camera (yes, camera) to monitor to printer, ensuring that the colors and exposure are consistent from capture to output. He covers calibration hardware, paper types, even soft-proofing, which gives you a preview of what your image will look like on a given paper type. Bailey also includes a section on printing and assembling your own gallery wraps, from how to deal with edges, to how to properly assemble and finish the stretcher bars.
With Making The Print, Martin Bailey has effectively demystified the printing process, allowing the digital photographer to achieve fantastic results without having to send work out to a lab or service bureau.