Common Mistakes Made Prior to Printing Photographs

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  By Michael Moodie
Common Mistakes Made Prior to Printing Photographs

In a previous article, we spoke a bit about some simple tips to take before going to print your photos. We discussed many things such as pixel, the paper of choice and even calibrating your monitor to the right settings so that you don’t end up having your prints looking totally different than what’s on your monitor. However, in this article, I will be sharing with you some of the simple but common mistakes that I have made my self when printing my images and only hope pointing out these mistakes will help you not only to learn from them but prevent you from making the same mistake as well.

1. Not Paying Attention To Pixels

When printing your images, one of the biggest mistakes you could make is not paying much attention to your pixel count. I know as photographers, some of us can get super excited about seeing our prints and end up not paying much attention to the fine details of making sure our prints come out at the best quality possible. We sometimes end up thinking as photography beginners that our images were taken with a good quality full frame camera so our prints should turn out good as well. This is a common misunderstanding that can result in us wasting ink or money on doing a print incorrectly. When preparing to print your images, you should always make sure that the print size you want will match up to the number of pixels in your image or images. If the pixels in your image does not match up to the print size you are looking for then you will end up with your image looking pixelated as a print or even blurry. The more pixels you have your image is the more you will see detail and quality in your shot when it’s printed. Don’t make this mistake and end up regretting not doing your research as I have.

2. Not Using The Right Paper

An important part of printing your photographs is having an idea of which paper to use. Using the right paper is almost as important as having an idea of the right print size in relation to the number of pixels in your photo. The type of paper you print your images on can have both a negative or positive effect on your image itself. Some images are edited in a particular way that might only look good on a certain type of paper and failure to use that paper might just make your print or image look less amazing than it actually is. Knowing your print paper will become an asset as you print more and more of your work during your photography career. When I first did my prints, I had no knowledge of what to expect or how paper even affected how my images look. I even though that all photographers used the same type of printing paper and there was nothing too complex about it at all but boy was I wrong. Before printing your images, do some research and get familiar with the different types of printing paper and they’re characteristics as the information will come in handy.

3. Image Format

Before printing, you should always take a look at the image format first before exporting or sending off your image or images to be printed. Many of us don’t pay much attention to this but it is indeed a very important factor in printing your work. Most printers that are used to do high-quality shots do not accept any other format than JPEG or TIFF. If you export your image in any other format than the two I just listed then you might be in a little problem as they might not work. When printing I recommend using a TIFF format for your images. The abbreviation TIFF stands for “Tagged Imaged File Format” and is the basic standard used by companies that print books and life-size images overall. The TIFF format carries a lot more information than that of the JPEG format and can work in your benefit when doing prints. Images in TIFF format are a lot less compressed that JPEG and will be useful when looking to keep the quality in your shots. Knowing the image format you’re using will play a key role in determining the quality of your prints and how much detail they will hold.

4. Choosing A Cheap Print Company

Cheaper isn’t always better and when it comes to your prints, this can be a very tricky thing. The first set of prints I ever did as a beginner in photography, I went the cost-effective route. Needless to say, while I was indeed excited and happy to actually see my work printed, I started to notice the quality in the print was not exactly what I expected or would hope for. Be very cautious of the prices you see and the companies you use. Some prices will be too good to be true and might not give you the quality print you want. If you want good prints of your work then you will have to invest in it and not always take the cheaper route.

It’s always fun to share some of these points with you and also share some experiences of my own to help understand the results of making these simple mistakes. Until next time, take care.

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Michael Moodie is a Freelance Photographer and Photojournalist. He Enjoys Lifestyle Photography and Traveling while doing all things creative!

Comments (1)

  1. Marc Brown Guest

    Great article. The image file type is a great tip. I would love to have seen examples of recommended photo paper by image type. Also, examples of pixel count and suggested sizes. Not sure what you meant by matching the two.