Rocky Mountain School of Photography » printing Wed, 26 Nov 2014 22:07:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Using the Contact Sheet II Plug-in With Photoshop CC Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:27:30 +0000 Photoshop CC includes only a single automated way of adding multiple images to a page: the Contact Sheet II plug-in. So to combine several photos on a page, most of the time you will use the same process described in my article about creating a poster with Photoshop. (See link here.)


Eyster_01 Fall Contact Sheet rotate

Contact Sheet II arranges a folder or collection of photos on the page in a grid of rows and columns. You can control the order that the photos appear on the page by rearranging them in Bridge. The images all stay the same size and do not overlap one another.








Eyster_02 Bridge Folder

To use the Contact Sheet feature, start Bridge and navigate to a folder or collection of pictures. From the menu, choose Tools > Photoshop > Contact Sheet II.* (You can also access the Contact Sheet in Photoshop from the File > Automate menu.) Photoshop starts and displays the Contact Sheet II dialog box.

*If you do not see the Contact Sheet choice, you can download and add the Contact Sheet plug-in to Photoshop CC by following the instructions on this web page: Even though Adobe says the Contact Sheet plug-in is not supported in Photoshop CC, it still works.





Eyster_03 Contact Sheet Dialog 1The first section lists the Source Images, which is Bridge by default, and displays the number of files selected. If you start the Contact Sheet from inside Photoshop, you have the option of selecting either Files or a Folder from the drop-down list and then browsing to the pictures you want to add to the contact sheet.








Eyster_04 Contact Sheet Dialog 2In the second section, you set up the Document size (paper) you want the contact sheet printed on. The default is 8×10-inch paper in a vertical orientation. You can also specify a print resolution, color mode, bit depth and color space. A check box tells Photoshop to flatten all the layers when you are finished. I turn this on for regular contact sheets. (It creates a much smaller file size.) But if you are trying something creative, you should leave this turned off so you can reposition the layers after they are made.







Eyster_05 Contact Sheet Dialog 3

The Thumbnails section lets you determine the number of rows and columns of photos printed on the page. First, decide whether you want the photos to begin across a row or down a column. Enter the number of rows and columns you want the Contact Sheet to use. In the example, I’ve chosen three rows and three columns to create larger thumbnails. Use Auto-Spacing sets the amount of white space between rows and columns. If you want to adjust the space manually, turn off this box. Then type in the Vertical and Horizontal spacing you prefer. Changing this will affect the size of the thumbnails. The last choice in this section is Rotate for Best Fit. Checking this box, turns vertical photos sideways so all the thumbnails are the same size. I find this makes looking at the photos awkward, especially for clients. So I leave this box unchecked.





Eyster_06 Contact Sheet Dialog 4The last section tells Photoshop to Use Filename as Caption as a way to identify a specific image. You can select the font, style and size for the name. I like to use a serif font like Times New Roman to make it easier to tell a number 1 from a lower-case L. A larger size makes the thumbnails slightly smaller.








Eyster_07 Contact Sheet Dialog 5

If you expect to use these settings regularly, you can save them as a preset. Click the Save button and give the layout a descriptive name. I used “3×3 Contact Sheet”. Then in the future you can click the Load button to retrieve these settings. The Reset button returns all the boxes in the window to their default settings, in case you want to start over.








Eyster_08 Fall Contact Sheet no rotate 9upClick the OK button when you are ready to have Photoshop build your contact sheet. If you have more images than will fit on one page, Photoshop automatically creates another document until it has used all the pictures you selected. Photoshop displays the finished page (or pages), ready to be printed.

Usually I do not save my contact sheets after printing since it’s easy to have Photoshop recreate them. But if I want to share the contact sheet with a client, I save it as a JPEG copy to make it easy to email to them.







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Printing Multiple Photos On A Page Using Lightroom 5 Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:21:46 +0000 EysterKathy_01 Multi Image PrintIn my previous posts, I’ve described how to prepare individual images and posters for printing with a photo lab. In this article I illustrate the steps you can take to arrange multiple photos on a single piece of paper. This technique works whether you are using your own inkjet printer or sending a file to a photo lab to produce the final result.

Lightroom 5 provides three different ways to arrange multiple photos on a piece of paper: Single Image / Contact Sheet, Picture Package, and Custom Package. These are found in the Print Module under the Layout Styles panel. You can start experimenting with these different layouts by choosing one of the templates included with Lightroom.

Single Image / Contact Sheet Layout Style

The Single Image / Contact Sheet style arranges different photos on the page in a regular grid of rows and columns. You can control the order that the photos appear on the page by rearranging them in the Library or Filmstrip if they are in a collection. The images all stay the same size and cannot overlap one another in this style.

The 2×2 Cells template is a Contact Sheet style that allows you to arrange four different images on the page. If you have a mixture of horizontal and vertical pictures, under the Image Settings panel you can check the Rotate to Fit box so that all the images are as large as possible in the cells.

EysterKathy_02 2x2 cells rotate

If you want the photos to be exactly the same size, turn on the Zoom to Fill box under the Image Settings panel. This may crop some of your pictures. You can reposition the photos inside the cells by holding down the the Command key (Mac) or the Control key (Windows). Then click and drag the hand cursor on the image to adjust the cropping.

EysterKathy_03 2x2 cells rotate fill

The 4 Wide template is also a Contact Sheet style. This creates four narrow, panorama-style cells in which to place your photos. It also includes a place for a custom Identity Plate that can be edited for a title.

EysterKathy_04 4 wide fair
Picture Package Layout Style

The Picture Package style mimics the “packages” of photos that you would order from a portrait studio that took your school or church directory picture. This style provides for multiple sizes of the same photo on one page. If you select more than one image, Lightroom creates a second page with the same selection of sizes for the new picture.

Picture Package templates are named by the number of copies of each size image included in the layout. (1) 7×5, (4) 2.5×3.5 is a template that creates one 5×7 inch print and four 2.5×3.5 inch prints on one sheet of paper. This template does not leave any space between the prints to make cutting them apart easy. You can add this space by turning on the Photo Border box under Image Settings. Then adjust the slider to create more or less space.

EysterKathy_05 Picture Pkg borderYou can create a custom combination of print sizes by using the Cells panel. Start by clicking the Clear Layout button. Then click the buttons for the sizes of prints you want. For example, if you want one 5×7 print and two 4×6 prints, click the 5×7 button once and the 4×6 button twice.

If Lightroom does not have a print size you want, you can create a custom size for one of the buttons. For instance, you might like a square 5×5 inch size. You can click on the arrow next to any of the buttons and choose Edit from the list. Then type in the dimensions you want for the new print size. These dimensions now appear on that button and Lightroom adds a print that size to your paper.

If the combination of sizes you select does not fit on the page, Lightroom automatically adds a new page. You can click the Auto Layout button to have Lightroom rearrange the prints to make more efficient use of the paper.

EysterKathy_06 Picture Pkg with custom size selection

If you don’t want one of the prints you’ve added, click on the image cell to select it and then press the Delete key to remove it. If you end up with too many pages of prints, you can move your mouse over the page. A black circle with an X in it appears over the top left corner of the page. Click that circle to delete the page and all the prints on it.

Custom Package Layout Style

The Custom Package style gives you the most flexibility. It allows a variety of pictures in various sizes on the same page and provides for overlapping images. The Custom Package gives you the most freedom to experiment with different combinations of photos and arrangements on the page.

Templates with “Custom” in the name use the Custom Package layout style. The Custom 4 Square template allows four separate images on the page: one large square with three smaller squares below it.

EysterKathy_07 Custom 4 square

The Custom Overlap x3 Landscape style has four horizontal cells that each can contain a different image. The largest cell acts as a background with three overlapping images on top.

EysterKathy_08 Custom Overlap x3 Landscape

To add photos to a custom template, simply drag a picture from the Filmstrip into one of the cells outlined in the template. If you want a different photo in the cell, drag and drop a new one to replace the previous image.

You can click on an image cell and drag it to a different position on the page. If you want additional photos on the page, drag a new picture from the Filmstrip onto the page.

Right clicking on a cell gives you a menu from which you can rotate or delete a photo. You can also change the order of overlapping photos from this menu. After selecting the picture, choose to send it forward, backward or to the front or back of the stack.

If you want to create your own design, click the Clear Layout button in the Cells panel. Then you can add photos to the page just by dragging them from the Filmstrip. You can resize and reposition them as you go. You might want to use the Lock to Photo Aspect Ratio box in the Cells panel to ensure the photo retains its original crop.


EysterKathy_09 Custom overlap with ID Plate

Each of these different Layout Styles provides many more options to adjust the appearance of your photos on the page. I’ve just given you a brief introduction to the differences among the styles. Gather some images you want to use and experiment. If you come up with a design you like, save it as a User Template so you can retrieve it again for a different project.


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Using Photoshop CC to Create a Poster for Photo Lab Printing Mon, 16 Jun 2014 17:27:34 +0000 In this fourth post on preparing images for printing at a photo lab, I describe using Photoshop CC to lay out a poster that includes one of your photographs plus some text that acts as a title. Note that most of the steps can also be accomplished with older versions of Photoshop as well as many versions of Photoshop Elements. So no matter which edition of the photo editing program you have, you should find some information to help you correctly prepare your favorite image as a poster for printing.

00 Fair Poster 16x20

Create a New Document

To begin, decide on the paper size you want for your poster. Check with the photo lab you plan to use to ensure they have that size available, especially if you want to create a panoramic style. For this example, I’m creating a horizontal (landscape) poster 16 x 20 inches.

Open Photoshop CC and from the File menu choose New. In the window that appears, provide a name for the document. Then fill in your choices for the width, height, resolution and background, which will be the background color of your poster. I set the units to inches and type in 20 for the width and 16 for the height at a resolution of 300ppi. I plan to use a color photo, so I set Color Mode to RGB Color and 8 bit. My poster will eventually be saved as a JPEG file, which is 8 bit, so this saves me a step later on. I want the Background Contents to be White. Clicking on the Advanced arrow reveals the Color Profile box where I select sRGB since this is the color space most photo labs work with. When you are satisfied with your choices here, click OK and a blank document appears.


01 New File

Set up Margin Guides

To help position your photo with even margins, it is useful to have Photoshop display guides. These light blue lines do not print; they are just for reference. From the View menu choose New Guide. Create two Vertical guides, one at 1 inch and one at 19 inches for the left and right margins, respectively. Also create two Horizontal guides, one at 1 inch for the top margin and one at 13 inches to leave a three-inch bottom margin where the title will go. Also in the View menu, turn on Snap and then Snap to > Guides. This ensures that your picture exactly lines up with these margin guides.


02 new document w-guides

Select the Picture from Bridge

Now you are ready to add the picture. Open Bridge and find a final edited image you want to add to your poster. Select the picture and from the File menu, choose Place > In Photoshop. Using the Place command allows you to reposition and resize the photo without compromising the quality. It also means you can double-click on the layer thumbnail for this picture and do further edits to fine-tune its appearance later.


03 Select in Bridge

Position and Size the Photo

Your picture appears centered on the page with an X through the middle. Move your cursor inside the photo and drag it into position. If you need to resize the image, hold down the Shift key and drag a corner. The Shift key preserves the original proportions of your photo. When you are satisfied with the position and size, click the check in the Options Bar.

04 Place Photoshop

05 Move placed photo

06 size placed photo

Now it is time to add the embellishments to make this poster stand out. There are many effects you can add with Photoshop, but I am going to add just a complementary border and a title.

Add a Stroke Border

To add the border, from the Layer menu choose Layer Style > Stroke. In the window that appears, adjust the width of the stroke border using the Size slider. Choose the position of the stroke. Inside and Centered will cover part of your image. Leave Blend Mode and Opacity at their defaults of Normal and 100%. Fill Type is Color and starts with black. If you want a different color border, click the swatch to reveal the Color Picker. Move your cursor over the photo to click on a different color in the image. Click OK to save your color and OK again to apply the stroke effect. If you change your mind later, you can double-click on the Stroke Effect in the Layers panel and make changes.

07 layer style stroke color picker

Add the Title

To create the title, choose the Type tool. In the Options Bar, select the font, style, size, alignment and color. The fonts and styles are what are installed in your computer. Size is in points (72 points equals 1 inch). You can type a larger number in the size box if needed. For a different color, click on the swatch to get the Color Picker again. You can make the type color match the border color by clicking in the border itself. Click OK to save your color choice. Then click below the picture and start typing. You can select the text and make further changes to all the choices in the Options Bar until you are happy with the title’s appearance. When you are finished typing, click the check in the Options Bar. If your type is not in the correct position below your photo, choose the Move tool. You can center the Type layer on the Background layer by Ctrl-clicking (Cmd-clicking Mac) on these two layers in the Layers panel and then choosing Align Horizontal Centers from the Options Bar. Select just the Type layer to adjust the title’s vertical position using the arrow keys. It is helpful to turn on the Grid (View > Show > Grid) to fine-tune the title position.

08 type centered with grid


Apply a Drop Shadow to the Title

The font and color I chose do not stand out well from the background. So I add a drop shadow effect to the words. Make sure you have the Type layer selected. Then from the Layer menu choose Layer Style > Drop Shadow. Adjust the Distance, Spread and Size as desired; you can leave the other choices at their defaults. Photoshop updates the effect as you make changes. When you are pleased with the result, click OK.

09 type drop shadow


To see a preview of your poster, turn off the Grid and Guides using the View > Show menu.


10 Finished poster

Save the Poster as a Master PSD File

Save your poster as a master PSD file and include the poster size in the name. This preserves all the layers and effects you applied so you can change them in the future.

11 Save As PSD

[Note: The Save As screens are from a Windows computer. If you use a Mac, your Save As screens look different but all the same choices are available.]

Save the Poster as a JPEG File

Now create a JPEG copy to send to the photo lab. From the File menu, choose Save As. Select a Prints folder on your desktop (to make it easy to locate your file for uploading). Include the print size in the name and change the file type to JPEG. Click Save.


12 Save As JPEG


Photoshop displays another window of JPEG Options where you specify the amount of compression applied to your picture. I recommend using Quality 10; this provides a small amount of compression that does not have a detrimental effect on your image and usually cuts the file size in half. Also be sure to set the Format Options to “Baseline (“Standard”)” and then click OK.


13 JPEG Options


Find your favorite photo lab online and upload, order and pay for your poster print. Consider ordering extras to share with friends and family.


To read the first three posts in my series on printing, check out these links:

Using Lightroom 5 to Create a Poster for Photo Lab Printing
Using Photoshop CC to Prepare a Picture for Photo Lab Printing
Using Lightroom 5 to Prepare an Image for Photo Lab Printing

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Using Photoshop CC to Prepare a Picture for Photo Lab Printing Mon, 17 Mar 2014 23:13:09 +0000 In my last post I described the process of getting a single image ready for photo lab printing using Lightroom 5. In this article, I am illustrating the comparable process using Photoshop CC. Note that all the steps can also be accomplished with most older versions of Photoshop as well as many versions of Photoshop Elements. So no matter which edition of the photo editing program you have, you should find some information to help you correctly prepare your favorite image for printing.

[Note: The Save As screens are from a Windows computer. If you use a Mac, your Save As screens look different but all the same choices are available.]

Select a Picture

To begin, select an adjusted master photo from Bridge. This picture should be one you have already worked on to enhance its exposure, contrast and color to make it look its best.

EysterKathy_01 Bridge Masters

You can crop your image to improve its composition, too, without having to use a specific size at this point. But if you plan to order a specific proportion for your print later (such as 8×10), you may want to keep that in mind. Also decide the print dimensions you want and the resolution you need. In this example, I want an 8×12 inch horizontal print at 300 ppi resolution.

Rafferty Spring 2012

Save a Copy

To protect your original master file, make a copy of the adjusted picture. Working on a copy is important because you will be resizing the image and changing the original number of pixels. In the future, if you decide you want to print the same image at a different size, either larger or smaller, you would open the original master document and create new copy for that print. So your master edited photo remains unaffected.

Save the copy as either a PSD or a TIFF file because these do not compress your picture. When you name your copy, include the print dimensions for future reference. In my example, I call the picture “daisy blue 8×12” because I plan to order an 8×12 inch print size.

EysterKathy_02 Save As PSD

Size the Photo

Now you need to change the size of the picture to match both the dimensions of the paper you want it printed on as well as the resolution necessary for the best quality. Using the Image Size command seems like the logical choice. However, Image Size does not allow you to set an exact dimension. It only fits the photo into a box of the size you specify. This could result in your picture being smaller than your intended size, creating a unwanted extra border around the print instead of the image extending all the way to the edge of the paper.

A better way to change the size and resolution of your picture is to use the Crop tool. After you select the Crop tool, check the Options bar at the top of the screen below the menus. Here you tell Photoshop the exact dimensions and resolution you want for your picture.


EysterKathy_03 Crop Tool Options

In the Options bar, change the Preset drop-down list from “Ratio” to “W x H x Resolution” for “width x height x resolution”. Photoshop remembers your choice here, so it will be the same the next time you select the Crop tool.

Type in the dimensions you want for the print size. Photoshop uses the unit of measure that you have set in preferences. The default unit is inches (in) or you can specify centimeters by adding “cm” after the number. I type 12 for W, 8 for H and 300 for resolution in the appropriate boxes. (You might consider using 200 ppi if you are creating a print larger than 16×20 inches.)

The last choice is “Delete Cropped Pixels.” You can leave this turned on or off. When you save the final print file as a JPEG, Photoshop deletes any preserved pixels.

Adjust the sides of the cropping box to suit and press the Enter or Return key to apply it. Depending on the original size of your file, the picture may either shrink or enlarge on screen to meet your size and  resolution requirements.

Sharpen the Image

Changing the size of your image changes the number of pixels in the file, either deleting extras or adding new ones. As a result, important edges lose their crisp appearance. In addition, the printing process also softens these edges slightly. So to return your picture to its best appearance, you need to sharpen it.

To begin, flatten adjustment and other layers into a single layer using Layer > Flatten Image. Then duplicate the background layer by pressing Ctrl+J (Windows) or Cmd+J (Mac). Applying the sharpening to its own layer lets you easily adjust or delete it if you need to.

From the Filter menu choose Sharpen > Smart Sharpen. The initial size of this window offers a very small preview. It’s best to be able to see lots of your photo at 100% magnification. So drag a corner to resize the box and get a much larger preview.

Within the preview window click and drag to a part of the image that has important details that need to be properly sharpened. Adjust the sliders and click OK when you are satisfied. (See this Adobe video for more on using the Smart Sharpen filter.)

EysterKathy_04 Smart Sharpen small


EysterKathy_05 smart sharpen big

Convert to the Appropriate Color Spac

Last, you need to be sure the image file is in the correct color space for the photo lab. All labs can understand the sRGB color space. A few professional labs can also interpret Adobe RGB correctly. Check with your lab ahead of time to see what they prefer. If you can’t find this information, use sRGB as it is the safest.

To be sure your photo is using the right color space (or profile), from the Edit menu choose Convert to Profile. At the top is the current (Source) color space of your picture. Next is the new (Destination) color space you want Photoshop to use. Click the drop-down list and select “sRGB IEC61966-2.1.” You can leave the other choices at their default settings and click OK.

EysterKathy_06 Convert to sRGB

Save the Photo as a JPEG File

Now your picture file is ready to be saved. It has the right dimensions and the correct resolution. It has been sharpened and converted to the appropriate color space. From the File menu, choose Save As. Select a Prints folder on your desktop (to make it easy to locate your file for uploading). Include the print size in the name and change the file type to JPEG. Click Save.

EysterKathy_07 Save As JPEG
Photoshop displays another window of JPEG Options where you specify the amount of compression applied to your picture. I recommend using Quality 10; this provides a small amount of compression that does not have a detrimental effect on your image and usually cuts the file size in half. Also be sure to set the Format Options to “Baseline (“Standard”)” and then click OK.
Now your photo is ready to upload to your favorite photo lab!

EysterKathy_08 JPEG Options



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Using Lightroom 5 to Prepare an Image for Photo Lab Printing Mon, 10 Feb 2014 22:03:55 +0000 Lightroom 5 makes it easy to get your favorite photos ready for printing by a photo lab. In this post, I lead you through the correct choices in the Print module to produce a JPEG file you can upload to your favorite printing service.

Start by selecting and processing your photo to look its best in the Develop module, including sharpening it using the Detail panel. Feel free to crop your image to improve its composition. You do not have to crop it to a specific size ahead of time. But if you want a specific proportion for your print (such as 4×5/8×10) you may want to keep that in mind.

 Photo1 develop LR5 copy


Choose a Template

Next, switch to the Print module. From the Template Browser in the left panel, choose a layout. For a  borderless print, I recommend starting with the Maximize Size template. Then click the Page Setup button to choose the proper orientation (horizontal or vertical) for your image. Your picture appears on the paper with a large white border around it. You will take care of this in the next step.


Photo2 Print Template


Photo3 Page Setup Win - Copy

Decide the size of paper you want to print on. Be sure the lab you are going to send the image to offers that paper size. In this case, I am going to order an 8×12 horizontal print. Now I need to tell Lightroom to make my picture that size exactly.

Size the Photo Paper

Open the Print Job section of the right panel. Under Print To: change Printer to JPEG File. Then check the box to turn on Custom File Dimensions. These start at the paper size that came with the template you chose. To get your exact size, type new numbers in the boxes. In my example, I type 12 (wide) by 8 (high). Lightroom automatically adjusts the margins to zero on all sides.


Photo4 JPEG File Custom File Dim copy


In this example, my image is not exactly 12×8 inches. A little white border shows at the top and bottom edges. To make the image go all the way to the edge of the paper, I need to enlarge it slightly. Under the Image Settings panel, I turn on the Zoom to Fill check box and the white border disappears.


Photo5 Zoom to Fill copy

Photo6 Zoom to Fill before After copy

If you notice a small gray box in the upper left corner of your picture, don’t worry. This tells you the exact size of your picture and is for reference only. It will not be printed.

Set the Resolution, Sharpening and JPEG Quality

Now that your picture is properly sized, you need to tell Lightroom the resolution and sharpening settings you want to apply. Return to the Print Job panel. Set the File Resolution to 300 ppi for prints up to 16×20 inches. (You may want to use 200 ppi for larger prints to create a smaller file at acceptable quality.)

Turn on Print Sharpening. Select the amount you want applied; I usually use Standard for my nature and architecture shots. If you are printing a portrait, you may want to choose Low instead. Then pick the Media Type. Lightroom adjusts the sharpening to match the paper surface. Unless you are ordering an inkjet print on watercolor or other textured paper, use Glossy for the Media Type.

Now set the JPEG Quality to 100. If you are ordering a very large print (16×20 inches or more), use 90 to create a smaller file but still good quality result.


Photo7 Resolution Sharpening Quality copy

Set up Color Management

Making choices for Color Management is the last part. For Profile, sRGB is the safest choice. For Intent, use Relative for the most vivid colors.

Photo8 Color Management copy

If you know the lab can accept Adobe RGB files, you may want to use that profile for slightly better quality, especially for high saturation photos. Some printing labs provide custom profiles for their equipment (especially inkjet printers). Check with the lab for more information on this process.

Finally, leave Print Adjustments turned off until you have experience with the lab. If you have calibrated your monitor, you should not need to make any adjustments here.

Create the JPEG File

Now your picture is ready to be turned into a JPEG file suitable for a quality print. Click the Print to File button at the bottom right and save the image to a folder on your desktop for easy retrieval. You can prepare multiple pictures for printing this way as long as they are all the same size. It is easy to mix horizontals and verticals by turning on the Rotate to Fit option in the Image Settings panel.

Photo9 Rotate to Fit - Print to File copy

Go to the photo lab’s web site and follow their instructions for uploading, ordering and paying for your print. Wait patiently for your print to arrive, and then admire your work when it does!

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Should I Print From Lightroom or Photoshop? Mon, 14 Oct 2013 22:55:09 +0000 With Adobe’s announcement of a “Photographer’s Bundle” for the Creative Cloud subscription, many shutterbugs now have access to both Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC for printing their images. So a fair question is, which one to use? Let’s see how they compare.

How They’re Alike

Lightroom and Photoshop share many printing features and capabilities. The most important is the ability to print using a profile for a specific printer and paper combination. Within both the Print module in Lightroom and the Print window in Photoshop, you can adjust the size of the image on the page, though in Photoshop this does not give you direct control over the image resolution. You can position a single image anywhere on the paper. You can add text to the page (though Photoshop provides many ways to customize the type style and placement outside the Print window). And you can add a simple, custom-width black border (Lightroom lets you choose other colors) that’s only applied in the print. (Photoshop has many options for more elaborate border effects outside the Print window.) You can even save the layout and printer choices so printing happens with a single click in both applications.


How They’re Different

Size, Resolution and Sharpening

Lightroom and Photoshop differ in the way you determine print size, set resolution, and apply sharpening.


LR 5 Print ModuleLightroom’s Print module is a one-stop shop. You select an image without needing to create a copy. Using the Cell Size sliders is how you determine the size of the image on the paper. This can be just the long side or exact dimensions using the Zoom to Fill option. In the Print Job panel you choose a specific print resolution or use the file’s native resolution. You specify if and how much output sharpening to apply and customize it for glossy or matte surfaces. All these choices are available in the same module with a click of a mouse.


PS CC Print DialogFor the most control over size, resolution and sharpening in Photoshop, you need to use several different commands which are outside of the Print window. You open the image you want to print and save a copy, leaving the original as a source for other prints. To size the picture, you can use the Image Size command to set the resolution and length of the longest edge. Or you can use the Crop tool and specify exact dimensions and resolution all at once. Then you apply output sharpening using either the Unsharp Mask filter or the Smart Sharpen filter. For the ultimate control with these filters, you can apply them to a duplicate layer and use a layer blending mode and/or a layer mask. This ensures that the sharpening affects only detailed portions of the image, leaving smooth areas such as sky and skin alone. Because you are still working on the image (and not in the Print window), you can preview the sharpening effect to be sure you are satisfied. Lightroom does not provide options for selective output sharpening or previewing the sharpening before printing.


Multiple Images

The other important difference between Lightroom and Photoshop comes when you want to create prints of multiple pictures. Whether these are single images per page or a selection of photos on one piece of paper, Lightroom and Photoshop take different approaches to the task.


Lightroom’s Print module makes printing multiple images quick and easy. If you want all the pictures to be the same size on the same kind of paper, just select the photos from the Library module, Filmstrip or Collections panel. Set up the size, resolution and sharpening for one and they are applied to all the selected photos. You can print any combination of horizontal and vertical pictures by turning on the Rotate to Fit option. Then load your printer with paper and click the Printer button. If you want multiple images on one page, you can make them all the same size with the Contact Sheet style or different sizes that overlap in any arrangement using the Custom Package style. This all happens in the Print module. So when you’re finished with the design (which you can save), the Print Job panel is ready.


Photoshop also lets you put multiple pictures on a page, but you must create a new document and use the Place command to add, size, and position the images one at a time. You can save a template document that uses layer masks to help you use different pictures in the same layout in the future. More complex designs, borders and type effects are available in Photoshop than in Lightroom, but you are building the effect one page at a time. If you want to print several different images the same size on individual pages, you must prepare each picture and open the Print window separately for each one.


So you can create excellent prints from either Lightroom or Photoshop. The differences between them reflect the “philosophy” behind each program. Lightroom is designed to help photographers manage large numbers of pictures quickly and efficiently. Photoshop is designed to allow photographers to perfect a single print with the utmost control over the preparation. It all depends on how you prefer to work with your pictures.



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