Using a wide format inkjet printer to make frame-worthy enlargements of your favorite photographs doesn’t require you to be a software engineer or color scientist. That’s the premise of the new e-book “Digital Fine Art Printing: Field Guide for Photographers” by landscape photographer Robert Rodriguez Jr.
While he debunks the myth that printing your fine art photography is too complex, he admits that “There are so many variables involved that it’s easy to make a mistake in your workflow when you first start, and then wonder why the printer seems to have a mind of its own.”
He wrote this book on fine art photo printing for photography enthusiasts who simply want to use a wide format inkjet printer to consistently make great-looking photo prints.
Why Make Your Own Prints?
Rodriguez considers printing his own images one of the most enjoyable parts of photography. He likes having complete artistic control and producing a tangible, finished product.
He believes that part of the artistic freedom of photo printing comes from experimenting with different paper surfaces and textures, and observing how different papers display an image.
In the end, Robert says he likes printing his own images because the print looks and feels exactly as he envisioned it. Prints tend to evoke more emotional responses in the eyes of viewers and don’t look different on different types of tablets and monitors.
The book covers a range of practical topics, including:
- evaluating the characteristics of a good print
- choosing the right printer for your requirements
- choosing the right paper for your images
- optimizing capture
- processing images with vision
- using color management software to control quality
- using Lightroom’s Print Module and soft-proofing features
- handling and presenting your prints
- weighing the pros and cons of canvas vs. framed prints on art papers
Great Advice from an Experienced Teacher
Below are just a few of the tips Robert Rodriguez, Jr. suggests in the book. Many of his tips are based on questions he has received from photography enthusiasts who have attended his printmaking workshops.
Stick with a few papers at first: When you’re just starting out, settle on a few papers from one manufacturer and stick with them for awhile. Learn how your images are affected by the characteristics of each type of paper.
Learn to print on a smaller desktop model first. If you need prints bigger than 13 x 19, you can outsource the work until you have sold enough prints to justify the investment.
Choose the right size for the print: Consider whether your image would look better large or small. The scale of a print changes how the viewer interacts with it and the emotional response.
Learn how to use the Lightroom Print Module. It can remove some of the complexity, confusion, and repetition of steps from the printing process.
Take good notes: Use an app such as Evernote to keep track of details related to printers, papers, media types, photographs, and framing materials.
“The reality is that there is nothing quite like the look of a photograph printed on a beautiful paper,” writes Robert. “It differentiates you as a photographer and really conveys your dedication to the craft of photography.”
When he teaches classes in his studio in Beacon, NY or at other locations, he says, it’s great to see the sense of satisfaction students get when they realize that printing isn’t as hard as they originally thought
The 145-page book can be downloaded for $19.95 as a PDF, ePub (Mac, iPad), or Mobi (Kindle) file. A free book preview of the book can be requested through a form at the bottom of the order page.
About the Author
Robert Rodriguez Jr is a landscape photographer, printmaker, teacher, and writer who strives to convey the deep, spiritual beauty he sees and experiences in nature. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Robert transitioned to photography after a 15-year career as a music arranger and producer. His images have appeared in the New York Times, and his photography is featured extensively by Scenic Hudson, a non-profit organization dedicated to land and nature preservation in the Hudson Valley.
Robert owns and operates Beyond the Lens Photo Workshops, which offers photography workshops every year in the Hudson Valley and national parks around the country. You can learn more about his workshops by reading his Beyond the Lens blog.
At Freedom Paper, we applaud Robert Rodriguez Jr. for encouraging more photo enthusiasts to consider learning how to make prints from their work. We agree that experimenting with different paper surfaces and textures can be an integral part of the creative process.