I have had the privilege to encounter many books on the art of photographic printing, but never have I found one so succinct and to the point about what is needed to create great prints. Fine Art Printing for Photographers is that book. Its subtitle, Exhibition Quality Prints with Inkjet Printers, is quite apt as it does a superb job of getting to the core of what is needed to understand and create high quality prints.
What I find is that many books on printing focus on “The Printer”. That is they focus on a specific brand of printer whether it be Canon, Epson or HP. This is a book that transcends a brand and focuses on what it takes to generate a high quality print.
Many books will tell you about dots per inch and printer resolution. Fine Art Printing for Photographers concentrates on items that will allow you to make an informed decision on what will work best for your specific needs and equipment. It describes the differing types of inkjets; Piezo, thermal, continuous flow etc. The book describes types of inks, types of paper and the effects of all of this, along with the external conditions, on the permanence of your photos.
The book is laid out in nine chapters covering printing techniques, inks and papers, CMS management, fine art workflow, fine art printers, printing packages and RIPs, black and white, image judgment and presentation.
When assessing a book to purchase I have to ask myself, does it just rehash the same things that some other author has done or is there something more to the book? One area that I seldom see addressed is paper — questions such as what is the best type of paper for what I am creating? And how will this paper work with this type of printer? When you think about it, inkjet photographic paper is as new as digital photography itself.