Monday , March 4 2024
This continues to be the best overall book on fine art printing.

Book Review: Fine Art Printing for Photographers: Second Edition By Uwe Steinmüller And Jürgen Gulbins

As with the prior edition of Fine Art Printing for Photographers, this second edition is filled with the same useful and wonderfully clear descriptions about what is needed to create exhibition quality prints using inkjet printers. It continues to provide the necessary information and techniques to make the most of this rapidly growing area of photography.

The turnover time of new technology has always been around every 12 to 18 months and this is about how long it has been since the first edition of Fine Art Printing for Photographers was introduced. As with the first edition, it brings to you all of the information you need to up your game in the creation of fine art prints, but now adds 60 more pages of information, to 314 pages, and has been thoroughly updated to reflect the newest printers, inks, and papers that are now available to you. Fine Art Printing for Photographers contains eight chapters and three appendixes.

Fine Art Printing for Photographers acknowledges that while there may be many ways to print photographs, this book is focused on the use of inkjet printers, and in particular, their use for the creation of fine art printing. It is expected that your expertise level is one of an ambitious amateur to professional photographer. This book does not cover pre-press techniques or commercial printing, but strictly exhibition grade photographic prints created from inkjet printers.

Chapter 1, “Printing Techniques,” covers the fundamentals of printing beginning with the basic building block: a pixel. You will learn about the terms of the trade such as pixels per inch, resolution, the different types of printing and printers available to you, and how each works. You will see the various types of inks and how they differ, and finally, what to look for in a printer and how to get the one that is just right for you.

Chapter 2, “Inks, Papers, and Print Permanence,” examines the two most important materials that go in to producing a fine art print: the paper and the ink. Although the topic of fine art papers is a hot topic, it is really the compatibility of the ink and the paper that is the key to great prints. Here you will learn about display and print permanence, surfaces, pigments, handling, and how other characteristics come into play.

Chapter 3, “Color Management for Printing,” looks at what it takes to bring the proper colors from the screen to the print. When producing color images, color management is one of the most demanding topics, and it is frequently one of the hardest to get right without the use of the proper tools. This chapter focuses on those parts in a workflow that are needed to get it right. These include the understanding of the different color models, learning about color management ICC’s, color space mapping, and device profiling.

Chapter 4, “Fine Art Printing Workflow,” now turns to preparing an image for printing. Up until now everything has focused on the materials and setting up your equipment; now you will look at how to get your image ready for printing by optimizing, scaling, and sharpening the image in Photoshop. Here you begin by focusing on the workflow beginning with basic steps of working in Photoshop to adjust brightness, working with curves, layers, and masks. Finally there is the fixing of colors, casts, and contrasts, as well as further preparations for printing.

Chapters 5, “Fine Art Printers in Practical Use,” gets down to the reality that not all of the features your printer has available to you are needed, and in fact, many times, they can cause your final images to be less than stellar. By learning how to set things up correctly, you will find it much easier to experiment to find out exactly what works for you. This chapter gives a general overview of how to set up your print settings in your application (Photoshop or Lightroom), and in your printer driver (using Epson with Mac and Windows). One of the changes in this edition of the book is that the authors offload the specific printer details to the appendix and online. This way, as printers change, so can the details.

Chapter 6, “Printing Packages and RIP’s,” shows that although you may get great results from Photoshop or other application using the standard printer driver, there may be times where you want more control on your output. This is where Raster Image Processor’s (RIP’s) come in. A RIP takes the input, and from it, produces the raster image that can be sent directly to a printer. Here you will learn when to use a RIP, what kind of RIP’s there are, when they should be used, and in general, how to use a RIP package.

Chapter 7, “Black and White Prints,” are still popular, and even though digital cameras capture in color, there are still ways to produce high quality Black and White prints using inkjet printers. While it may seem easy to print in Black and White, it is really much harder than it looks. There are a lot more variables to deal with such as the tonal qualities, inks, papers – and even the printer drivers’ qualities all must be taken in to account.

Chapter 8, “Image Evaluation and Presenting Fine Art Prints,” looks at the fact that after everything is done, your image will be evaluated and judged many times beginning with the inspection of the image from your camera all the way to final proof. You need to understand what an evaluation is, and how to make it work for you. Then, once you have the right image and it is printed perfectly, it now must be prepared for presentation. Here you will learn about how to matte and present your images.

Fine Art Printing for Photographers continues to be the best overall book on fine art printing. This is not a rehash of a printer manual nor is it just a glossy overview of printing topics. This is a fairly technical yet easily readable book about how to get the best out of your prints.

This second edition covers the advancements in printer technology including new printers, papers, and inks that are suitable for fine art printing. By off loading specific printer details to an appendix and to online sources, they have assured that you will get the most up to date information available. If you want to learn how to print high quality fine art prints the correct way using inkjet printers, then I very highly recommend Fine Art Printing for Photographers.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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