Getting the best from your images, find out more!

Photographers - Getting The Best Out Of Your Images...

When dealing with colour it really can be a minefield - As a professional, you will know this. You have probably set up your image workflow to suit your desktop proofer or inkjet printer, or maybe it is that you send your images to a colour lab to get your printed...We strongly recommend you read this page in full if colour accuracy is important to you.

In any case not all printing methods are the same and your images should be formatted correctly for each method,  Commercial printing is no different so read on how to set up your images correctly for commercial printing.

Preparing your images correctly can see the best results from your images when printing a calendar commercially. A few golden rules that you can follow to get the best out of your images and get a print result that resembles what you see on your screen. If you get your images right before they go in, then they should come out correctly at the printing stage.

Important to Remember:

It is very important to remember that we print in CMYK and not RGB and really you should be using this format when placing your images into our designer studio - Adobe lightroom does not allow you to change to this format either so you will need to use a program like adobe photoshop to convert to this format.


Using Adobe Lightroom:

Ok, we mention above that lightroom does not deal with CMYK images, so if you are using this software you really need to make sure that you format your images in either the Adobe1998 profile or the sRGB profile. Whatever you do DO NOT choose to format your images in the ProPhoto profile - this profile is NOT suited to commercial printing and will provide undesirable results. If you do not change this profile you will expect to see your colour change dramatically when printing from what you see on screen.

IN ALL CASES OF USING LIGHTROOM, IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO CONVERT YOUR IMAGES TO CMYK THEN EXPECT A COLOUR CHANGE, IMAGE SATURATION OR COLOUR CAST TO OCCUR ON YOUR IMAGES.

We cannot be held responsible for the inaccuracy of colour printing if you supply your images this way, we strongly urge a printed proof to be ordered if you are worried about colour in any way. - We recommend you format your images using the photoshop method below to achieve better results.


Using Adobe Photoshop:

Make sure your colour settings are correct, to set up your colour setting, go to the EDIT menu and choose > Colour Settings. In this menu you have the choice of presets, your best choice for UK commercial printing is to choose EUROPE PREPRESS 3 - this will adjust your ICC profile to the coated Fogra39 profile for CMYK images which is what we use when printing.

  • Once you have set up this you can then start to open your images and then convert to the CMYK format.
  • To convert your images, use the Image Menu header and choose > Mode > CMYK. By selecting this your image will then be converted to the correct colour space for printing.
  • It is at this point you should then adjust your colours and or balance/saturation and what you see on screen should then resemble what gets printed.
  • Also, make sure you have the correct resolution for printing, this is 300dpi for optimal printing.

Save your images as JPEGs in this format and then use them in your online designs. Jpeg format help keeps the file size down for creating your calendars online. You cannot upload a TIFF file when designing online so saving in this format is the best way to go.


DIGITAL PRINTING - What you need to know...

We print our calendars using DIGITAL printing equipment. This uses EA vegetable-based toners which are then fused to the paper.

The colour is made up of 4 colours (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) toners which SIT on top of the paper then get a hot roller process fusion to the paper. This results in a more vibrant print, some people may say this is oversaturated, however, it is not, it is simply because we do not use a wet ink printing method which can dry back and dull down as the ink seeps into the paper. There is no dry back with digital print so your prints stay lush and vibrant.

As a recommendation we always say if colour is important to you then get a printed proof - this can save a lot of money in the long run if you are conscious of how your calendar is going to be printed and the colour output.


CMYK vs RGB - Just what exactly can happen?

OK, so now you know that your images will print differently based on what format and colour space you use, it would be worth showing you how this affects your images.

Shown here is an image formatted in sRGB and is lovely and vibrant, and then the same image shown converted to CMYK. You will see the image has lost some of its colour when converted to CMYK - this is because the CMYK spectrum of colour cannot match the same spectrum that RGB can reach.

So, we say that after conversion to CMYK format, then tweak your colours to suit your needs. By converting to CMYK you will get a more accurate print to screen result.

If you leave your images in RGB and then we print them, the printer automatically converts the images during the process to CMYK, based on what's going in it tries to replicate this as best as possible - the result of this is a more vibrant and perhaps oversaturated image than you were expecting as the file should really be CMYK and not RGB.

As a recommendation we always say if colour is important to you then get a printed proof - this can save a lot of money in the long run if you are conscious of how your calendar is going to be printed and the colour output.

But My Screen Shows My Images How I Like Them...

Yes, of course, ...its YOUR screen, you are used to this, and you accept this as being CORRECT - but as equipment is all different, as lighting and ambient environments who is to say your screen is 100% colour accurate over the screen in your conservatory room, or the HD screen on your friends tablet or phone in their garage - which one is right? The image here shows just how different things can look, which one is correct.......Neither - the printed proof is correct.

This is a massive topic and we cannot go into it -but quite frankly you cannot rely on what you see on your monitor to be 100% correct. We calibrate our monitors here to match what we see on screen to what comes out from the printer.

We can do this as we have a start point (screen) and an endpoint (print) but we cannot convey that to you with an email proof. You must get a  printed proof to show the final output in all cases if colour is important to you.

So the Final Outcome?

We mention it quite a bit here, if you are in any way conscious of colour or expect a specific output based on what you see then you really should be ordering a printed proof. We offer different levels of proofing, here they are explained in full:

1 - No Proof - I Accept The Printed Result:

This option is without any proofing, you assume full responsibility for your printing, Your job will get printed as is and there isn't much we can do if there is something wrong with your details or information. So colour accuracy is not covered, spelling, grammar etc - however, what is covered in the layout, if there is a printing glitch such as an image is missing off your calendar, but it's in your design studio, or there is a print defect then, of course, we rectify these issues.

2 - Email Proof

For this option, we send your file again to you after your order is placed. This file will be a low-resolution PDF file optimised to be sent by email. There will be a loss in quality for this proof and cannot be used for quality or colour accuracy - this email proof will be purely content only and is a good way of double-checking everything is ok with your file one last time before it goes to print - You CANNOT use an email proof as a colour accurate proof.

3 - Unbound Printed Proof

This means we will print your file out and proof physically. Here you will see the actual output for colour accuracy and final quality. If there is anything wrong at this stage we can then look to rectify any issues. Perhaps the colour isn't right or the quality of the images is too poor - we can then work together to rectify any issues to get the right output so everyone is happy.

4 - Full Bound Printed Proof

The same as above, but here we fully finish your proof into a final item, so any calendar binding and punching will be included showing the final product exactly as it's going to be produced.