There are two ways to turn your digital image into a printed masterpiece using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Option 1: Deliver a properly prepared file to a professional photo lab and have them print it out for you. Option 2: Do all the hard work yourself and then print out the image using your own inkjet photo printer.
Photoshop Lightroom’s Print Module is great for those who want to pursue Option 2 using their own inkjet printer but I prefer to hand the hard work off to a professional lab. Option 1 though, preparing print-ready files using Lightroom’s powerful Export Dialog and then delivering these files to a professional photo lab,
is my choice since I do not own an inkjet printer.
After many years of frustration, and a whole lot of wasted ink and paper, I have decided that working with a photo lab is the easiest way for me to get top-quality results with minimal effort. Once you build, and save, the right Export Presets preparing files for delivery to a professional lab is incredibly fast and easy. But there is a catch.
The catch is that no photo lab knows how to crop your images for you. Cropping is an essential part of the printing process. Fortunately, cropping to the appropriate ratio is easy once you understand how Lightroom’s Crop Overlay Tool works.
Preparing Files For Photo Lab Printing Using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Steps:
- Completely enhance your image using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s Develop Module and any other image editing software. Fix everything that needs improvement until your image looks perfect.
- Decide on the size of print that you would like to order from your lab. Reduce this paper size to a ratio. A 4″x6″ print, for example, is the product of a 2:3 ratio. An 8″x10″ print is the product of a 4×5 ratio. We need know the ratio of paper width to height to see if it matches up with the ratio of your original capture.
- If the ratio of the paper and the ratio of original digital capture match then we can skip cropping to fit the intended output paper size. If the ratios do not match then we will need to use Lightroom’s Crop Tool to fit part of your image within the boundaries of your target paper size. Cropping with the appropriate fixed aspect ratio helps to ensure that you get the right shaped image back from your photo lab.
- We need to to create a copy of your image that is ready for your photo lab using Photoshop Lightroom’s Export Dialog. This print-ready file should be sized appropriately to fit your paper choice and it may also need a new filename, a new color profile, and the appropriate type of output sharpening. This step really easy once you have build elegant Export Presets for your common print sizes.
- Deliver the print-ready file to your photo lab along and wait for them to do all the hard work.
- Hang the finished product on the wall and enjoy!