Printing & Matting Demo Recap

Our first “3rd Thursday” meeting on March 15th was attended by about 28 persons including 5 guests at United Christian Church. These new educational meetings are designed to be tutorials or demos by skilled photographers. Tonight we focused on quality printing and matting photographs to enter competitions.

Club President Andrew Fritz of spoke about printing your own work using professional quality ink jet printers. To demonstrate, he set up his high-end Epson printer. He also prepared a detailed slide presentation (download PDF link below) that covered types of printing systems, choosing paper and color calibration profiles to achieve the best results. After the presentation, He printed an image to demonstrate the process. In preparation for the launch of a May or June NAPfS print competition, Andrew demonstrated how to easily make competition mats with foam core, tape, and store-bought or home-made mats. The print competition rules are being drafted, but Andrew proposed that members be allowed to enter a single matted print each month with a minimum print size of 8 x 10.

Presentation Notes

Here are basic points Andrew covered about printing, color profiles, and calibration of devices. You really need to view his presentation slide deck for everything he explained. I’m sure if you emailed him a question at andrew [at ], he would be happy to answer it.

Download Andrew’s Presentation Slides – NAPfS March 2018 (PDF)

  • Photos viewed on a screen and printed on paper use different color systems. Screens shine light through color (active) and print color is reflected from the paper (passive.) You must proactively edit your screen image to be printed on paper. This is an art as well as a learned skill which depends on accurate calibration of all components: camera, monitor, paper type, and printer.
  • Every digital image file uses a color profile or different color ‘space.’ AdobeRGB is just one standard specification for rendering a color spectrum. All color is interpreted. All of this requires keeping your calibration up to date by downloading output device profiles from manufacturers.
slide 1 image profile to output

Color image file profile is calibrated to each output

Color requires multiple calibrations

Every capture and output device requires calibration for accurate color rendering

  • Professional printers have 4 or more black inks. Andrew’s Epson printer has 9 ink cartridges. More expensive printers have 12 or more ink cartridges. The more ink shades the smoother the range of tones produced by the printer. Printers need to be used often otherwise the inks might dry and clog the cartridge jets. Purchasing your own printer and calibrating it to your monitor and paper gives you that extra personal control over your printed image quality.
  • Printers do not have a white ink. White on your image will be the color of the paper. Therefore edit your images carefully to reduce all ‘white’ areas of your image so some tones are visible. Depending on the printer, drop your levels 5 to 10% in your software app.
  • There is an incredible variety of paper types beyond just ‘glossy’ and ‘mat’ surfaces. He recommended buying a brand’s sample paper pack, experimenting to match the image with the paper, and selecting one or two favorites so you can become proficient with your printer’s characteristics.
  • When buying his mats, Andrew liked the Aaron Brothers store at the Arboretum. (Note Aaron Brothers framing is joining with Michael’s stores.) For a competition mat, Andrew showed us how he uses special vinyl mat tape to create a ‘T-hinge’ at the bottom to fasten the mat to the top of the foam-core board. The print’s top edge is carefully taped to the back of the mat, but can be removed with a sharp utility knife so the mat can be used over again with a new print.

Next month’s 3rd Thursday meeting on April 19th will be about single, off-camera light techniques as demonstrated by Josh Baker.

Meeting Candid Photos

This month’s candid photos are by Clay Leben. If you take pictures at any meetings, please share them with us or tag them #napfs on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

About Clay Leben

I've always loved photography and cameras. Started in high school with darkroom and school newspaper; continued with college yearbook photos. I just keep going; taking photos of events around me for personal pleasure. I love capturing the moment and saving memories as "citizen journalism" storytelling. Like Cronkite used to end the newscast by saying, "And, that's the way it was!"