Proofing - Things to Keep in Mind

When choosing an image for print, there are a couple things to look out for that will influence the results of the print. Some of these things will make a big difference in how something turns out. If you are able to go over your image and assess these elements before hand, it can help you make the right decision in print size or product type.

First of all, a great tool for assessing the resolution of your image is our Photo Quality indicator in the Photo Editor. This is an excellent starting point for determining the resolution quality of your image for the specific size you have chosen. It is important to note, however, resolution is not the whole story when it comes to assessing quality. The resolution of your photo may be rated 'Excellent' but if the image was not captured in focus, or the photo is dark or desaturated, the Photo Quality scale will not be able to detect this, nor will it reflect in the rating. Also, if the resolution of your image is altered from its original level (the resolution that was produced by the camera), the Photo Quality rating will not be an accurate reflection of the true resolution of the image. The Photo Quality rating is a starting point, but considering other factors when assessing the quality of your image is essential.

The next thing to keep in mind is how you are viewing the image. Are you assessing the quality based off of how it looks on your phone screen, or on your computer monitor that has not been calibrated? If so, the image will very likely appear much more saturated and with higher contrast that it is in actuality. Monitors fresh out of the box will be calibrated for web viewing, and not print proofing, and will therefore have their brightness and contrast cranked up significantly. As well, when proofing an image on a screen, you are seeing the image backlit, on the screen illumination. With backlighting, subtleties will appear more stark or defined, whereas in print, a medium that is not backlit, such details will not be so obvious.

If you are working on a calibrated monitor, your print will be much closer to what you see on your screen. That being said, there may still be differences. There is no universal standard for monitor/print calibration. Every vendor will calibrate their system in a way that works best with the nuances of their practice and equipment. Exact calibration of a screen is only possible when both the monitor and printer are in the same location, where test prints can be produced and small adjustments can be made for exact matches. If you are looking to get an exact match in your print, it is best to seek the services of a pro-lab, where you can visit them on site, and proof your image on their calibrated monitor, get test prints, and make adjustments for the final product. This is a different service than a web-to-print platform.


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