How do you select images to print?

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How do you select images to print?

Postby ramesh_adkoli » Sat Apr 02, 2022 5:23 pm

During a recent print meet, we discussed this question: how do we select images to print? Each of us have a plethora of images and it is tough to handpick a few to print. Moreover we are mostly not printing to sell the prints but to experience seeing our images in print. Hence this selection criteria gain significance. It would be educating for all to understand this thought process.

Please feel free to share your thoughts here.
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Re: How do you select images to print?

Postby Ganesh H Shankar » Sun Apr 03, 2022 10:22 am

This has always been a challenging decision for me. "Small web size is not doing the justice, so I want to print" is only one of the parameter for the selection, not the deciding one though!

Based on the past experience of making prints, at times I get some intuition about the nature of paper/canvas and the image I want to print. However, I often go wrong with my judgement. To reduce the cost I normally make two preliminary prints - one a small size (may be 8x10) and another a strip print in the actual size (for example 4 inches x 40 inches of the intended 60 x 40 inches print). In spite of these precautions there are other variable that comes into play. For example, viewing distance of the actual print, final presentation (matt size/gallery wrap vs. framing etc etc). So far I might have made couple of hundred prints (many of them are 30x40 inches). Even then the process remains subjective and elusive. I do understand in theory one can soft proof the image by simulating the paper's ICC profile on the screen to see how it might look on the paper. I did this when I made prints. This is only a very coarse estimate due to the difference in the nature of the two media - transmissive (displays) vs. reflective (papers/canvases).
Ganesh H. Shankar
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Fine Art Nature Photography
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Re: How do you select images to print?

Postby Shankar Kiragi » Sun Apr 03, 2022 1:53 pm

My thoughts. Sorry for the long read.

1. In film days, I used to get printed my nature/wildlife images frequently (usual size was about A3). In film photography (baring of positive films or slides) printing was the only option to see your favourite images other than seeing them on negative colour film, so these printed images were essential and proof to see for yourself or share with friends or competition etc.

2. Shoot selectively and print selectively was the way of life in film days.

3. When the professional digital photography picked up (I meant digital SLR) many photographers started viewing their images on laptops and desktops, so the need for prints (to see the quality, colour etc.) got diminished. Some printed them for competition and some for their own satisfaction.

4. Soft print media (displays, e-banners etc.) are here to stay and large population will adjust to that, which will become way of life. Only a few select populations (e.g., artists, art collectors, Museums, advertisers etc.) will go for physical Print media.

5. For me selecting an image for printing is simple. Look for favourite images and visualise the appropriate size for the specific image, subject and quality. In my opinion some images are not meant for large size beyond A2. I would like print images to share with friends & families, for display or exhibition purpose. As much as possible I choose to print images which are “different” or “unique”.

6. I would like to take advantages of the papers and their tone, texture, quality etc to bring more life to your images. I primarily focus on images and their prints to bring in additional artistic feel.

7. In my opinion, sometimes vision and touch sensory of humans required in parallel to bring in more satisfaction. Hence prints aid additional satisfaction to the photographer.

8. In future I plan to print some of my images on different texture, quality and tones of papers while maintaining the essence or sanctity of the image.
Cheers, Shankar Kiragi
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Re: How do you select images to print?

Postby Rajkumar » Wed Apr 06, 2022 8:57 am

My points are tangential as usual :)

1. Easiest way to start with some conviction for me is to select a set of images that you think represents , a theme, A thought process with which you made the set, may be even some specific way of processing and presenting . I make 5X7 prints or 8 X10 . I Post it on a wall and look at it for 2 months and see if it still makes sense. If it is too bad anyways family will get you to remove it ha ha

2. I am aware of the " Morning after syndrome" Off the printer nice. Happy. Later in the day , bit contrasty . Not Happy. Put it away . Next morning. Looks good actually. Happy....part of the journey. we all go through this . Putting on the wall and looking from a distance helps me in this

3. I have some fixed notions in the mind about a good print. That makes me look at a print as a object by itself rather than artistic output . I pulled out some darkroom prints I made many years ago. I had not liked it then. Wanted my prints to look specifically like some peoples copy. I was quiet pleased with them now. The print for me now is a artistic output that is sum total of the mood, contrast, grain, tones, toning, etc and each individual element need not be perfect overall impact matters
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Re: How do you select images to print?

Postby ramesh_adkoli » Wed Apr 06, 2022 10:42 am

Thanks Ganesh, Shankar and Raj for your thoughts. This thread is not limited to those who attended the print meet. It is open to all who have faced this question at some point in time. Just wanted to clarify that...
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Re: How do you select images to print?

Postby ramesh_adkoli » Wed Apr 06, 2022 10:46 am

My approach to image selection to print has been varied over time:

1. During initial days, I chose images from my favorites to print. My intuition was the guide. Essentially I wanted to see my images in print. And, I enjoyed looking at them. Obviously not all images that looked great on the monitor looked great on print.

2. When I did a solo exhibition or when a corporate bought some of my prints, I worked with a theme. Having a theme helped a lot in selecting or rejecting the images. Even now, I feel this is the best way to approach image selection to print.

3. When I bought a printer, my aim was to learn printing and to try different papers. For this, I needed a different approach to select images. Instead of aesthetics, I used more technical criteria such as high contract, wide tonal range, high key, low key, heavy textural details, black & white, color etc. I also tried printing at various sizes. This approach helped me learn the art and craft of printing and how different papers rendered.

4. Now that I am past that stage of evaluation, I am at crossroads. Selecting disparate images for one off prints is very hard for me. I think I will fallback on setting a theme even if I print a handful of images at a time.

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