Reader questions today:

I was searching your blog to see if you had anything with output sharpening for printing from LR2 and did not come up with anything. I have read or been told at one point that you want to do some over sharpening of your images when you go to print them to compensate for the process of putting ink to paper and having that ink spread?

Is this something to worry about, and if so any suggestions for settings?  I have the basic LR2 sharpening output features and the mogrify add on has some output sharpening options as well.

There are two reasons you may need to sharpen images.

  1. “In-image sharpening”: a DSLR has an anti-moiré filter in front of the sensor which unfortunately blurs the image a little. A little sharpening (edge detecting) afterward helps bring back the optimum sharpness. Usually not a big worry.
  2. Output sharpening: Plus, when you decrease an image in size – e.g. to bring back a full-size images to 1024×768 size for your iPad, or to 800 wide for an email – you lose sharpness. Sharpening brings back the original sharpness.

Good news: if you use Lightroom, this is taken care of.

If you want additional in-photo sharpening (type 1), select this in DETAIL in the Develop module.

And if you want output sharpening (which as you correctly surmise, you do!), just select “standard” when producing your output or print (and select what the image is for). It is in the export and print dialogs. Lightroom automatically takes care of the right amount of sharpening, given the output parameters. This is really very clever. In the Photoshop world this was a lot more work.

Another thing I have heard was that for guys like me who don’t have an expensive printer at home, you can download or get printer profiles form local printers and adjust your images accordingly so you can see how they will turn out from their printer.  Any experience on this subject.

Yes, and it is true. For anyone. Download, install, and use the right printer profiles for whatever printer and paper combinations you use. Check with your printer and your paper manufacturers!

Printing is black magic – but once you have a certain print type –  printer – paper combination sorted out it will always work.