Preparing print files to send to a lab

You can very effectively use Lightroom to generate print-ready files for printing by a lab.

All photographic print labs accept jpg files for output. Lightroom's Print module has controls for you to save out jpg files using the current print layout and settings, instead of spooling the job to your own printer.

Perform the workflow steps as usual, up to the point where you are setting the options in the Print Job panel.

Draft Mode Printing

File Resolution

^ Print Sharpening :

Media Type:

JPEG Quality

Color Management


Rendering Intent :

Figure 6-45

Then, set the popup menu for Print To: jpeg File; see Figure 6-45.

Print Job

JPEG File ~

Custom File Dimensions:

sRGB * Relative -

Print Sharpening: check the box to enable output sharpening, and use the popup menu to select the amount of sharpening to apply.

Media Type: choose the kind of paper to be used: Glossy or Matte. (If you're printing on semi-gloss, satin or "luster" paper, choose Glossy.)

jpeg Quality: I strongly recommend you always use Quality set at 100 for making jpg print files.

Custom File Dimensions: this lets you specify a size for the print file. This option provides the ability to produce print files at different sizes from a single print layout, but in practice, this is rare. If you've done your layout carefully, you most often won't need to enable this. Otherwise, type to enter the new dimensions here, and Lightroom will resize your printed output as the jpc files are being created.

Color Management: try to get a printer profile from your lab. Select the Edit... option to add it to the list using the instructions above. You need to know what kind of machine the lab is using to make your prints. If you are having laser prints made (Lambda, LightJet, Frontier, Chromira, etc.) you can safely use srgb. If you are having inkjet prints made, it's ok to use Adobe rgb.

Ask your print vendor for a list of specifications to guide your decisions when making these settings.

When the correct settings have been entered, click the Print to File button. Lightroom will prompt you to choose a location to save the files. When you're ready, click Save. Lightroom will output jpc file(s) for each page of your print job After you get the prints back from the lab, you can decide for yourself whether it's worth saving these files for future use. (Because it's so easy to make print files from Lightroom, I usually don't.)

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