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Print: printing, color management, and my elements 2020 workflow

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In this sample chapter from The Photoshop Elements 2020 Book for Digital Photographers, author Scott Kelby walks you through making color management decisions, calibrating your monitor, and getting pro-quality prints that match your screen.

This chapter is from the book

Oh sure, Scott, you want me to believe you found a song, TV show, or movie title simply named, Print. That’s awfully convenient, dontcha think? Well, my cynical compatriot, it so happens it actually is a movie (one with an 8/10 star rating no less), released in 2008, starring Gabrielle Carteris and Will Rothhaar (just because you haven’t heard of them, it doesn’t make them any less real). While it is just the most perfect chapter name you could possibly come up with for a chapter on printing, the actual description of the film (from is kinda creepy to say the least. Here’s their description: “A psychological thriller about a troubled young man who decides to kill the best-selling author he is convinced stole his life story, only the author may not actually exist.” Creepy, right? Now, I just want to say this to any of you out there reading this book: This book is absolutely not (I repeat, not) the story of your life, so there’s no way I could have stolen it from you, and thus there’s no reason for you to be troubled (especially if you’re a young man), and decide to kill me. I know when you were reading some of the previous chapter openers the thought may have crossed your mind, but I assure you, this is not an awesome idea. Here’s why: I rented Print (which, by the way, was more a 6-star movie at best), and in the movie, the best-selling author (played by a devastatingly handsome photographer from Florida, who teaches people how to use Photoshop Elements 2020) actually winds up convincing the troubled young man to buy his new Elements book, and the young man is so elated at the magic in this book that unfolds for him, that instead of plotting to kill the author, he takes a second job as a master sommelier and sends every penny he earns directly to the author (118 Douglas Road E., Oldsmar, FL 34677) as his way of showing his undying gratitude for opening his eyes to a world of post-processing secrets that dare not speak their name. See? This is the kind of movie you can really get behind—one with life lessons that inspire yourself who were once thinking of killing me, but then suddenly decided to send me all their money instead. Hey, now that I think of it, this movie easily should have won the Best Picture Oscar in 2008. They were robbed, I tell ya. Robbed!

Setting Up Your Color Management

Most of the color management decisions in Elements come in the printing process (well, if you actually print your photos), but even if you’re not printing, there is one color management decision you need to make now. Luckily, it’s a really easy one.

  • Step One:

    In the Elements Editor, go under the Edit menu and choose Color Settings (or just press Ctrl-Shift-K [Mac: Command-Shift-K]).

  • Step Two:

    This brings up the Color Settings dialog. By default, Elements is set to Always Optimize Colors for Computer Screens, which uses the sRGB color space. However, if you’re going to be printing to your own color inkjet printer (like an Epson, HP, Canon, etc.), you’ll want to choose Always Optimize for Printing, which sets your color space to the Adobe RGB color space (the most popular color space for photographers), and gives you the best printed results. Now just click OK, and you’ve done it—you’ve configured Elements’ color space for the best results for printing. Note: You only want to make this change if your final prints will be output to your own color inkjet printer. If you’re sending your images out to an outside lab for prints (or your final images will only be viewed onscreen), you should probably stay in sRGB, because most labs are set up to handle sRGB files. Your best bet: ask your lab which color space they prefer.

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