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Making the Print

Okay, you’ve hardware calibrated your monitor (or at the very least—you “eyed it”) and you’ve set up Elements’ Color Management to use Adobe RGB (1998). You’ve even downloaded a printer profile for the exact printer model and type of paper you’re printing on. In short, you’re there. Luckily, you only have to do all that stuff once—now we can just sit back and print. Well, pretty much.

  • Step One:

    Once you have an image all ready to go, just go under the Editor’s File menu and choose Print (as shown here), or just press Ctrl-P (Mac: Command-P).

  • Step Two:

    When the Print dialog appears, let’s choose your printer and paper size first. At the top right of the dialog, choose the exact printer you want to print to from the Select Printer pop-up menu (I’m printing to a Canon PRO-1000). Next, choose your paper size from the Select Paper Size pop-up menu (in this case, a 13x19" sheet), choose your page orientation beneath that menu, and then from the Select Print Size pop-up menu (on the bottom right), be sure that Actual Size is selected. In the middle of the Print dialog, you’ll see a preview of how your photo will fit on the printed page, and at the bottom of the column on the right, there’s an option for how many copies you want to print. If you want to print more than one photo, just click the Add button below the filmstrip on the left side of the dialog. This brings up the Add Photos dialog (similar to the one you get when using the Create Slide Show feature), where you can choose from your photos in the Organizer. Select the one(s) you want and click the Add Selected Photos button. To remove a photo from the filmstrip, click on it, then click the Remove button.

  • Step Three:

    Click on the More Options button (at the bottom left) and then click on Custom Print Size on the left. Here you can choose how large the photo will appear on the page (if it’s a photo that’s too large to fit on the paper, just turn on the Scale to Fit Media checkbox, as I did here, and it will do the math for you, and scale the image down to fit).

  • Step Four:

    Now click on Printing Choices at the top left of the More Options dialog. Here you can choose if you want to have your photo’s filename appear on the page, or change the background color of the paper, or add a border, or have crop marks print, or other stuff like that—you have but only to turn the checkboxes on (you like that “you have but only to” phrase? I never use that in normal conversation, but somehow it sounded good here. Ya know, come to think of it—maybe not). Anyway, I don’t use these Printing Choices at all, ever, but don’t let that stop you—feel free to add distracting junk to your heart’s content. Now, on to the meat of this process.

  • Step Five:

    Click on Color Management on the left to get the all-important Color Management options. Here’s the thing: by default, the Color Handling is set up to have your printer manage colors. You really only want to choose this if you weren’t able to download the printer/paper profile for your printer. So, basically, this is your backup plan. It’s not your first choice, but today’s printers have gotten to the point that if you have to go with this, it still does a decent job. However, if you were able to download your printer/paper profile and you want pro-quality prints (and I imagine you do), then do this instead: choose Photoshop Elements Manages Colors from the Color Handling pop-up menu (as shown here), so you can make use of the color profile, which will give you the best possible color match.

  • Step Six:

    Below Rendering Intent, you’ll see a warning asking if you remembered to disable your printer’s color management. You haven’t, so let’s do that now. Click the Printer Preferences button that appears right below the warning (as shown here). (Note: On a Mac, once you click the Print button in the Elements Print dialog, the Mac OS X Print dialog will appear, where you can go under Printer Color Management and set it to Off [No Color Adjustment].)

  • Step Seven:

    In your printer’s Properties dialog (which may be different depending on your printer), you will turn off your printer’s color management, but you have other stuff to do here, as well (on a Mac, you will do this in the OS X Print dialog, as mentioned in the previous step). First, choose the type of paper you’ll be printing to (I’m printing to Canon Photo Paper Pro Luster). Find the Print Quality setting, choose Custom, click the Set button, then in the resulting dialog, drag the Quality slider at the top to the quality setting you want and click OK. If you have the option (usually found under Advanced Settings), be sure to set your printer options to Off (No Color Adjustment). Here, under Color/Intensity, I chose Manual, then clicked the Set button, and chose None. Click OK to save your changes and return to the More Options dialog.

  • Step Eight:

    After you’ve turned off your printer’s color management (and chosen photo quality paper), you’ll need to choose your color profile. Again, I’m going to be printing to a Canon PRO-1000 printer, using Canon’s Photo Paper Pro Luster paper, so I’d choose that profile from the Printer Profile pop-up menu in the Color Management section. Doing this optimizes the color to give the best possible color print on that particular printer using that particular paper.

  • Step Nine:

    Lastly, you’ll need to choose the Rendering Intent. There are four choices here, but only two that I recommend—either Relative Colorimetric (which is the default setting) or Perceptual. Here’s the thing: I’ve had printers where I got the best looking prints with my Rendering Intent set to Perceptual, but currently, on my Canon PRO-1000, I get better results when it’s set to Relative Colorimetric. So, which one gives the best results for your printer? I recommend printing a photo once using Perceptual, then printing the same photo using Relative Colorimetric, and when you compare the two, you’ll know. Just remember to add some text below the photo that tells you which one is which or you’ll get the two confused. I learned this the hard way.

  • Step 10:

    Now click the OK button, then click the Print button at the bottom of the Print dialog (this is where, on a Mac, you’ll choose the options we talked about in Step Six and Step Seven).

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