We reveal WhiteWall’s ultimate printing guide for turning your photographs into works of art
There are many considerations when preparing an image for print. After you’ve grappled with the decision about what image you want to materialise, you need to consider paper options, the finish style (matt or glossy), print size – and this is even before you start looking into technical elements such as colour profiles and framing options. Printing and framing photographs are a real art form from start to finish, and they can be fully achieved with the help of WhiteWall. Not only does WhiteWall have over a thousand product options available on its website, its prices are competitive and products are crafted to a gallery-ready standard, meaning your photograph is a work of art by the time it reaches your door.
With WhiteWall’s service purely online, its website is easy to navigate to find out about all the products. Despite having so many options they have broken each section into smaller sections so you can be guided to find what will suit your needs best. When it comes to choosing the right product, if you find it overwhelming then begin by ordering one of WhiteWall’s sample kits so you can feel the texture and weight of each product in your hand. After all, if you’re going to invest in a print (especially one that is larger in scale) you want to get it right. WhiteWall offers standard photography sizes and can cater for custom-sized prints. WhiteWall also produces custom-sized mountings and framings. Speak to the WhiteWall customer service team if you have a particular need.
If you need a nudge in the right direction one of the most popular papers for black & white fine art photographers is the Ilford Baryta. The paper gets its name from the chemical it’s coated with – barium sulfate, also known as baryta. The process works by first using a cutting-edge LightJet laser process to expose the print, followed by a traditional silver halide developing, fixing and washing process. This desirable and durable black & white paper not only stands the test of time, but it also ensures the whites in your print are brilliant and the blacks deep for a perfect contrast.
If colour photography is more your style, then another paper worth looking at for its advanced qualities is ultraHD print (that uses Fuji Crystal Professional Archive Maxima paper). By undertaking a revolutionary exposure process using a solid-state laser, WhiteWall can bring even the minutest details to life, crystal clear and razor sharp. It’s these extra steps that WhiteWall takes to ensure its products and equipment are at the cutting edge of technology and ready to take your images to the next level.
Once you’ve chosen your paper and printing technique it’s time to ensure your image is ready for the lab. WhiteWall accepts both JPG and TIFF file formats, and if you haven’t made any image adjustments for printing then WhiteWall has an ‘Automatic Image Optimization’ option at the shopping cart stage. When selected, WhiteWall runs an automatic brightness and contrast enhancement tailored to your image, as monitor displays are often very bright, meaning photo prints can often appear darker or less colourful in comparison.
4 ways to prepare your images for printing
WhiteWall’s Product Manager, Jan-Ole Schmidt, shares his helpful tips and tricks on effectively preparing your photos for printing
1 Resolution and file format
For optimal production, use the highest resolution available and don’t scale your photo up or down. Don’t worry about whether the resolution is too low: the WhiteWall configurator only offers sizes the resolution of your photo is sufficient for. Ideally, you don’t want to compress your image at all. Save it with 8-bit colour and an sRGB colour space. Whether you use TIFF or JPG format, you can upload multiple pictures up to 1GB in size at once.
2 Colour and brightness
WhiteWall can optimise your file for the best possible quality. Keep in mind that colour and brightness can appear different on a monitor compared to on a print. There are two reasons for this. First, a monitor is illuminated and paper is not. Hence a monitor can display a photo as being much brighter than what the photo actually is. The second reason is that different papers have their own base tone, meaning a pure white will look different from paper to paper, affecting the overall brightness and colour.
3 ICC colour profiles for soft proofing
If you have a calibrated monitor, ICC profiles are the perfect way to assess how your pictures will look on a specialised product. At WhiteWall, you will find downloadable ICC colour profiles for many product options (see bit.ly/2vYhnHU).
4 Test prints
For those who don’t have a calibrated monitor, WhiteWall offers a hard-proof option for all its different papers. For a lower price, you can order a watermarked test print on the paper of your choice, which lets you see how your picture actually looks on that paper.
WhiteWall is one of the world’s top and biggest online photography labs based in Frechen, Germany. It ships bespoke printed products worldwide, including to the UK. WhiteWall offers a large range of services to photographers and consumers, with the latest advanced printing techniques and highest quality results.
Find out more at www.whitewall.com/uk or follow their social media at www.facebook.com/WhiteWall and Instagram @whitewall_lab.4