This was a HUGE one and so many things to touch upon since there was a ton of technical stuff to learn but I will briefly go through what I consider the most important bits…
Let’s start off with colour!
First off, it is really important to have your monitor (or viewing devices) colour calibrated. But what does that mean? In simple terms it means to have your devices display colours in the most accurate way possible. Why? You want to see what view something exactly the way it will be printed right?
From an article from PetaPixel (https://petapixel.com/2014/12/16/photographers-introduction-color-color-space-monitor-calibration/)
“The first thing you need to understand is Color Space. Which basically stands for the range of colors utilized. Every Color Space has a Color Gamut which is basically the amount of colors in a color space. Every color space is different and will give you different results. You may have heard the term Adobe RGB 1998, sRGB, or ProPhoto RGB before. Those are generally the most used color spaces that you’ll see when you’re working with photos.”
“If you accidentally save to the wrong color space, you can really change people’s perception of your photos.”
So this is not all about printing but your output intent. On a site…what devices will most likely view it?
Off to something related but a different topic: Resolution
Let’s me go back to pixels. If a camera is camera is stated to capture 14.6 megapixel images. This means around 14,600,000 pixels per image (14.6 x 1,000,000).
Most printing services, and indeed your own printer, will require a certain density of pixels in the image (ppi) to be able to render an print that looks good, with smooth color transitions so you can’t see each individual pixel. Dots per inch (dpi) is a measure of spatial printing or video dot density, in particular the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (2.54 cm). As you can see DPI and PPI have to do with resolution but are 2 different things! See the chart below for printing reccommendations. PPI is for Printing and DPI is for digital devices. For printing it is typically reccommended to print at 300…you can go down to 150 (Be warned: at this resolution they will not be crisp!….but ok) but going below that your images will be pixelated or “lossy”. 72 dpi is common for use on the web….but that will change.
Lastly, but not least when it comes to printing, the paper you print it on; glossy, matte etc. All different types of paper accept ink and let it bleed differently. This affects how your image will look too. It is best to go into a print shop to see there different paper stock and an example of the same image on them to see the subtle differences.