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  • Austin James Jackson

How to Prepare an Image For Print

If you've never printed your work, now is the time to start! Seeing a photo that you've taken in print is one of the most rewarding experiences. Whether your goal is to print small pieces for your own home, or print large artwork to sell to others, this guide will show you how I prefer to prepare my images for print.


An image I printed for a client, hanging in a bathroom.

Step 1: Load your image into Lightroom

Pull up the image you wish to print in Lightroom. It's okay if you've slightly sharpened the image already, but I'll be showing you how I prefer to go about sharpening an image for print.

Step 2: Export from Lightroom

You'll want to export your image from Lightroom as a .tiff file if your print shop allows. However, some print shops only allow .jpeg images due to size constraints. Essentially, .tiff files will always retain the same amount of detail and quality after many saves, while .jpeg files will lose quality over time after many saves. For this process, you'll only be saving the file once, so it shouldn't make a difference.

When you export from Lightroom, make sure to scroll down to "File Settings", and change the file type to .jpeg or .tiff (explained above). It's crucial that you make sure the quality is set to 100. Also, make sure you don't do any image resizing or output sharpening (we'll be doing both of these manually).

These are the settings I use when exporting an image for print.

Step 3: Load image into On1 Resize

Simply drag and drop your image into On1 Resize. Depending on which version you have, things may look slightly different, but the features should be the same. Once in On1, set the Document Size first to whatever size you'd like your print to be. Then, along the top, make sure to change the size of the image from "Fit" to "100". This makes it so that the image is true to size on your screen, meaning that the amount of zoom it shows will equal the actual size of the print. This allows you to view it at a viewing level on your computer screen when sharpening. Next, I go down to sharpening and use the High Pass sharpening filter. Adjust the slider until you feel like the amount of sharpening is sufficient. Generally speaking, I leave the protect highlights and shadows slider at the default of 20, but if you have a very bright or very dark image, you may want to play with these. These sliders allow you to keep the sharpening away from the brightest highlights and darkest shadows.

Resizing an image to 40x60 and adding High-Pass sharpening.


Step 4: Save your image, and send it off to the printer!

Once you're done with this step, you'll want to save the image. Your image should be resized and ready to print!



Printing your images is a great way to bring your work to life and liven up your home. Using these tips, you'll be able to successfully output sharpen your image for print. However, sharpening is a three part process, also including capture sharpening and creative sharpening. If you found this guide helpful to learn about print sharpening, consider picking up my latest tutorial, Sharpening for Landscape Photography, where I'll walk you through all three stages of sharpening. After watching this tutorial, you'll have all of the necessary skills to create sharp images that look great at any size.

Thanks for checking out this week's blog post, and good luck printing your images!