Like the title says, I have a project in mind that I envision as a book in the end. I'm using a Z6 with a variety of lenses, from the kit lens to a few F-mount prime lenses (I'll have to use the FTZ adapter).

What should I be doing to ensure the best quality in my final prints?

  • Steps I should take in-camera?
  • Steps I should take in Lightroom?
  • Specific color profiles I should use?
  • Steps I should take when sending the images off to a printer?
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What I find is that the more I print the more I am able to visualize the print when looking at a scene in the real world. That’s not new with me. That’s what Ansel Adams taught back in the 20th century...that printing is a craft and the printing process can be considered a creative act. Considered part of the photographic art. It involves test prints and iteration. Book making (of the non-gambling sort) is another craft gained by experience and another art requiring iteration. It’s not a bunch of settings. It’s making and judging. Do you have a printer? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 3:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Each of these sub questions is incredibly broad. Even separated into a different question for each, each one would probably still be too broad. It would take a substantial tome to completely answer your question. It's way too broad for this format. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 9:36

2 Answers 2


I am basing my answer on this

I envision as a book in the end.

So my first recommendation is beyond the technical elements you are asking for.

1. Frame a bit wider than the frame you like.

A printed book normally has a different proportion than a 3:2 sensor.

A designer could choose to maintain the proportion of the photo if showing the full image is important.

Or in some cases, the photo can be cropped to give the final product a specific style.

But probably the final design wants to use the photos on a double-page.

Sometimes the background can be extended by copying it if there is not enough, in the case of flat surfaces.

But in some cases, you can not, for example when the background is organic, like some clouds.

Framing a bit wider will give more flexibility when designing the final product.

2. Try not to burn whites

In commercial print the transition from pure white to some sort of color is more pronounced than on screen, so keep that in mind.

3. Configure the camera's profile to Adobe 1998

Although you should shoot in raw, configure the color profile to adobe 1998 if your camera has it. This will embed the profile to the JPG files.

4. Calibrate your monitor (have a good monitor btw)

Buy a device to calibrate your monitor, either a DataColor Spider or an Xrite one are good options.

5. A more in-depth calibration also involves the room you are working in. The maximum brightness of the screen (white) should match an illuminant on the same room to view prints. But this is a bit out of the scope.

6. Use a CMYK profile to preview the result

When you export an image from lightroom this will be RGB and use Adobe1998 color profile. But previsualize it on Photoshop simulating a CMYK one. People recommend Fogra 39, but it has a TOC too high, I recommend an older one Like Swop v2. The colors that can be printed are duller than the monitor.

But DO NOT CONVERT them to CMYK, you should send them in RGB with the AdobeRGB profile. The conversion is one of the final steps of the design process.

Steps I should take when sending the images off to a printer

7. You do not send a photo for a book to a printer, you send it to the designer of the book.

He must have a color-calibrated workflow and work with him so you can see on the monitor the look of the images.

When the files go to the printer he should return to you an inkjet proof with a small difference from the final product. There is always a difference to some degree, but professional people will provide reasonable printed proof.


Steps in Camera

Just make the picture. Consider using JPG because JPG is a standard format between devices like cameras and printers. RAW isn't.

But in general, the main thing to do with the camera is to visualize how you plan to print. This is not new with me. Ansel Adams taught previsualization back in the 20th century. Doing so changed the way people are able to talk about photography. Adams' three classic works, The Camera, The Negative and The Print are as relevant today as they were then. Modern technology just makes it easier to ignore them.

Steps in Lightroom

Turn down the brightness of your monitor. It will do more for your prints than anything else you can do. Your monitor is probably too bright. It has more dynamic range than a print. It emits light rather than reflecting it.

Use a white background to perform your edits. This will close down your iris and better simulate the dimness of a print.


Use the defaults. Reduce the number of variables in the process. This will make pre-visualization with the camera easier. It will make your experience more consistent. Consistency will accelerate your learning.

Sending pictures off to a printer

Just select print from the menu. Owning a printer and printing regularly is the best way to learn the process from end to end. In part because there is one less variable. In part because the feedback loop is tighter. Sending prints off for a service to print means hours at least, days in the average best case, and more than a week in ordinary cases.

There are printers as in people who print and will walk you through the process and run test prints and make adjustments to express your intent. That experience probably costs more money than buying a printer and figuring it out yourself.

A printer, for someone who prints, is an important piece of photography gear. Just as a darkroom and enlarger was for film photographers. Control of the process comes from doing it yourself or from paying someone else enough to really care. If you shop for prints on price, don't expect anyone to care.

Having your own printer means you can spend hours or days getting a print right. Or hours or days making lots of little prints of lots of different things to help with your pre-visualizaton.

Closing remarks

There's no shortcut. Except turning down the brightness on your monitor. Otherwise printing is an experimental process. Just like everything else in photography. The simpler you make the process of setting up and running experiments the more you will learn.

Your question is about workflow. The only way to develop a workflow is to do some work, evaluate the results, and consider ways to improve the process.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a link to Ansel Adams previsualization? Sounds interesting to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Arji
    Commented Nov 20, 2020 at 13:45

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