How to Edit Photos for Print

Got the perfect photo? Want to put it up in your home, office, guest bedroom? Our guess is, you are still going to edit it a bit to turn it into a masterpiece. Whether you’re a budding photographer or just someone looking to give out photo prints as gifts, it is important that you know how to prepare your images for print and display. Not every photograph is going to come out perfect. Photo editing can help bring out the best in your photographs, whether they’re going on a canvas or even just a simple postcard.

You’ll find a quick guide on how to prep your photos for print down below:

1. Calibrate your monitor

1. Calibrate your monitor

First things first: calibrate your monitor. Not all monitors display colours the same way. Some are set to be warmer, some cooler. Even if your photo looks fine on screen, sometimes it would appear completely different when it’s actually printed.  Calibrating your monitors will ensure that the colours being displayed are accurate, and as close as possible to what will be eventually printed.

2. Choose your best photos

2. Choose your best photos

Now that you’ve calibrated your monitor, it’s time to choose your best photos. Some people can take hundreds of photos in a single session. Not all of these photos are fit for printing. Choose only the best photos from your camera roll. You can’t print all of them, after all. Once you’ve picked out the best photos, make a copy of them in a separate folder and open them in your photo editing software. 

3. Make sure the colour mode of the photo is in CMYK

Printers require you to submit your files in CMYK colour mode, as if they are in RGB colour mode, the colours will look completely different from how it looks like on screen.

4. Crop your photo

4. Crop your photo

Cut out the parts in the photo that look weird and unnecessary. It helps frame the subject matter better and improve the overall composition of the photo. If your photograph already has a good composition, there’s no need to crop your photo.

Keep in mind that cropping away a large portion of a high-resolution image, the resulting image might not have enough image resolution.

5. Resize the image and adjust the image resolution

Adjust the size of your photo according to how big you want it printed. While adjusting the size, make sure to also fix the image resolution, which will ensure that the photo isn’t blotchy or pixelated. The higher the resolution of your photograph, the more detail it can contain. 

Quick photo tip: the larger the photo, the smaller the resolution, and vice versa. When submitting files for photo canvases or even banners, the minimum resolution of the image should be at 150 dpi (dots per inch). Smaller products such as postcards and invitations require a 300 dpi resolution.

6. Make adjustments that fit your preference

6. Make adjustments that fit your preference

This step enables you to make adjustments to enhance your photo. There are no strict guidelines on how to prepare digital photos for printing at this stage. You can adjust it according to your own preference.

If your photo is too dark, you can raise its brightness. If you feel like the colours should be more vivid, raise its vibrancy. Use filters to create a cooler or warmer effect. You can also turn your coloured photos to black and white.

More advanced photo editors have the ability to seamlessly remove undesirable elements such as a ketchup stain on the subject’s clothes photobombers in the background. Some can even restore old, damaged photos or create cool special effects.

7. Save your work

7. Save your work

Once you’re done with editing your photos, it’s time for you to save your work either as .jpg or .png. These formats are best suited for printing. If you’re unsure about your choices in editing, maybe have a friend take a look at it. 

Remember: when saving your file, make sure you don’t overwrite your original photo if you choose to save your enhanced photo in the same folder.

Photo editing may be confusing at first, especially with all the buttons and photo editing jargon that comes with it. However, with continuous practice, you’ll be able to get the hang of preparing your digital photos for printing.