Select the Right File Format
The file format you choose for printing determines how your image will look. JPEG is the most used, but others, such as TIFF and PNG, achieve better results. TIFF is the best for printing photographs but not for vector images. To print vector images, you need to save them in an EPS format. Remember that the larger your image’s file size and resolution, the better quality it will be when printed.
TIFF, a raster format, works better when printing photographs because of its lossless compression. It preserves all the data from the original image, ensuring a superior print. If you plan to use photo printing services, they may require TIFF images or PNGs.
sRGB or Adobe RGB are the two main color profiles. Most websites and printers prefer sRGB, the most commonly used profile for digital images today. It produces brighter images and has a smaller color space than Adobe RGB. Consider the profile before you export your image to ensure the colors look consistent in print.
Remember that most printers can only handle a small color range. Therefore, if you’re working with images containing a lot of colors and gradients, they might look less vibrant when printed. To avoid dull, washed-out images, avoid using large color gradients and reduce the saturation.
Store the Images as 8-bit
You probably hear the terms 8-bit and 16-bit but don’t know what they mean. A bit is the number of tones present in each color. 8-bit images are the standard for most digital printing. These files display 256 colors, while 16-bit images have about 65,536 colors.
16-bit files are best for editing because they allow more tonal range and color detail. However, they’re incompatible with digital printing services as printers need 8-bit files to make sharp prints.
Check your image’s bit depth before sending it for printing. If it’s 16-bit, you must convert it to 8-bit before exporting. The best way to do this is in editing software. They allow you to adjust the image’s shadows and highlights without losing too much color detail.
Choose the Right Resolution
The term resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. The higher the resolution, the better quality your print will be. Generally, when printing, you should use images with a resolution of at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). Lower resolutions produce poor prints or distorted images. If you’re printing posters, aim for a resolution of at least 350-400 dpi.
Most monitors have a resolution of 72 dpi. The image you see on the screen may not look as sharp when printed. It will lack the same level of detail and sharpness. To prevent this, adjust the resolution before printing to ensure that your prints look as good as the digital image. Print a sample before sending it for large-scale production to ascertain it looks good before committing to a full print run.