Outline of the Print Prep Stage

■ Saving the edited image - You have been working on your image for a couple hours now, and before you rush into printing the image, save it. The printing process involves several steps that alter your image in ways that are specific to a particular size or paper type. Save the file as a Photoshop file to keep all of the edit and layers.

■ Flatten the image - Once you have saved the file, it is no longer necessary to have all those layers; and it is generally best to sharpen on a flattened image file.

■ Determine the print parameters - You need to determine the printer, paper, and print size that you want for this image.

■ Crop the image (if appropriate) - Often the final print needs to match a particular aspect ratio (i.e. 8 X 10 or 5 X 7). If you need to match a specific height and width, then you will likely need to crop the image to fit.

■ Resize the image - Resize the image to the target print size (i.e. 8" X 10") and the appropriate printer resolution.

■ Sharpen the image - Digital images generally improve with a modest amount of sharpening. I always sharpen right before I print.

■ Print - Make sure you have the printer driver set to the optimal settings for your particular paper; print.

■ Save the print file - If you like the results, save the print file; this file is specific to a particular print size and paper; if not, go back to the file you saved in the first step and continue editing.

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