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Review: Fine Art Printing for Photographers (2nd edition)

Fine Art Printing for Photographers (2nd Edition) Fine Art Printing for Photographers (2nd edition, rocknook publishers) by Uwe Steinmueller and Juergen Gulbins, is an incredibly thorough, well-written, and interesting book about fine-art printing of digital photographs using ink jet printers. It covers all aspects of the craft and is written explicitly for the “ambitious amateur” and professional photographer.

Read on to learn more about the book and find out how you can get a free copy.

I must admit I didn’t know exactly what to expect when rockynook announced the second addition of this book. Before I received it, I’d completely missed the subtitle (Exhibition Quality Prints with Inkjet Printers). So my initial reaction was surprise followed by excitement as I scanned the table of contents.

Steinmuller and Gulbins make the case that today’s inkjet printers can deliver exhibition quality fine art prints and explain all of the details necessary to achieve that goal.

The authors devote entire chapters to the topics of printing techniques, paper and ink, color management, workflow, practical tips, printing packages and RIPs, black and white, and presentation. And they thoroughly cover each subject with a tremendous amount of detail.

For instance, the first paragraph of the first chapter (happily) explains a topic many people find confusing: the differences between DPI, PPI, LPI, and image resolution; and they explain how those measurements are related and why they are important for fine art printing. They go into similarly detailed discussions of print permanence, the effects of paper thickness and coating, color models and profiles, tonality and color tuning, black and white conversion, and dozens of other important issues. The level of detail combined with the breadth of topics is very impressive.

A great deal of attention is also placed on software workflow (primarily using Photoshop CS3) with a focus on preparing digital images specifically for paper. Topics covered include highlight recovery, contrast enhancement, sharpening, color management, black and white conversion, and more.

The authors don’t actually recommend a particular printer, as everyone’s needs and budgets are unique, but they do go into detail about things you should look for in a fine art inkjet, paper, and inks. In addition, the appendix gives a summary of many different fine art printers and papers.

Digital fine art printing is highly technical, a fact that is acknowledged and reinforced by this book. It requires a special knowledge of printing techniques, inks, papers, software and image processing. But the authors argue that the “technical nature of fine art printing should not overshadow its ability to awaken the senses.” And that “when performed optimally, your printing can achieve a richer color gamut and finer tonal gradations that with traditional book- and magazine-printing techniques.”

I learned a lot about fine art printing from this book and I recommend it to anyone serious about getting into fine art printing or improving their prints.

Want a copy of the book? Leave a comment with a valid email address. Two readers will be chosen at random on Wednesday, July 9, to receive a free copy.

Buy Fine Art Printing for Photographers at Amazon.com

This book was provided to Photodoto free of charge for review.

John Watson

John is the original founder of Photodoto, but after running it for 4 years he had to focus on different things. If you're interested in what John has been up to recently, you can check is personal blog or browse his photo blog.
  • I would love a copy.

  • We’re a photography website, and although we don’t yet print photographs, that feature is thought for the future. It would be great to have a look at this book!

  • ted shin

    big fan of rockynook books!!

  • Thanks for the review! I’d love a free copy of this book, but based on your review, if I don’t win it, I’ll be buying it. It sounds like exactly what I need right now. I just purchased my first archival quality inkjet printer, and… LOL I think FedEx just pulled up to my house with it! What timing!

  • I would like a copy too!

  • Now I’ll have to look it up as I’m just getting into displaying my work in exhibitions.

  • I’ve never owned an inkjet printer, am interested in what creative things I could do with one.

  • John Larson

    Any help that I can get with softproofing would be much appreciated.

  • Sean

    Looks like a great book – wearing a smart suit with scruffy shoes is akin to taking great photos and not understanding how to print them well. I need a new pair of shoes :)

  • rik

    ooh! ooh! definitely put me in the drawing for this one!

  • Andrew

    A copy would be excellent!

  • Hmmm… Maybe a book like this would finally encourage me to really get a good inkjet. I’ve never seen the reason to get one, but now I’ve started to think about it. Just to get a bit more control on the printing process (of course, first I’d have to learn about it ;).

  • great review- looks like this belongs on my shelf! thanks, love the site!

  • Sam

    It’s all about the print.

  • Thanks for the review. My workflow seems to work for me, but I also look forward to seeing how others do it. I’m also always on the lookout for tips around final presentation. I hope I win!

  • Deb H.

    This sounds like just the book I’ve been looking for to get better at printing to my Epson 3800. Thanks for a great review.

  • Looks like a great book, exactly what I need in fact. I’d love one of those!

  • aneeskA

    looks like the book is set for a must-have title for all the amateurs and professionals alike! can’t wait to lay my hands on it.

  • Bryan

    I checked out the first edition from the library and enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m curious as to what has been updated for the 2nd edition.

  • Paul Nahal

    A copy would be wonderful =)

  • David

    I’m interested in color management section.

  • Cindy

    This looks great! I’ve been looking at investing in a good printer and this would be a great resource!

  • This is a subject that’s had me fussing for some time now. I would love to own a copy. Fingers crossed!

  • I’ve heard good things about that book, maybe the second edition is my chance to actually read it.

  • daff

    Nice info, send me one. :)

  • Martin Tomes

    Sounds great!

  • Looks like a great book!

  • I’d love one!

  • Stew

    Please include me in the drawing.

  • Arkady

    This sounds like a great idea — I have been an “ambitious amateur” for decades, but what it comes to making prints, I have never gone beyond printing B&W at home. Having switched to digital about five years ago, I have all but abandoned hope for making prints at home… Just the fact that such a book exists gives me hope! Should I be one of the lucky winners, I’ll send you a nice print!

  • I’d like to be entered in the drawing. Sounds like an interesting and helpful book.

  • Would probably be very helpful to me at this time. Please do include me in the draw. Thank you.

  • Interesting subject, will read it with interest. Scampers off to Amazon to investigate.

  • And the winners of the random drawing are… #6 Sean Lamb and #23 Stew Turner!

    Thanks for everyone’s participation. Check back in a few days when I’ll have a review and a copy of rockynook’s “The Art of Black & White Photography: Techniques for Creating Superb Images in a Digital Workflow” to give away.

  • Thanks very much John
    I can hardly wait to see it!

    Cheers
    Stew

  • Yuval

    Great subject. Very little serious material on the web. The book might fill a required gap. Thanks!

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