Upload & Sell: Off
Thanks for the many thoughts you shared John, I did end up going down to get some test prints today. Here's a few things that came out of this exercise:
1. Even though sending out to lab and having the images show up at your doorstep is great, i will definitely be printing local. It's great to be able to compare what I'm seeing on my screen with what the final print is going to look like with someone who is calibrated from monitor to printer. It's also great to be able to sit down with someone who prints day-in-and-day-out to give you feedback on your images.
2. I need to get my monitors calibrated. I was actually really close in color, but i turn my brightness pretty high up when editing. In the short term, I'd be ok if I turned my brightness low on my monitor, but I will get myself calibrated.
3. For those of you who were wondering: the printer producing my prints is an epson 9890
4. Quoting John:
John Wheeler wrote:
b) Rule of thumb is that even though there are those that will squish there face close to an image (just as there are those that will critique there images through pixel peeping) a common viewing distance for an image is about the same distance as the diagonal of the image.
There's definitely NO place to hide when you print big. We tried a 45" print of one of my images (here's the link to the image by the way.) The original dimensions are 5510x2204. It was shot with a canon 5dii and a 17-40 f/4L. It looked pretty good, but the focus is just a little off (it actually may be motion blur as I was on a dock). It actually looked pretty good, but looking at it, I think that particular image should be on canvas rather than a photo print. I also noticed there are a couple of spots I need to heal/clone (basically lights in the distance). You don't notice them when you print the image at 8x20 (which we also did) but they are definitely distinct at 18x45.
The guy at the shop said I could print the image up to 60". I'm not sure I would do that on photo paper. I also think we could have sharpened the image a bit more to print that big.
With all that said, I'm going to head out to a local gallery and people watch to see how much inspection of images is done. How close do people really get when looking at an image?
5. In terms of answering the question "how big can I print": I think my personal answer is: it depends per image and the only way to know is what others have suggested: print a section and see what it looks like.
6. A couple of other thoughts: i'm not comfortable resizing up at this point, but that's only because i haven't tried to. Something about it just feels like it won't ever be "really" good. Also, about pixel peeping again: i'm going after the fine art market and looking to work with interior designers and art collectors. I only want to show my best images and my best images need to be the best they can be. A bit of pixel peeping (especially considering the large size prints) is warranted. I think i will be ok at 18x45 on photopaper with a sharper image - though canvas is pretty popular as well, and that will help me get to acceptable prints at large sizes.