How To Edit Photos For Print

Hey pixels! In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to professionally edit your photos for print using Adobe Photoshop. There are so many different ways you can edit your photos for print. But in this video tutorial, I will be showing you a super easy 5-step method, that I use when I edit my photos for print. Watch the video below!

Step #1: Choose Your Image

First, choose an unedited image that you would like to prepare for print. Open up this image in Adobe Photoshop. We want to make sure we’re editing our photo non-destructively. That’s why, we’re going to duplicate the original image layer and use this layer to make our edits while still keeping the original image intact.

Step #2: Adjust Levels

Now the first edit we’re going to do is to adjust the photo’s levels.  Adjusting the photo’s levels adjusts the intensity levels of the images shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. To do this, go the the adjustment layers panel and select “levels”. Select and drag the highlights slider where the histogram ends.

Step #3: Set Curves

Next, we’re going to adjust the curves in the image. This is done by adjusting points throughout the images tonal range. Select the curves adjustment layer. We’re going to be adjusting the shadows and highlights of this image. First let’s start with the shadows to set the black point within the image. Click the “black point sample” then hit and hold “option” on your keyboard. Your image is going to go white but don’t worry, we’re going to slowly drag the “shadow” slider until the image shows a solid black area. Click that black area on the image to set the black point in your image. Now, we’re going to set the highlight or white point in this image. Select the “white point sample” tool and hold down the “option” key while dragging the  highlight slider until the image shows a white area. Click the first white area that shows up to set the photo’s white point.

Step #4: Color Balance

At this point, we’ve adjusted the highlights, shadows and tones in the image. Now we can start colour correcting the image. First select the “info” panel. When your mouse hovers over the image the values for both RGB and CMYK change. Since we’re editing this photo for print, we want to look at the CMYK values. The values tell you what percentage of each CMYK ink is present in the photo. For example, if there image has too much of a yellow cast, there would be a higher percentage of Y in the image. The aim is to have an image that doesn’t have too much of one colour. In this photo, the eye dropper is telling us that the photo has a high percentage of yellow and magenta. To fix this, open the colour balance adjustment layer and add more cyan to the image to remove the red. To remove the yellow cast, add more blue to the image.

Step #5: Brightness & Contrast

By looking at the photo, you can already see the improvements we’ve made just by making three adjustments. The photo looks great, but it could be a lot brighter than what it is now. Let’s brighten up this image by selecting the brightness/contrast adjustment layer and setting the brightness to +90. I’m also going to get rid of the images harsh contrast by setting it to -50.

Step #5: RGB to CMYK

So we’ve made all of our adjustments; we’ve adjusted the photos levels, curves, colour balance, brightness and contrast. Let’s just take a moment to see the huge improvement we’ve made to our photos just using  these four adjustment layers. Now, the last thing we’re going to do is convert this RGB image to CMYK since we plan on printing out this image. To do this, we’re going to go to image > mode > CMYK. It’s going to ask to merge your layers > click “merge” and VOILA! You’re finished! Your image is officially edited and ready to be printed.

How To Edit Photos For Print via

Now It’s Your Turn!

Do you have any go to methods or tips when you edit your photos (for both print and online?) Let’s chat in the comments below!

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I'm a Content Creator, Front-End Web Developer, UI Designer, based in Toronto, Canada. I have a healthy addiction to the internet, technology, and digital media. I'm so passionate about all things design and tech that I write about it any chance I get on my blog!

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