Image Quality

There are a number of areas that when left unchecked can spell disaster for your prints. In order to get the best possible print, it is necessary to first get the best possible image. In order to ensure the best possible result, we encourage you to check the exposure, contrast, color, sharpness, and file format of any photos before submitting to any of our ordering services. Additionally due to our high quality standards, we will often put a pause on a job if we feel the image(s) have severe issues in any of the listed areas and contact the client.

What to Watch out for, and How

Exposure is the overall darkness / lightness of your image. The most common issue we see today is an underexposed or too dark image. Make sure you look at the general exposure of your image on a fully calibrated monitor to get the best possible results. Also keep in mind that the technologies of print and screen viewing are not the same. Your monitor shows images by creating colored light while a print shows its image by reflecting existing light. Because of this key difference, the monitor will often feel much brighter than it actually is, resulting in some images coming out too dark.

Contrast is the distance between the darkest dark and the lightest light. Contrast is what makes an image feel punchy or subtle. The majority of issues in contrast are a result of not enough of it. If you don't have enough contrast, your print will look washed out or "Blah." If this is the case with you, you may want to try increasing the contrast a little. A great way to see if your contrast is reasonable is to look at the histogram.

Color can be a difficult problem to identify if you aren't used to looking for a cast. A color cast can occur if your white balance in your camera is not set correctly. It is evident when you see an image that for some reason looks too yellow, blue, red, or green. You can use the Auto Color feature in photoshop to fix most color casts. Another great way to eliminate color casts is to use the white, neutral and black point droppers in the levels command. (use the white one on your brightest white, the black one on your darkest black, and the grey one on a color that should be neutral.)

Sharpness defines how well the finite details in your image can be seen. The two most common issues in image sharpness come from Blur. The first is camera shake blur, and the second is focus blur. Camera shake blur (caused by camera movement during the image capture) can be eliminated by using a tripod, using a faster shutter speed, and with the Mirror Lockup feature in most DSLRs. Focus blur is caused when your camera focuses on the wrong subject. It can be eliminated with a little practice and knowledge on how the focusing in your camera works. See your camera manual or visit the camera manufacturer website for your specific model.

File Format and Compression is also very important when printing your images. If using one of TPTs online ordering systems, it is suggested that everything submitted be in 8 bit, jpeg format at the highest quality (usually 100 or 12, Highest or Best, depending on software). This setting is usually found in two places: In your camera, and when you are trying to save your image. To change your cameras jpeg compression settings, see your manual or camera manufacturers website. When saving, always select the highest quality possible for jpeg images. If you want a little more out of your image, we accept any common format (PSD, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, DNG, CR2, NEF, etc), 16 bit, and any common colorspace (sRGB, Adobe RGB, ProPhoto, etc) via our Web Upload. Note: upload fees may apply.