Organization for Printing


Today’s Question: For photos that you may want to print again, do you save them in a collection? Do you save them as raw or TIFF? Do you print from Lightroom [Classic] or Photoshop?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t personally organize photos specifically for printing, but that is in part because I don’t tend to print the same image multiple times. That said, for situations where you want to track photos based on printing I would recommend using a keyword for that purpose. When I do print, I prefer to use Photoshop rather than Lightroom Classic. This workflow leads to a TIFF (or PSD) image in addition to my original raw capture, with the raw capture still being alongside the derivative image in Lightroom.

More Detail: For me personally, I select photos for printing based on a “favorite” status from a particular tip. So, for example, I would typically browse the folder containing photos from a particular trip, and then filter based on star ratings. That would enable me to easily locate photos that I want to print.

Generally speaking, I only need to print a photo once, as I don’t really offer prints of my photos for sale. So if I needed to print a photo again in the future, I would generally just browse for that photo.

For photographers who tend to print more frequently, such as when selling prints of their photos, it can be very helpful to use a method of identifying which photos are intended for printing. In this type of situation I recommend using what I often refer to as a “fake” keyword, meaning a keyword used for a purpose that is somewhat beyond the typical intent.

For example, you could assign the keyword “Print” to photos you have printed (or intend to print in the future). You could obviously then search for photos based on the “Print” keyword, or filter the photos in a particular folder. In addition, you could create a Smart Collection based on the “Print” keyword, so that all photos containing that keyword in metadata would be included in the Smart Collection.

As for the actual printing workflow, my preference is to use Photoshop rather than Lightroom Classic for the actual printing. While Lightroom provides all of the key features needed to produce great prints, it doesn’t enable you to exercise fine control over sharpening for print, and doesn’t provide any preview of that sharpening effect. This is the primary reason I prefer to print from Photoshop, where you can exercise much greater control over the sharpening for photos you’ll be printing.