Retaining Layers when Saving


Today’s Question: As a follow-up question, do you flatten the image before saving it as a TIFF, or maintain the layers in case you need to make any adjustments as you refine the printing processing?

Tim’s Quick Answer: While I would save a flattened copy of the source image when sending a file for printing, I always retain the “original” version of the image with all layers intact so I can refine the image later if needed.

More Detail: When I process an image in Photoshop, I often make extensive use of layers, including adjustment layers, additional image layers for cleaning blemishes, layer masks with adjustment layers for targeted adjustments, and more. My preference is to preserve all layers for that image so I can always go back and make changes later if needed.

My original capture, of course, is generally a raw capture. I typically adjust that image in Lightroom Classic, which in many cases might be all the editing I need for a photo. However, some images require a little more work, which means sending the image to Photoshop.

I prefer a layer-based workflow in Photoshop to help maximize image quality and give me more flexibility in my workflow. I save this image as either a Photoshop PSD file or a TIFF image, with all layers intact. I can then open the image in Photoshop at a later time so I can refine those layers as needed.

When sending an image to someone else, such as for printing, they generally don’t need to have access to the layers, and I generally don’t want them to have access to the layers I used to create the final version of the image. Therefore, when preparing an image such as for printing, I will save the result as a new file with all layers flattened.