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Printing Astro Images


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I'm interested in getting some quality prints of some of my better images to put on the wall and for family presents; I already produce an annual astro calendar for the family using Photobox which is very popular!  I'm thinking perhaps A1 or A2 size, either framed, poster or edge to edge?

Can anybody help with any relevant guidance:

  • Recommend printers who from personal experience print quality astro images; I've seen White Wall mentioned elsewhere?
  • What sort of file format would be best - for online I change the format to PNG and reduce the file size but maybe for a quality print a large TIFF file would be better?   
  • Format: apart from size, what sort of finish and / or material e.g. I've seen aluminum used?
  • Print type e.g. is giclee worth using?
  • How do you control or at least ensure that the colour reproduction is maintained?
  • Any other tips?

Graham

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Posted (edited)

This is not something I can really help but following the thread as I am interested in doing this myself sometime .

Only thing I can say is about the colour reproduction and I would think for a start you would need to calibrate your monitors on whichever computer you do your processing as uncalibrated monitors can vary wildly in colour. I use a monitor connected to my laptop and also a desktop with dual monitors and didn't really take much notice of the calibration of them until somebody mentioned about the weird colours in one of my images I had posted and recommended getting one of THESE. After calibrating my monitors I then saw that some of my images had awful colours so now regularly calibrate the monitors every 6 months.
So if you do not calibrate your monitors your colours may not be what you think they are anyway.

Then I don't know if this would work but I would be tempted to print out on my own printer at A4 size and if I am happy with the colours give those prints to the printer to say what hues and brightness you are expecting.

Steve

Edited by teoria_del_big_bang
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I have used https://www.my-picture.co.uk/ for wall prints on canvas and aluminium, as well as a photo album. I just uploaded my finished jpeg images (viewed on a calibrated monitor) and they came out pretty reasonable. They are not absolute top quality reproduction but their prices don’t break the bank either.

0BC3FB65-59E2-43AA-BC67-A661C382599B.thumb.jpeg.6a88324ae255242090c98df2b64291c5.jpeg

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I've also used My Picture for canvas prints, I'm currently waiting on two arriving.

The first one I had done was of the Orion Nebula and I made the image the same size as the canvas I requested and uploaded it in either TIFF or PNG, I can't remember.

I found the print was a little on dark side, compared to the image I uploaded, so this time I brightened the images a little to compensate and we'll see what they turn out like.

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12 hours ago, tomato said:

a photo album

I like the photo album approach @tomato - is that A4 size? 👍  Sounds perfect for me to look over images in print without having to find wall space (and permission!)

I've used my-picture also and got two acrylic prints done (40cmx30cm, 40cmx40cm).  I was really happy with these but I would say they benefit from good light to really show off the image. I also got some smaller MIXPIX done from the same place.

As mentioned by @Budgie1 I brightened mine a touch following advice on SGL in another thread.

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Just now, geeklee said:

I like the photo album approach @tomato - is that A4 size? 👍  Sounds perfect for me to look over images in print without having to find wall space (and permission!)

I've used my-picture also and got two acrylic prints done (40cmx30cm, 40cmx40cm).  I was really happy with these but I would say they benefit from good light to really show off the image. I also got some smaller MIXPIX done from the same place.

As mentioned by @Budgie1 I brightened mine a touch following advice on SGL in another thread.

Yes I have started putting an album together on this site, its a great idea.
So far I do not have that many images, probably about 20 since I started in 2019 so will make one up from these images. Some are not so great when i started but I think it will be good to see how I have improved over my short time in imaging and hopefully improve further.
I would love to be able to have a yearly album from now on but up North I just do not get the skies to get enough images together I do not think so may have to wait a year or two for my next album. 🙂 

Steve

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1 minute ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

I would love to be able to have a yearly album from now on but up North I just do not get the skies to get enough images together I do not think so may have to wait a year or two for my next album. 🙂 

Yeah, a calendar could be a struggle! 😊 The latter months may just have placeholder text of "TBC" (To Be Captured ! 😅)

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1 minute ago, geeklee said:

Yeah, a calendar could be a struggle! 😊 The latter months may just have placeholder text of "TBC" (To Be Captured ! 😅)

I keep thinking I should start doing some Lunar pics again as most clear nights I get it's there in all it's glory 🙂 

Although I keep joking maybe it is not such a bad idea, I might get that calendar done at least 🙂 

Steve

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, geeklee said:

I like the photo album approach @tomato - is that A4 size? 👍  Sounds perfect for me to look over images in print without having to find wall space (and permission!)

I've used my-picture also and got two acrylic prints done (40cmx30cm, 40cmx40cm).  I was really happy with these but I would say they benefit from good light to really show off the image. I also got some smaller MIXPIX done from the same place.

As mentioned by @Budgie1 I brightened mine a touch following advice on SGL in another thread.

Yes, it is A4, they were doing a deal on a 26 page hardback album at Christmas, I can't remember the price but it wasn't expensive. I had a couple of "Panavision" format mosaics which they printed across two pages, came out OK.

One word of caution, after placing my first order with them over 18 months ago I get a promo email from them nearly every day...

CaliforniaPV.thumb.jpeg.df6b3816e5e9fb1f420a144e0079c294.jpeg

Edited by tomato
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2 hours ago, tomato said:

Just had my latest promo email, you can now get your images printed on a towel!🙄

....not forgetting the cushion & mug versions! :D

Isn't there an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of their promo emails? I think I must have used it because I don't get any from them. ;)

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5 minutes ago, Budgie1 said:

....not forgetting the cushion & mug versions! :D

Isn't there an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of their promo emails? I think I must have used it because I don't get any from them. ;)

When I get these unwanted promotion emails I just click on Spam and the browser then asks do I want to unsubscribe and if I press yes it sends the unsubscribe email and then I do not hear from them again.

Steve

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You are quite right, I could avoid the emails. I suppose I tolerate them because I’m afraid I might miss a demon printing deal.

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25 minutes ago, Budgie1 said:

....not forgetting the cushion & mug versions! :D

Isn't there an "unsubscribe" link at the bottom of their promo emails? I think I must have used it because I don't get any from them. ;)

I do like the idea of an astro mug though 😀

Alan

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I've started printing my own using an Epson Ecotank ET1500. I generally found Monoeuvre to be fairly good with astrophotos but then spent a hefty sum on a large image on aluminium which came back miles out. Astrophotos, being highly stretched and having a lot of dynamic range, are particularly unpredictable - especially broadband. I now easily beat the standard of the Moneouvre prints and am happy with my prints - despite being a fussy so-and-so! The printer was expensive to buy but there's a less expensive A4 version. Mine does A3 and even extended A3. The great thing is that it uses bottled ink so running it is extremely inexpensive and not an issue. It's also possible to do a small test print to check out the result before doing a big one. I usually do this.

I also calibrate my screen with a Datacolor Spider. Colour fideltity is usually good in the print but brightness levels sometimes need adjusting, the highlights lowering and the shadows lifting. A calibrated screen will help a third party printer get a good result as, perhaps, will the adjustments I mention. I'd also ask the printer what colour settings they use. I now process in ProphotoRGB and convert this to sRGB for the internet. I print from Prophoto at home.

Olly

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the comments so far, like the album idea too but really wanting to achieve high quality wall pictures this time, which might require some experimentation first to see what works - was looking for first-hand experience of such a task.  I can say that when printing my calendars using Photobox I found that what looked OK on screen came out a bit dark and subsequently a bit of a boost to brighness and contrast to the orginal made all the difference.  Notwithstanding, I'd like to raise the game with the wall pictures, which I imagine will require a better printer + materials etc. 

Thanks for your comments Olly which are interesting.  Pardon my ignorance but what exactly do you mean by "colour settings" and how should I use this information? 

Graham    

Edited by groberts
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16 hours ago, tomato said:

Yes, it is A4, they were doing a deal on a 26 page hardback album at Christmas, I can't remember the price but it wasn't expensive. I had a couple of "Panavision" format mosaics which they printed across two pages, came out OK.

That looks great, thanks @tomato

12 hours ago, tomato said:

You are quite right, I could avoid the emails. I suppose I tolerate them because I’m afraid I might miss a demon printing deal.

🤣 I'm just the same.  I know the deals are always on, every day, but I always think I might miss one that's just the type of print I want (as they do seem to vary the very good deals vs normal deals).  For now... it only takes 2s to delete it every day 😅

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5 hours ago, groberts said:

 

Thanks for your comments Olly which are ineresting.  Pardon my ignorance but what exactly do you mean by "colour settings" and how should I use this information? 

Graham    

There are various different gamuts or colour spaces available for processing and viewing images on screen. There is no one, universal, way to combine red, green and blue so, ideally, an image should only be viewed in the 'colour space' or gamut in which it was processed by the imager. The 'best' colour spaces have the widest gamut or range of create-able colours when combining R, G and B. Many feel that Prophoto RGB is as good as it gets with Adobe RGB a good alternative. You can choose the one you want in Photoshop and, I guess, other photo editing suites. The internet standard is sRGB so you should post images in that colour space even when you have processed them in a better one. I used to keep it simple by processing in sRGB but I no longer do that. Conversion from Prophoto to sRGB is done in one click in Edit - Convert to Profile. (Be sure to use this rather than 'Assign Profile.') Photoshop etc will let you convert from Prophoto to sRGB for the version you're going to post. If you don't convert, the image may look horrendous.

Print shops must choose a colour space for your image but I don't know what they use or how they choose, which is why I'd ask.

Olly

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Well as the saying goes - you learn something new every day!

Thanks Olly, much appreciated, I feel myself going down a rabbit hole here but clearly this is a critical feature that I need to understand better.

Graham

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33 minutes ago, groberts said:

Well as the saying goes - you learn something new every day!

Thanks Olly, much appreciated, I feel myself going down a rabbit hole here but clearly this is a critical feature that I need to understand better.

Graham

A veritable rabbit warren, in fact! Since I started printing my own photos I've done the homework I should have done years ago. I'm still not sure I've got to the bottom of it.

Olly

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Some more professional sites will have dedicated 'ICC Profiles'.

These are profiles that if your image is in the correct colour space and your monitor is decent and calibrated, you can proof the image for what it would look like when printed.

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43 minutes ago, matt_baker said:

Some more professional sites will have dedicated 'ICC Profiles'.

These are profiles that if your image is in the correct colour space and your monitor is decent and calibrated, you can proof the image for what it would look like when printed.

You can, I gather, also get an ICC profile done online for your own monitor to ensure compliance with calibrated norms. I don't see myself going this far!

Olly

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The two pictures I ordered from My Picture arrived in the post this morning.

The printing is good but I have to say that the one of the Elephant Trunk came out better than the Rosette. This is strange because the Rosette image I uploaded was 2124 x 1443, where as the Elephant Trunk was from my website at only 1200 x 800.

The brightness on both is fine and so is the detail.

Taking a photo of them this evening with a mobile doesn't really do them justice, but here you go:

IMG_20220601_224507.jpg.fe022827239a8d841e8257b8712b099f.jpg

IMG_20220601_224600.jpg.15660fc4e56283881d84e33d08176624.jpg

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