What I love about the Lightroom’s Print module is you are not limited to sending one image at a time to your printer. With a click of the print button you can send your entire Library to the printer, or if you want, or just one image at a time. Ready-to-use presets turn your selected images into a variety of sizes including contact sheet size. You can also create your own custom presets as well. I also find its color management relatively straightforward and easy to use. Let me explain.
You have a couple choices when it comes to Color Management in Lightroom’s Print module. You can use a custom printer profile, or turn over the color management to your printer software. You also have a choice of how Lightroom converts the image into a printing color space.
Managed by Printer
If you select this option in the Print Job pane, you hand over control of how the color is handled to the printer driver software.
Before you print you must open the printer driver and select the appropriate settings. Every printer driver is different, but I use a Canon i9900 and this is what I get when I click on the Print Settings box at the bottom of the right panel of the Print module.
The critical thing here is, under Color Options, to select Colorsync (Mac) or ICM Color Management (WIN) as a Color Correction option. You can, if you want, also tweak the Color Balance settings. (You also need to choose the appropriate Quality setting and Media, but you need to do this regardless of which color management method you use.)
If you select Other a dialog box such as the one shown here will appear.
This is a list of printer profiles that came with your printer, or you have loaded yourself. These profiles take into account many factors including the printer, color space, and type of paper. Check the box next to the profile you wish to use.
The next time you click on the color Correction pop-up menu the profile will appear as a choice.
To remove it from the pop-up menu select Other again and deselect your choice.
To add custom printer profiles, place the profile in your computer’s Colorsync (Mac) or Color (WIN) folder. On the Mac this folder is found in the Library folder. On Windows the Color folder a bit hidden so I suggest searching for the .icm extension to find it.
After placing the new profile in the Colorsync folder restart Lightroom, and the next time you select Other the profile should appear in the list.
Let me amplify the warning found in the Print module Color management pane: if you use a custom profile, it’s very important you go to your printer driver dialog box and turn off color management. You don’t want the custom and printer management to BOTH manage your colors.
One last thing in regards to color management in the Lightroom Print module is the rendering intent. You have two choices: Perceptual and Relative.
Suffer with me a moment a brief explanation of how Lightroom handles color space. Lightroom’s working color space ProPhoto RGB is an extremely wide, and accommodating color space. If you edit your photo in the Develop module, and, say, super saturate it, this color space is large enough to handle the expanded colors. However, when you go to print, your computer –and often the printer– isn’t set up to handle the expanded range of colors. Choosing Perceptual, or Relative will determine how any out-of- gamut colors are handled.
Here, as an example, is an original screen grab direct from Lightroom’s Develop module.
Here I’ve applied a Perceptual rendering. (I printed out to a PDF and then made a screen shot.) Perceptual rendering attempts to preserve the visual relationship between colors. Colors that are in-gamut may change as out-of-gamut colors are shifted to reproducible colors. Perceptual rendering is desirable when your image has many out-of gamut color. In this example, the
Colors all shifted, most noticeably in the background.
Here I applied a Relative rendering. Now the background color shifted, but the colors of the fish are more accurate. This is because Relative preserves all in-gamut colors and shifts out-of gamut colors to the closest reproducible color. The Relative option preserves more of the original color and is desirable when you have few out-of-gamut colors.
Anyway, this bog went on longer than I planned, but it’s hard to condense color management! Hope you get the idea. Let me know if you have any questions.