New Workshop/Seminar – “Camera to Output”

Camera to Output – “Begin With the End In Mind”
October 19, 2013 Denver, Colorado

Join us for this comprehensive seminar, and sharpen your skills in image capture, color managed workflow, studio photography, and post-production techniques.

Getting it right in the camera

Begin with the end in mind

Color managed workflow

Introduction: Live Studio Setups and Lighting

Live Image Capture

Macro, Product & Live Model shooting workstations

Effective and efficient post production techniques

Creating Portfolio-Worthy Prints

Attendees receive special discount coupon packs and free sample materials.
Hosted by Digital2You. Sponsors include Datacolor, Epson, Pentax, Eizo, and Photo Imaging Consultants. Fee for attendance. Lunch provided.


EG7 Monterey- 2013 Wrap-Up

I just returned from the EG7 conference ( in Monterey, California. The name sounds a little mysterious, but the meeting is not. It’s been around for quite a while.

A couple of quotes that might help describe the event: “a gathering of and for innovators in media, technology, entertainment and education. The conference explores our most creative enterprises, by engaging a gifted mix of people — from rising stars to
living national treasures, the people who attend EG are among the most industrious and iconoclastic talents of our time.”

And… “This year at EG, Everything is Learning — and Learning is Everything. Many of the leading inventors, explorers, educators, entertainers, artists and entrepreneurs are joining us to probe these frontiers.”

Some of the “presenters” included Erich Kuhne, architecture, Nicholas Negroponte, perhaps best known for “One Laptop Per Child”,  Bathsheba Grossman, Three Dimensional Thinking,  Frans Lanting, nature and wildlife photography, Brant Austin, incredible full-scale photos of whales, Alison Gopnik, baby thinking,  Umi Garret, a 12-year old world-class pianist, and many, many more.

A long-time working partner, collaborator, and mentor of mine, Jack Duganne (, worked with me at the conference. We focused on making prints of portraits made during the conference – these portraits included attendees and speakers. We used the HP Designjet Z6200 and Z3200 large format printers, and we were very, very busy. Our thanks to HP and Eric DuPaul, and Jennifer Wills and Monica Wolff (of W+W Design – for making this part possible.

The presentations hit every note possible, in the arts, music, imaging, photography, philosophy – you name it. We all left with new ways of looking at the world, and the world of learning. Hats off to the EG7 team! Hope to see you next year!

New Book, Alternate Printing Techniques by Bonny Lhotka et al.

I have the pleasure of helping to announce Bonny Lhotka’s new book: The Last Layer: New methods in digital printing for photography, fine art, and mixed media

I played a modest role in creating the book, contributing a short chapter on new methods of silver halide printing using Large Format Digital Negatives.

Book Cover

Book Cover

“In The Last Layer–the follow-up to Digital Alchemy, her successful book on alternative printmaking techniques–Bonny Lhotka teaches how to make prints that take their inspiration from early printmaking processes. In this book, Lhotka shows readers step-by-step how to create modern-day versions of anthotypes, cyanotypes, tintypes, and daguerreotypes as well as platinum and carbon prints. She also reinvents the photogravure and Polaroid transfer processes and explores and explains groundbreaking techniques for combining digital images with traditional monotype, collograph, and etching press prints. By applying these classic techniques to modern images, readers will be able to recreate the look of historical printmaking techniques and explore the limits of their creative voice. Best of all, the only equipment required is a desktop inkjet printer that uses pigment inks, and a handful of readily available materials and supplies–not the toxic chemicals once required to perform these very same processes.

Leveraging her training as a traditional painter and printmaker, Bonny Lhotka brings new innovations and inventions that combine the best of centuries of printmaking technique with modern technology to create unique works of art and photography. After years of experimentation and development, these new processes allow alternative photographers, traditional printer makers, and 21st century digital artists to express their creative voice in ways never before possible.”

(Not yet published – pending March 26 2013.)

The book  is currently listed on

Free Webinar: Color Management for Fine Art Reproduction Sept 12

Join us for a webinar on Color Management for Fine Art Reproduction

Fine Art Reproduction is a great business opportunity for photographers. Photographers can photograph flat artwork, and provide true-to-life prints for their customers’ sales, exhibitions, promotional activities, and more. Prints can be made on a variety of fine-art media that are colorfast, archival, and can last up to 200 years. In the digital age, prints can be created in almost any quantity: single print, on demand and large quantities.

On Wednesday, September 12th from 3 pm – 4:15 pm EDT, join us as Datacolor Color Management Experts, David Tobie and David Saffir discuss color management techniques, review photographic methodology, demonstrate printing on fine-art media, and provide marketing tips for recruiting artists in your area. An interactive Q&A will take place throughout the webinar to answer any questions you may have.

One lucky webinar guest will win a free Spyder4PRO!

Register Now!

Soft Proofing in Lightroom 4 and Photoshop

Many photographers understand the need for color management, but don’t implement it into their daily workflow. Calibration and the use of soft-proofing (color preview on screen) practices can greatly improve the output quality of images, while reducing trial and error costs. Learning how to effectively integrate calibration and soft-proofing into your digital workflow can save time and money, as well as enhance image quality.

Soft-proofing, formerly found only in the full version of Photoshop, is now available much more affordably in Lightroom 4, expanding the market for soft-proof use. An accurate color preview provides multiple benefits, ranging from a corrected review of output color before printing, to a method to correct images for a specific output device from within your normal workflow, helping you judge the impact of image editing on the fly – saving time and helping ensure desired results.

Follow this link to the recorded webinar session, sponsored by Datacolor….

New Master Class: Fine Art Digital Printmaking

Master Class: Fine Art Digital Printmaking
Instructor: David Saffir, July 15, Inkjet Paper Plus, Carlsbad, CA

“The Palouse” © D Saffir 2012

This is a full-day intermediate- to advanced-level one-day intensive class, intended for aspiring pros and professionals alike. Medium- and Wide-format printing will be the focus of this class. We will have the Epson 3880 and 9800 printers on hand, plus pro-level color management gear from Datacolor.

Contact me for more info or registration, or call 1-888-884-0144

If you pre-reg by July 5, fee is $245 incl lab fees. After that, $295

Thanks to Canson, Hahnemuhle, Digital2You for their support!

Screen to Print Match for Photographers – Updated/Revised March 29 2012

Most people have experienced an issue with screen to print match at one time or another. Some have told me that they have just given up on the idea. But screen to print match can save you a lot of editing time, and wasted paper making proofs (you know: proof-tweak, proof-tweak, etc.)

This is an issue that can usually be solved without breaking a sweat. Think of this article like a cooking recipe – put it all together, and cookies turn out fine!

Examples of Issues

1. It is hard to see the screen in my office or studio

2. Colors I’m familiar with don’t look right on the screen

3. Screen brightness does not match print/print looks too dark

4. Screen shows highlights and/or shadows differently than the print

5. Some colors differ on screen vs print

6. All the color in the print just looks wrong, compared to the screen


1. It is hard to see the screen

This is a big cause of headaches and fatigue.

I suggest that if you need glasses or an updated prescription, get them. Bright light in the room, whether ceiling lights, windows, or other sources, can cause reflections on the screen or cause you struggle with differences in brightness. I use a room that has a big window with a set of louvered blinds. Not expensive, and effective.

If you are using a laptop, you should know that most laptop screens are just not good enough for editing color in digital photographs. The color palette is too narrow. Also, the screen has a small sweet spot, or angle of view – if you move around a bit the appearance of color and/or contrast may change. If your budget permits, get a decent flat screen display and plug it into the laptop.

Another issue – your room setup is important. The screen should be the brightest light source in the room. Competing light from windows and such can affect your perception of color, and cause eyestrain and fatigue. Here’s a photo of a room that does NOT get the job done!

2. Colors I’m familiar with don’t look right on the screen

First, you usually get what you pay for. A bottom-dollar low end screen probably can’t get the job done.

Next, the screen has to be calibrated – this means adjusting the screen so it shows color accurately as possible. The tool used for this is a display calibrator. (I discourage use of the display calibration software included with Mac OS or Windows OS. They improve things, but not enough for editing photographs).

Display calibration is one of the easier things to do. Open the box, follow the directions, and voila!

Spyder4 Elite from Datacolor

I have some recommendations for settings. Some may disagree here, but these work for me. You will see the adjustment screen for these if you choose the “advanced” option in your calibration software.

Use color temp of 5500k, or 6500k, depending partly on which color space you use. Adobe 98 white point is 6500, ProPhoto RGB is 5500.

Use luminance of 90-120 cd/square meter to start. Use gamma of 2.2.

When you set up your display like this, it will look kind of dull compared to its previous state.

By the way, most new displays come new out of the box set up to much higher color temperatures, close to 200cd/sqm, gamma native or 2.2. That’s useful in an office where one is working on email or similar stuff; near useless for photography.

You can, of course, experiment until you find a set of adjustments that suit you. These have worked for me for a long time.

One last thing: capture RAW whenever practical, and work with your images in Adobe 98, or ProPhoto RGB,  rather than sRGB.  The only reason to keep an sRGB workflow is if you are a wedding or event photographer and your lab requires it.

3. Screen brightness does not match print

The screen will always look brighter than the print. Put another way: “the print looks too dark!” Think of the screen like a lightbox with a big transparency on it – it gives off light. The print can only reflect light.

The answer comes in three parts: Control your room lighting, use the screen brightness settings provided above, and control the light used to view the print (view the print in indirect daylight, gallery halogens, or a dedicated light box).

4. Screen shows highlights and/or shadows differently than the print

Two of the biggest reasons in the matching screen-vs-print category for this are 1) a cheapo screen, and 2) a non-calibrated display.

Other causes usually involve editing techniques used in Photoshop or another editor, when preparing to print, or in settings used in the printing software dialogue box. That’s a subject for another article.

5. Some colors differ on screen vs print

First, think about display calibration. Got to do it – at least once a month.

Next, think about setting up Photoshop so you can actually see what the printed image’s colors will look like. This kind of preview is called “Soft Proofing”. Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote on the subject:

You can set Photoshop to display a simulation of how your your print will actually look, using the paper/ink/printer combination you’ve chosen. This is often called 
“soft proofing”.

The benefits? You can see, in real time, what color impact your editing will produce – in other words, each time you adjust color you’ll see what it is going to look like in the final print. You can also choose different soft proofing setups to see the impact of changing papers, or even changing printers!

With your image open, click View>Proof Setup>Custom, as shown below:

Step OneThe next dialogue box that appears will look like this:


Note that just below the tag “Proof Conditions” there is a title “Device to Simulate”. This designates a drop down menu that looks like the screen shot shown below. You will see a list of the ICC profiles that you’ve installed, either along with a printer driver, or manually. Scroll down and choose the one you want.


Once you have chosen the correct profile, you can save this as a pre-set for your convenience. Click on Save, and name your pre-set, and click save again. Click OK to close this out.


For most photography purposes, Perceptual rendering intent is fine. Enable black point compensation, and leave the others alone – don’t need them. As long as “Preview” is enabled, your calibrated display will show you what your image is going to look like in print!

6. All the color in the print just looks wrong, compared to the screen

The biggest reason this happens to me is that, somehow, the display calibration goes haywire. This usually happens after a system crash.

The first thing to do is to check the printer – is the right paper loaded? Are you using the right printer settings? Have you performed a print head check for clogged nozzles?

If the problem continues, reboot the computer and recalibrate the display. Sometimes settings files go haywire, or get corrupted. If the display is over three or four years old, and the problem persists, try another monitor on the computer and see if that solves the issue. You may need a new display.

7. SPECIAL NOTE: This post is Photoshop-centric, and the screen shots are from CS5. However, soft proofing in CS6 is identical, as far as I can tell (I’ve had CS6 for a day and a half!). In the next week or two, I will make another post that describes soft proofing in Lightroom 4.

Additional tips and tricks:

Remember that you can always change your display calibration back to the way it was, or re-calibrate using different settings.

Color editing that seems impossible late at night will usually be easy after a good night’s sleep.

Use manufacturer’s ink, not a substitute, in your printer.

Experiment with different papers, but often the manufacturer’s paper will look the best.

If you have trouble with color on a print, try making a print from an image that has done well before. If that also looks different, it is the printer or the printing settings.

Change the background on your Photoshop screen to grey or white.

Let the screen warm up for 30 minutes before you start work.

When you are printing, try using ICC profiles for printing instead of printer managed color.


NEW WORKSHOP: Join us in the Palouse in June 2012 for a combo photography/image editing extravaganza! Go to the top of this page and click on the WORKSHOPS tab!