Printing with Lightroom – Part 4, by Seth Resnick of D65


This is part 4 in a series on printing from LIghtroom by Seth Resnick of D65. Lightroom printing is really a dream and much easier than printing from Photoshop. Today is the last in the series and  covers The Print Job Panel, Draft Mode Printing,Print Resolution, Print Sharpening, 16-bit Output, Color Management, Managed By Printer, Rendering Intents and The Print Button.


This is really the "Control Central" for the Print Module. Color management, print resolution, rendering intents and sharpening are controlled in this panel. You decide whether to print to a printer or to output straight to JPEG and to attach a profile. That means that you can produce print packages for a client and allow the client to print their own photos at their local lab. You can decide to allow the printer to control color management (not recommended by D-65) or choose a corresponding paper profile and allow Lightroom to control your color. On a Mac running OS X 10.5 or greater, you can even output in 16-bit mode (not available on the PC). D-65 suggests that you let Lightroom handle color management. If, however, you choose Draft Mode, the printer automatically handles color.

Print Job Panel


Draft Mode Printing is good for printing contact sheets and quick prints. It is also very cool to print to PDF. You can select some or all the images in your library and print them fairly quickly to a PDF contact sheet based on the preview resolution chosen in the Catalog Preferences. In Draft Mode, the cached preview is used for the print.

If you choose an image without a fully cached preview, the thumbnail data is used and the prints may suffer from "jaggies" and artifacting. Sharpening and color management controls aren't available when using Draft Mode Printing. You can also deploy PDF security if you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat which allows the ability to lock out printing and/ or copying.

Choosing Draft Mode Printing and Printing to a PDF with PDF Security

PDF output with PDF Security using Draft Mode Printing


The print resolution defines pixels per inch (ppi)—for the printer. The default value is 240 ppi. As a side note, the Epson print engine can handle any resolution between 180 and 720 ppi. New in Lightroom 3, the Maximum print resolution has been increased to 720 ppi. The ideal resolution for an image is the one which has the least change from the native resolution of the file.

Tip: The native resolution is best achieved by unchecking Resolution in the Print Job Panel and checking Dimensions in the Guides Panel. This will output the file at its native resolution.


Lightroom includes output print sharpening based on Pixel Genius PhotoKit Sharpener algorithms. Output sharpening accounts for pixels being converted to dots on paper. You can choose the type of paper you are printing to, and the degree of sharpening.

When Draft Mode Printing is enabled, Print Sharpening is disabled.


Lightroom includes the ability to output as 16-bit printing for Mac OS X 10.5 or above.


Profile: Other

If you have loaded paper profiles into your computer, they will be available in Color Management under Profile>Other. If you choose a custom printer profile, make sure that all color management is turned off in the printer driver software. This is controlled in the Print Settings Button under Color Management.

Selecting custom profile for printing


If no profiles are installed in your computer, color will automatically be managed by the Printer. If you do use Manage by Printer, make sure to select ColorSync in the Color Management settings (Mac OS) or enable ICM Method for Image Color Management on the PC. Depending on the printer driver software, you can usually find the color management settings below the Presets menu after the Print dialog box opens on a Mac and after the Print Document dialog box opens at Setup>Properties>Advanced on a PC.


The printer's color space is likely smaller then the color space of the image to be printed. The rendering intent you choose will compensate for these out-of-gamut colors. Rendering intents options are Perceptual, Relative Colormetric and Relative. Perceptual is for strong vibrant colors. Perceptual preserves the visual relationship between colors. Colors that are in-gamut may change as out-of-gamut colors are shifted to reproducible colors. Relative Colormetric is for muted colors. Relative Colormetric rendering 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 a good choice when you have few out-of-gamut colors.


After you have used all of the tools in the Panels to configure your print settings, press the Print button and you will wind up with a gorgeous print! Be sure to catch up on part 1, 2 and 3 of this series as well!

(Excerpted from D-65's Lighroom Workbook Workflow, Not Workslow in Lightroom 3)

Printing with Lightroom Part 4, by Seth Resnick of D65  Copyright 2011,  D65 – All Rights Reserved