If you create works of art that will eventually be printed, it is important to know how to proof your work. From understanding colors to making sure what you envisioned actually turns into your vision, it can all be rather boring yet still necessary. I personally have always been a little bit neurotic when it comes to proofing my works. I want to make sure it all looks the same across each medium. So here are some tips to proofing your work before you hit “print”, and even after.
2. When thinking about composition, which is not as easy to see with a fresh set of eyes, consider mirroring your image in Photoshop. Simply go to Image–>Image Rotation–>Flip Canvas Horizontally. This will mirror your image and trick your mind into seeing everything in a different way. Suddenly the light will look different and the whole composition may seem off-balance, as one example. It is the perfect way of seeing your creation from a whole new perspective.
3. Look at your art on different backgrounds. Try a white background and then a black and see if it changes how you view the work. You might find your image to be better suited to a white background, or you may appreciate seeing more details when it pops against the black.
4. Upload your image to social media – privately. In Facebook, I open my messages and send myself the picture. No one else can see it, and I can see how the image looks both in thumbnail form and sized for the web. I can also see if social media is distorting the image at all – either through compression or hue/saturation/lightness shifts.
5. Look at your image on multiple monitors. I personally always look at a “finished” piece on my desktop, my laptop, and then my phone. Each has a slightly different color profile. My laptop is less saturated than my desktop, and my phone is somewhere in between. It helps to show you what others might see based on the monitor they have, and could even show flaws in the piece when looking at a less saturated screen.
6. When printing, if possible, look at your image on your printer’s computer. I don’t live near my printer anymore, but when I did I would sit with him (mostly in my earlier printing days) and see how my image looked on his monitor, knowing that it would print similarly to what I saw on the screen. Recognizing differences between your computer and your printer’s computer is good to know, since you can then calibrate your monitor to match your printer’s.
7. Create a small proof when you feel you are ready for print. A “proof” is a smaller version of the actual print you want in order to test colors, lightness, etc.. Most good printers will offer proofing services, and if they do not, you might want to ask specifically for that service or find someone who will proof with you. This allows you a first glimpse at your work in person, and helps the printer know what changes need to be made.
8. Create the actual print in the size you desire. Here is an admission – I don’t proof my prints anymore, or at least not regularly. My printer and I have worked together for five years now, so he knows very well what my prints should look like. He knows that if something looks too green, I won’t like it. He will reprint without even asking because he knows my work intimately now. Whenever you feel comfortable, print your image and be proud!
9. Ask your printer to save that proofed file. Once you get the print you like, save that image on his computer so that in the future, should you need to print that image again, you do not have to proof the image again. The printer can always print from that proofed file, until the next image comes into play and the process begins again.
Styling/Dress: Michelle Hebert
Makeup/Hair: Mariah Kraft