As much time as I spend in Lightroom, admittedly the Print module has always been a bit nebulous to me. Most of the time, when my images come out of Lightroom, they do so through exporting because I just want individual files for each processed image. But this year, I created our family Christmas card entirely inside of Lightroom, which gave me an opportunity to explore more of the mysterious module.
Generally, the Print module is where you specify page layouts and print options for printing photos. That can be individual photos, contact sheets, or custom layouts, such as a collage. The Print module is capable out outputting to a physical printer, a PDF printer, and printing to a JPEG file. Adobe’s Lightroom documentation has a very detailed write-up of every switch and option of the Print module, so instead of rehashing the same material, I want to focus specifically on those options involved with printing to a JPEG file.
The Print Job Panel
The Print Job panel is used to tell Lightroom where you want it to print to.
The two options are Printer and JPEG File. Click the Print to option to change the value to JPEG.
With JPEG selected, the panel options will change.
Draft Mode Printing – If Draft Mode Printing is selected, Lightroom will use cached photo previews or thumbnails when printing. Obviously, that means the quality of the output will be reduced, so remember to disable this check box when you are printing your final image. Also, when this option is selected, Print Sharpening, Color Management, and Print Adjustment will be disabled.
File Resolution – The resolution setting specifies the pixels per inch (PPI) of the JPEG file. The default value of 240 PPI is usually sufficient for most print jobs, but if you’re sending the file to a high-end or professional printer, they may give you a different value to use, such as 300 PPI.
Print Sharpening – Print sharpening allows you to apply additional sharpening to your output, in addition to any sharpening that was applied to an image in the Develop module. The amount of sharpening that is automatically applied based on the amount of sharpening you have selected (Low, Standard, High) and is calculated based on the output resolution and the output media. If you don’t need any additional sharpening, disable this option.
JPEG Quality – Change the amount of compression used to produce the JPEG file by adjusting this slider.
Custom File Dimensions – You can force the dimensions of the JPEG image by selecting this option and entering in width and height attributes.
Color Management – These options allow you to render the output using a specific color profile if your printer or print service requires it.
Print Adjustment – The Print Adjustment options allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast sliders that result in tone curve adjustments. Changing these values do not adjust the onscreen preview, so if your printer produces darker than expected output, it may take some experimentation to find the right value for your printer.
Print to File…
When you are ready to generate your file, click the Print to File button. You will be prompted to specify the location and file name for the JPEG image. Click Save to create your file.