I am wanting to send pictures to a publishing / printing company who will use them for prints which they will sell to their customers.
I use Lightroom 4.1.
I would appreciate some advice about the settings I should use in the Export window.
Question1: Output sharpening
The pictures have gone through the Develop module and the last thing I did to them there was to sharpen them.
Does this mean that I leave the "Sharpen For:" box unticked in the Export window?
Question 2: Image Sizing
I want to maximise the number of pixels in the exported pictures.
Does this mean that I leave the "resize to fit" option unticked in the Export window?
Question 3: Image Sizing
What do I do about about the figure to be entered into the box labelled "Resolution:"?
Do I ignore it?
The best way to go about his would be to ask the publishing / printing company which specs they want for the images.
Or, maybe they have it on their website somewhere.
Output sharpening: This is a particular touchy issue. Some companies don't want any output sharpening - they do it themselves to their own specs. You have to ask, you can't just assume it's this or that.
Image sizing: What does this company want? I mean, they must know in what sizes they print. So they nust have specs as to file sizes, etc.
Resolution: Usually it's 300 ppi.
Also, what file format? JPG? TIFF? 8-bit?
You need to inquire.
I`ve already discussed most issues with the publisher (eg file format) and the only items remaining to be decided upon are the 3 items that are covered by the questions I posted.
I tend to think that the answer to question 1 is "yes" (ie leave box unticked) as I have already sharpened the pix to my satisfaction.
I think the answer to question 2 is also "yes" (ie leave box unticked).
My evidence for this is in Scot Kelby`s book: p.271: "By default, Lightroom assumes that you want to export your photos at their full size. If you want to make them smaller ... turn on the Resize to Fit checkbox".
I think the answer to question 3 is also "yes" as the printers will want to decide on the resolution that best matches their needs as they will be printing at various sizes and also on different media (as well as photographic paper).
Also, I think that a "yes" to question 2 makes the answer to question 3 "yes" as well.
If you are not resizing the image (as is sensible for such a case, in my opinion - since you can't know the eventual requirement precisely) then the Resolution setting is not controlling any resampling or pixel count - it is irrelevant in those terms.
But it is not insignificant in terms of conforming to usual expectations, which will be (right or wrong) that images should arrive as 300ppi. And it does no harm to select that when making your Export.
This has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the image being supplied - and everything to do with the working convenience of the client it is being supplied to.
Why don't you give me the specs of your publisher? Then I could tell you what settings to use.
Sharpening: generally you need two different sharpening procedures for your images. The first one is done in the Develop Module and it eliminates (or reduces) the inherent un-sharpness of digital images. Then for your output - be it print or display on screen - you use another sharpening set ( either in the Print Module or in the Export Dialog). The two sharpening procedures are different and usually one alone does not give satisfactory results.
In your case, the difficulty seems to be that you don't know if your publisher applies sharpness and doesn't want you to apply output sharpness - or, if he doesn't sharpen at all and prints the image just the way you send it to him. For instance Blurb says quite clearly that they don't apply any sharpening and that sharpening is our responsibility. What does your publisher say in that respect?
Resolution: Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as resolution of a digital file. There is only pixel dimension. You can speak of resolution only in relation to print size.
For instance: An image comes out of the camera at 2000 x 3000 pixels. If you don't want to resize this image you'd get a resolution of 300 dpi when you make a print of 6.66" x 10"; but when you make a print of 20" x 30" you would get a resolution of 100 dpi. The formula is: Resolution in dpi = pixel dimension / size of print in inches.
But in the latter example of a print of 20" x 30" with a dpi of 100, the image does not have enough pixels for a satisfying print resolution. 100 dpi is not enough for a good print; a good print requires 240 dpi or - depending on the printer used - 300 dpi (= industry standard for magazines and books), or 360 dpi (high end Epson printers).
So if you want to make a 20" x 30" print from an image that has originally only 2000 x 3000 pixels, you would need to resize the image, i.e. enlarge it, i.e. the software (Lr or Photoshop) has to "invent" new pixels. And when you resize, you have to specify the resolution because for a print of a given size more pixels are needed at higher resolution and less pixels are needed for a lower resolution..
You say "as the printers will want to decide on the resolution that best matches their needs as they will be printing at various sizes and also on different media (as well as photographic paper)" . Question: Do you know that - or do you assume that it is so? Don't assume that printers do things - mostly they just send the image file to the printer, and that's it.
But, maybe this publisher / printer is different.
You say that your printer would print in different sizes. In that case I would make my output file in a size equal to the largest print at a resolution of at least 240 dpi.
If your original file is smaller, you have to resize it.