How to get PERFECT PRINTS using Soft Proofing in Lightroom and Photoshop

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: December 18, 2017

Category: Videos

A few weeks back I hosted a YouTube LIVE video over on my YouTube Channel taking folks through the process of ‘How to use Soft Proofing’

What is Soft Proofing?

Basically it’s a way of simulating how your pictures will look when they come back from the printers. This is something that’s foxed pretty much everyone at some time or another I would suggest. I know that in my case, I used to get so frustrated when prints would come back from the lab and never seemed to look like the pictures did on my screen. Soft Proofing though is how to fix this!

In the video I take you through how to use Soft Proofing and I think you’ll find it not only incredibly useful but also incredibly easy. Soft Proofing is great because it gives you a preview of what your pictures would look like if they were printed and so you can then make adjustments as you see necessary to get the preview looking like the original; basically by editing the preview you are overcompensating for what the printing process will do so that when the image is printed it looks pretty much identical to the one on your screen. Make sense?

Anyway, check out the video and all will be revealed.

Oh and underneath the video I’ve posted some Q & A’s that I got when I first posted the video that you might want to check out too…

Q: Do you add any extra sharpening into your workflow?

A: If you’ve seen any of my retouching videos you’ll see that I do add sharpening selectively across the image to draw the viewers’ eye and to give added depth and dimension. However I do also add extra sharpening to entire image when I export from Lightroom before sending off to be printed. Lightroom offers 3 additional sharpening processes on Export; Low, Standard and High. Which one I use depends on the medium the picture is being printed on but as a rule: Canvas would be High, Regular Lustre Paper would be Medium and Metallic / Alumini would be Low.

Q: Do you export images into sRGB before sending to the Lab?

A: In a word, No. The printers I use is Loxley Colour and they can print in Adobe RGB. So, as I shoot in Adobe RGB and edit in Lightroom and Photoshop in Adobe RGB, I keep to the same for printing. For me it makes sense to keep everything consistent when it comes to colour and printing.

Q: Is there a Safe / General ICC Profile to use if my client is going to get them printed themselves?

A: Again, in a word, No. ICC profiles are produced by manufacturers for particular paper and printer combinations and also provided by the majority of Labs for the paper they use. In my opinion if you don’t know what they’re going to use I wouldn’t apply any ICC Profile.

Q: I’ve installed an ICC Profile but the option to Simulate Paper and Ink isn’t available; it’s greyed out. Why is this?

A: Not all ICC Profiles are created equal and by that I mean that not all ICC profiles have the Simulate Paper and Ink functionality built into them.

Q: If you’re sending off lots of image files to the Lab to be printed on a variety of mediums, how do Loxley know?

A: This is all down to how I name the files before I send them off. For example a filename would be made up like this: name_size_profile/paper which would look something like this: brian_24x16_LoxleyColour-Alumini

Bearing in mind that Loxley Colour only receive the file to print so labelling like this just helps to remind you the size of template and the paper / medium to choose … does that make sense?

So I hope this helps but as always if you have any questions / comments feel free to use the comments section below and I’ll make sure I reply.


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  1. Lex

    Hello, I sent to Loxley an email one week ago asking if they accept AdobeRGB. They replied that they accept sRGB. I think if you send in AdobeRGB then they will convert to sRGB.
    I printed a test with them and the photos went back dull. They explained to me that maybe was because I sent the photos in Prophoto. About this they replied:
    “We do work in SRGB colour space. If you convert the colour profile and order further test prints you may find that the prints are brighter.”

    Then I replied: “Are you sure you accept only sRGB?”. Their answer was: “We accept SRGB colour space files.”.

    But if you go to their website you will find that they say they accept Prophoto, AdobeRGB and sRGB.

    It’s confusing. Can you go further on this asking to them some more deep explanations?

    Thank you

    • Glyn

      Interesting. I’ll check up on this Lex…thanks

      • Lex

        Hello Glyn, let me know what you have discovered please. Thank you very much.

  2. Linda Meaton

    Hi Glyn
    Just read and your notes on soft proofing, which I have to say is very interesting and easy to follow. But having calibrated my screen and loaded the relevant ICC files and executed your instructions the print is very different to what is on the screen.
    The two images, Master and proof Preview look very similar and not much movement in the histogram. But when printed it is much darker and dull looking. My printer is a Canon Pro-10.
    Do you have any ideas that I could look at next?


    • Glyn

      Hi Linda

      If you’re printing the images yourself, what are you using for Color Management with the printer? i.e. are you letting Photoshop / Lightroom manage the colours / printing or are you setting the printer to use a profile and control it?

      Regards, Glyn

      • Gary

        Which one do you use?

  3. michelle keyte

    Hi Glyn

    Feel really silly asking this. I have been wanting to print some images but am a bit confused as to which file I should export to be sent off. The original or the soft proofed virtual copy. Hope you can help.




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