Developing Expressive Digital Prints

Ansel Adams famously stated, “You don’t take a photograph. You make a photograph.” Regardless of how much of your photographic creativity happens before, during or after the camera work itself, the fact remains that a great print is not just a copy of reality. It can be more powerful—an object of creative expression. The key to making great prints is creativity that’s supported by a solid workflow.

To make improvements in anything, you have to have an idea where you are and where you’re going. We start this session with a discussion of your goals, what we mean by “expressive print,” and the qualities of an expressive print. We then present a core set of pragmatic ways to develop a digital image to get there, and how to avoid a number of common pitfalls that we see.

Rather than just deliver a list of “how-to” tips, Photoshop plugins or trendy buzzwords, we provide a framework of essential qualitative goals and the tools that address them, laying the foundation for developing expressive prints. We’ll cover the key topics, including:

• Why print, what is your goal?
• What is an expressive print anyway?
• Creative choices for developing tone & colour
• Introducing depth & dimension
• How big can I print this?
• Avoiding or cleaning up digital image flaws
• Making the finishing touches

We’ll devote most of our time in this session to learning how to develop the master print file. Bring any particular “digital darkroom” development questions you may have and we’ll address as many as we can.

For registration, upcoming classes, pricing, or more information about our Open Studio Series, visit our main Open Studio page.

“A great amount of creativity lies in the making of a print, with its endless subtle variations which are yet all tied to the original concept represented by the negative. I have often said that the negative is similar to a musician’s score, and the print to the performance of that score. The negative comes to life only when ‘performed’ as a print.”
— Ansel Adams