How to Export Your Photos For Print in Photoshop


Export Your Photos For Print in Adobe Photoshop

Export a press-ready file from Photoshop. When prepping your image for print, the highest quality image is desired. Use the 4 steps below to ensure that you are creating press ready file. 


1. Convert to CMYK.

Digital cameras create images using combinations red, green and blue (called "RGB"). These are the primary colors of light, which computers use to display images on your screen. Printing presses print full color pictures using cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and black (called "CMYK"). 

You can use Photoshop’s Gamut warning tool ('File > View > Gamut warning') to highlight the colors that will have trouble converting from RGB to CMYK.


2. Set the right resolution

Have you ever downloaded what you thought was a high quality image on the internet and then printed it and it either printed at the size of a postage stamp or looked blurry or "blocky? The culprit is image resolution. 

When you’re printing an image you will encounter the term ppi or pixels per inch. Simply put, the more dots that make up the image, the higher the resolution. More printed dots on an inch means a higher-quality reproduction. To render a print that looks good you need a certain density of pixels in the image (ppi). Typical printing ppi values range from 150 to 300 ppi, although some high-end magazines may require images which are 1200 ppi. 300 ppi is normal for something that should be viewed up close.

Uncheck "Resample Image" when changing the print size to see what ppi (resolution) it equals. Simply put, the more dots that make up the image, the higher the resolution. More printed dots on an inch means a higher-quality reproduction.

Also, To achieve the best print quality, images should not be artificially scaled up in Photoshop by more than 110% of their original size. 


3. Flatten your image.

This combines all of your layers into one layer. Go to the Layer menu and select Flatten Image [alt + shift + ctrl + F (PC) --OR-- ctrl + shift + E (mac)]. 

One of the quickest is to locate the menu button on the layers window tab.  Click the menu button to bring up a list of options and simply select Flatten Image.  


4. Save your print ready file in TIFF or PDF format. 

Go to File > Save As, then use the drop-down Format menu to select. TIFF (tagged image file format) or PDF (portable document format).

The ideal file format choice for print is TIFF, followed closely by PDF. TIFF is your best option since it is it uses lossless compression. Lossless image formats capture all of the data of your original file. Nothing from the original photo is lost—hence the term “lossless.” Because it is a near-universal standard, PDF files are often the file format requested by printers to send a final design into production. Both formats require roughly the same amount of storage space. PDFs allow scalable text, vector images, and bitmaps to be combined in one document. PDFs can also have embedded fonts. 

When it comes to PDF vs. TIFF, it’s important to remember that there is no one particular “best” Also, a TIFF can be converted to a PDF, and vice versa.