I attended a one day workshop at the printspace on Saturday. The course aimed to instill a methodical workflow when working on digital image files to ensure a consistent and high quality output for printing. We began by learning about the importance of having our camera and monitor setup correctly (must get a monitor hood!) before moving on to configuring the Photoshop workspace.
Once all the basics were in place we then looked at our image files and workflow. My own workflow is not too bad - with the exception that I don't tend to mess around too much with colour correction or saturation. I am wary of these two settings because my colour blindness tends to skew any changes I make. The difficulty is that any subtle changes are not that noticeable to me so I can't see the point - and changes that I can see tend to look overdone. Luckily the camera's auto white balance does a pretty good job in most daylight situations and I rarely work with mixed lighting. I have picked up a couple of tips regarding how the colour balance and saturation sliders should be set for daylight images when printing. I will incorporate this info into my workflow and will review the results.
The course mostly seemed to firm up what I had learnt in the Digital Photographic Practice module which was good in the respect that I hadn't forgotten this knowledge and it was useful to run over it again and not let my standards slip.
I only use an outside lab as I cannot justify the cost of my own printer, paper and ink for my images. It is good to know I'm doing most of the right things like soft proofing and using paper profiles. I think I just need to practice, practice, practice, when it comes to printing. Because I'm conscious of cost (delivery charges being the downside of online labs) I probably don't print nearly enough to get my standards to a consistent level and to compare and contrast with different versions of the same image.
This is why I'd also find being part of a study group useful. To get advice and have a standard to compare with. On the whole I'd say it was a good day at the workshop and now I just need to do a lot more printing.