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MPix and Me: Getting the Most from Photos You Print Online

For this week’s post, I bring you the experience of getting your photos printed online! I chose MPix to help me out. Their site is quick and easy to use and I am happy with the results, overall.

I sent a few of my favorite photos that I took on my trip to Spain. I didn’t Photoshop any of them, just sent and hoped for the best. Of course, a couple of the photos that I sent for print did not turn out as I had hoped and were a little on the dull side. So, I decided to use a couple quick Photoshop tricks (adjustment layers) to make the images print a bit better and then resent them. I’ll show you an easy trick in Photoshop that can boost your photo with more contrast and richness. Then, I’ll show you a before and after of my image as well!

Typography on a door at the Sagrada Família

The image above, a door in Barcelona, Spain at the Sagrada Família, is the subject for this tutorial. This door, by the way, could be at one of the most visually impressive places I have ever seen. This door is a wonderful display of typography and its beauty. Naturally, I adore it.

Anyway, back to the door image. In its original form, without any adjustments, the light is good, but you don’t get a nice depth in the shadows of the letters. It also takes away from the fact that JESUS is painted in gold. Which is just a spectacular detail.

Photoshop Gradient Map and Levels

Using an adjustment layer, like levels and gradient map, in combination with a layer blending option, such as multiple, is also an easy way to experiment with just the right look for your photo.

A gradient map can be a great tool to boost the contrast in your photos when you set the colors to black and white instead of, say, green and purple. So, essentially think of the adjustment layer as a sheer blanket film that will enhance your photo’s contrast. You can adjust the intensity by adjusting the opacity of this new adjustment layer.

Adding a gradient mesh adjustment layer

Start by going to the menu bar. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map

Choose the black to white gradient

In the gradient map options panel, choose the black and white gradient, which is usually a default option in the palette. Then, click the OK button.

Set the blending option to multiply

Set the layer blending option to Multiply.

Accessing levels on the layer

Levels adjustment

I also like to use the Levels adjustment layer in combination with the gradient map. This adds some more control to the overall contrast of the image. I can adjust the dark, medium and light colors easily with a few slides of the arrows and see how the image is adjusting as I move them.

With gradient map layer applied

Again, my goal with this image is to keep the upper-left corner as the highlight all the while making the letter shadows rich and deep. The image above is the result of applying the gradient map.

Before and After

Here are the results. The images below show the difference between the original image and the processed version.

Before: A little bright and lacks depth in the shadows

After: More depth and character

Below is a photo of the print before retouching.

The print before retouching

I am waiting for the After print to come in the mail. I’ll update the post with the result as soon as I get it! Stay tuned, folks.

Have you used other online printing services before that you liked or didn’t?


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