What type of file do I need for printing?
Whether it’s for large scale exhibition printing, gallery catalogue use or online publication or website – understanding which image files work best for your visual art and photographic works can make life a whole lot easier as well as save you some time and money.
There are many image file types out there so it can be tricky to know which works best for your image production. Some image types such as TIFF are great for printing while others, like JPG or PNG, are best for web and social media.
Here’s a handy list of common image file formats and what medium they are most suited for.
TIFF (.tif, .tiff)
TIFF or Tagged Image File Format are lossless images files meaning that they do not need to compress or lose any image quality or information (although there are options for compression), allowing for very high-quality images but also larger file sizes.
Ideal For: High quality prints, professional publications, archival copies.
JPEG (.jpg, .jpeg)
JPEG, stands for Joint Photographic Experts Groups, where the image is compressed to make a smaller file. The compression does create a loss in quality but this loss is generally not noticeable. JPEG files are common for both online use as well as physical printing (non-professional or small prints).
Ideal For: Web Images, catalogue or book printing, small art prints, digital display, social media.
RAW (.raw, .cr2, .nef, .orf, .sr2, and more)
RAW images are images that are unprocessed that have been created by a camera or scanner. Many digital SLR cameras can shoot in RAW, whether it be a .raw, .cr2, or .nef. These RAW images are the equivalent of a digital negative, meaning that they hold a lot of image information, but still need to be processed in an editor such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.
Ideal For: Digital artworks when being prepared for printing and high-end production.
Photoshop Documents are files that are created and saved in Adobe Photoshop, the most popular graphics editing software ever. This type of file contains “layers” that make modifying the image much easier to handle. This is also the program that generates the raster file types mentioned above.
Ideal for: Digital artworks when being printed or post processed for online publication.
PNG or Portable Network Graphics files are a lossless image format originally designed to improve upon and replace the gif format.
Ideal For: Web / social media use.
An EPS or Encapsulated PostScript file is a common vector file type. EPS files can be opened in many illustration applications such as Adobe Illustrator.
Ideal For: Vector artwork, illustrations, logos.
We have a variety of services to work around your abilities and budget, form Bespoke appointments with technicians to quick and easy online Self- Service, we will endeavour to get the best form your image files. See which one of our professional services works best for you.
Black & White Printing: Choose the Right Paper for Your Work
When choosing how to print your Black & White images we would recommend our B&W Printing options over our C-type or Giclée services to ensure the best results in your print. Choosing a Silver Gelatin print completely prevents the colour cast you would usually find due to colour printing processes.
At Metro Imaging, we offer a range of B&W printing options: from traditional B&W Hand Printing to Digital Silver Gelatin Prints. We’re also the only print lab in the UK to produce B&W fibre-based prints from digital files, Metro’s Steve Macleod having worked directly with Harman in producing the paper itself.
Both of our B&W Silver Gelatin and C-Type prints are produced with archival, light-sensitive papers specifically designed to be exposed with a digital enlarger. When printing a B&W image using a colour process, such as the C-Type, there will always be a colour cast of some degree, usually green or magenta – this is due to the colour dye within the print. Our HARMAN GDS B&W papers contain no colour dyes and are exposed with B&W chemistry, resulting in ‘true’ blacks with no colour cast, despite being exposed with the standard RGB colour laser on our Lambda Printer.
We offer three premier HARMAN GDS papers to fit your needs, a resin-coated finished and two fibre-based options:
– Fibre-based Baryta (Gloss): This double-weight paper has a gloss finish and slight texture, the emulsion is based upon traditional B&W silver halide technology. It has excellent D-Max, sharpness and surface finish that will give a superb continuous tone. Our FB paper is also great for pairing with Giclée Fine Art Baryta prints when printing colour and B&W images together.
– Fibre-based Baryta (Matt): This is a double-weight paper with a matt finish and smooth texture. It is a silver gelatin premium quality panchromatic photographic paper. This paper has been designed using the very latest black & white silver halide emulsion technology optimised for digital exposure and presents a neutral image tone.
– Resin-coated: This is a premium quality paper with a bright base tint, and it is a perfect paper for cooler-toned images. It has a semi-matt finish and contains fine tonal benefits of subtle highlight detail and strong blacks.
Our digital B&W papers can be printed up to 108 x 48 inches, either through our Premier Bespoke Service or Premier Self Service online.
We recommend having a look at the papers themselves before ordering. Either drop by our lab or order a Sample Pack here.
Lastly, we are proud to still offer B&W hand printing straight from the negative, using the traditional darkroom method. Our Master Printer can match and reproduce your image consistently; however, due to the technique, each one is technically unique. We offer a range of papers, fibre-based to resin-coated, in a number of finishes and tones. Our maximum Hand Print size is 20 x 24 inches.
1. Digital Fibre-based Gloss Print.
2. Left to Right: Digital Fibre-based Matt Print, Digital Fibre-based Gloss Print.
3. Digital Resin-coated Print.
Our Extensive Retouching Services
With over 20 years of experience in the photography retouching industry, our team of expert retouchers are here to help you achieve the very best from every image.
Over the years we’ve built and maintained many strong partnerships with headline names, not only in the fashion and beauty industry, but from varied backgrounds such as art magazines and publications, editorial campaigns, advertising, fine art photography, and illustration, architectural and graphic design.
From cmyk proofs to image editing services, we offer variety of post-production services for end-to-end project solutions. Additionally we can provide vintage image enhancement and repair, carefully bringing back the original quality, to ensure perfect reproduction time after time.
We can work to a competitive hourly rate or fixed budget per image or campaign.
Digitising Your Analogue Archive
Our top-of-the-range photographic scanning department consists of a drum scanner, capable of capturing exceptional detail and tone, and a flatbed and CCD scanner, to cater to all needs.
We also offer a cost-effective bulk scanning service using modern scanning techniques, and vintage images enhance and repair with careful retouching to bring back their original quality, reproducing perfectly time after time.
The tool of choice for high-end film applications because drum scanners are capable of capturing very subtle details in film originals, producing exceptionally smooth tonal gradients and a high level of shadow detail.
CCD and Flatbed Scanning:
An alternative to drum scanning, choose digitising your archival prints or retro family photos via our cost-effective CCD or flatbed scanning services.
Metro has built a reputation for high volume archive photo scans, scanning complete photo film libraries, catalogues, family albums, and vintage material from any origination; including from photo prints and slides, to large format negatives.
What Is Direct to Media Printing?
Direct to Media (DTM) printing is a large-format inkjet printing process using cured UV ink. The process allows images to be printed directly on to almost any surface, using fine full-colour CMYK inks. The ink is sprayed directly on to the printing surface, and then cured by UV light, drying it almost instantly.
As the name suggests, we can print your image directly to almost any flat material of your choice, within any size up to 3x2m and up to 90mm thick. Direct to Media can be highly durable in comparison to traditional substrate-mounted prints, with the added bonus of being water-resistant.
Direct to Media vs Photographic Prints
The Direct to Media method combines printing and mounting into a single process, rather than the traditional print mounted to your chosen substrate. Unlike traditional printing, Direct to Media inks are bonded to the surface of the substrate, resulting in a resistant and long-lasting image that can even be displayed in outdoor exhibitions. The process can open up a whole new way of showing work, introducing alternative printing materials and allowing for more immersive installations.
Due to Direct to Media being alternative printing process, we would always suggest a test print before running a final piece. Every image and material prints differently, allowing for a unique finish for your artwork.
Examples of materials supplied by Metro Imaging:
- – Perspex
- – Vinyl
- – Aluminium
- – MDF
- – Dibond (Brushed, White, Mirrored etc.)
Examples of client supplied materials:
- – Glass
- – Tile
- – Mirror
- – Copper
- – Textiles
- – Wood
- – Slate
Have a material in mind? Get in touch for a quote!
1. DTM on Perspex, installation image from You Will Enter An Oasis © Felicity Hammond
2. DTM on Wood, section of Portrait Salon 2017 installation © Portrait Salon
3. DTM on Leather, installation image from Paul Smith Japan © David Bailey
Metro’s Student Services & Discounts
Metro Imaging have always understood and championed the importance of nurturing emerging talent and it’s benefits to the industry. These sentiments are echoed through our comprehensive student offering which aims to make creativity more accessible to those in education.
Save money with our generous discounts on our Bespoke Printing and in-lab services, alongside our always affordable and competitive priced Self Service online ordering solution.
– Bespoke C-types & Silver Gelatin: 30%
– Bespoke Giclees, DTM & Vinyl: 20%
– Film processing 20%
– High-quality Drum and CCD film scans 30%
– Retouching 30%
– Mounting & Framing: 10%
For our Self-Service printing and mounting, students or ideally their course lecturers, need to get in touch for a dedicated all-round 10% discount code that can be used on our Self-Service online ordering system.
Student Tours & Visits
We have a designated member of staff who looks after our Student Programme and is in charge of running and guiding the group tours in the lab.
If you feel your establishment would benefit from a talk on professional print relevance or a trip to Metro Imaging headquarters then be sure to get in contact and we’ll be happy to help.
This is a twelve-month programme designed around the needs of the individual and includes creative and conceptual advice; professional and business development; marketing identity and PR; technical experience and networking introductions and opportunities. The process is not by application, instead, it is working in collaboration and consultation with University staff and alumni, the judges identify an individual that is deserving of the support; not necessarily the best student but one who has potential to grow and mature into a successful career artist.
Please email Steve Macleod for more info.
Our Paper Profiles
Metro Imaging has the best colour management service that comes with running a long-standing professional lab. The best way to test for colour is to print one of your images, around 10×12 inches and compare it to your screen, and in the lighting environment that it will be displayed in.
Bespoke Service users do not need to worry about paper profiles. In the case of Self-Service, users may use the profiles for soft proofing, but these will be applied by Metro Imaging to the file prior to printing.
We recommend submitting your files to us in Adobe RGB (1998) as we will profile them before they go to print, however, if you are confident in profiling, we have most of our c-type paper profiles available for download down below (to do this, go to Edit > Convert to Profile and from the drop-down box select Adobe RGB (1998)).
|Prints under 40 x 30 inches||Poli C Type Prints|
|C-Type Matt||Poli Matt|
|C-Type Gloss||Poli Gloss|
|C-Type Velvet Pure Matt||Lambda Fuji Velvet|
|Giclee Fine Art||Use Adobe RGB 98|
|C-Type Metallic||Poli Metallic|
|Prints over 40 x 30 inches||Lambda C Types / B&W prints|
|Giclee Fine Art||Use Adobe RGB 98|
|C-Type Matt / B&W prints||Lambda Matt|
|C-Type Gloss||Lambda Gloss|
|C-Type Velvet Pure Matt||Lambda Velvet|
|Prints over 50 inches||LightJet C Type prints|
|C-Type Matt||LightJet Matt|
|C-Type Gloss||LightJet Gloss|
Delivery and Return Policies
Click & Collect
Just place your order online here, and we will send you an email when your order is ready for collection. You can pop by our lab in Clerkenwell, 32 Great Sutton Street, at any time from Monday to Friday between 8.30am – 6.30pm.
Also, please feel free to check out our Turnaround Times here.
Delivery options for print orders only:
We offer different delivery options including first class, next day delivery, Europe and worldwide delivery.
Delivery options for mounted and framed prints orders:
We offer different delivery options including first class, next day delivery, Europe and worldwide delivery.
Green Courier Service
Both credit and cash clients may use our green bicycle courier service for dispatching their own parcels within central London. Please contact Warren Pryce on 020 7865 0000 for a quote or to arrange a courier.
At Metro, we take customer service and satisfaction very seriously, and we assess every case of complaint individually.
If there is a production issue with your print or your mounted and framed work, please do get in touch with us and we will be happy to assist you!
Note: Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible in the case of damaged or undelivered work when being transported via Royal Mail or independent courier services.
Metro’s Tips From The Experts: Screen to Print
This month our Expert Tip comes from Ciaran Woolcombe, our Front of House & Self-Service Coordinator. Here, he shares his advice on preparing your digital files for production and how to achieve maximum quality for your prints.
Start with DPI
In printing, DPI (dots per inch) refers to the output resolution of a printer or imagesetter. At Metro, our machines run at a variety of DPIs from 200 to 400 (and some random numbers in between), we usually recommend for you to work at 300 dpi as it tends to be the best all round for art and photographic printing, then we will sort the rest!
Preparing Files for Print
The best way to get exact sizes and maintaining control over borders is to set your files up using an industry recognised image editing software. Ideally, something like Photoshop. However, there are plenty of others to choose from and should work in a fairly similar manner.
This guide will be using Photoshop, to size the same image in 3 different ways:
- – to as close to 10″ x 8″ without cropping
- – to exactly 10″ x 8″ without borders
- – to image within a 10″ x 8’’ canvas with borders
Guide 1: Image, No Border, No cropping (by pro)
First things first, once you have your file opened, you will want to size it by going to ‘Image>image size’
This will bring up an ‘Image Size’ box – make sure you have resample ticked, the DPI set to 300, and on the longest edge type in 10. Photoshop will then do the smaller edge automatically, in this case, the closest to a 10″ x 8″ we can get without cropping would be 10″ x 6.532″. (Some images will be different shapes, depending on the format of the camera it is shot on).
Also, make sure the resolution is set to Pixels/ Inch as opposed to Pixels/ Centimetre.
Guide 2: Image, No Border, Exactly 10″ x 8″ using crop tool
Once your image is opened, you will want to select your crop tool.
A box appears in the drop down box you will want to select W x H x Resolution, this will allow you to input the exact size and print dpi that you require.
I have selected 10 x 8 at 300dpi, always double check you have selected px/in as opposed to px/cm.
You will then be able to crop the image as desired and it will save it down as the selected dimensions, you can check it has worked by going to:
The file has now been cropped to exactly 10 x 8 at 300dpi.
Image Set-up On A 10″x 8″ Canvas with Borders
Once the image is opened, you will want to go to:
Here you will want to make your image size smaller than the desired final size, which in this example will be 10″ x 8″
This image Pros out to 9″ x 5.879’’
Hit okay and then you will want to go to:
Image> Canvas size
As my required final size will be 10″ x 8″ I have imputed this, hit okay and Photoshop will automatically centre the image on a 10″ x 8’’ piece of paper.
You can then check everything has gone smoothly by going back to image size:
Checking The Image Looks Good At Size
One of the key things to check is whether or not the file is holding up at the size you require, the best way to check this is using the ruler tool in Photoshop.
To make sure the rulers are turned on you will need to go to View > Rulers, and a ruler will then appear around the image, if you right click this you can then select your preferred measurement, in this case, good old-fashioned inches.
If you then zoom into the image and get the ruler to represent an inch, you are then viewing your image on screen at print size, giving you a good indication of how it’s going to turn out when printed.
Or you can zoom in to 33.3%
Out Put and Saving File
Before saving you will want to make sure your image is saved in the correct colour space, (although we have most of our c-type paper profiles available for download if you are confident in profiling), I would recommend submitting your files to us in Adobe RGB (1998) as we will profile them before they go to print.
To do this you will need to go to Edit > Convert to Profile and from the drop down box select Adobe RGB (1998)
After you have done this you will need to save your file down ideally as a .TIFF file, do this by clicking File> Save as in the format box select TIFF and hit save in your desired location.
The file will now be ready for upload to our online self-service
Ideally, for the closest translation from screen to print, you will be working on a high quality calibrated monitor such as an Eizo like we use here in the lab. This is because most backlit screens do not translate well to print, this is especially the case, with super glossy retina Mac screens which tend to make everything look much brighter and way more saturated than they are –which is great for films, but not so great for printing– this can make it difficult to predict how an image will come out when printed.
If you are really unsure we do offer a Self-Service Premier Service (which is certainly a lot cheaper than a calibrated screen!). Within this level of service, our professional technicians will check your files to make sure they are looking good and will make a few adjustments if necessary, to get the best quality print as possible.
Sub-Frame vs. Split-Battens
Depending on the size of your print and your choice of substrate, you may have the option of choosing between either split-battens or a sub-frame to hang your final piece.
Once over a metre square, mounted prints will require the additional support of an aluminium sub-frame. It’s important to note that fixings can only be applied to inflexible substrates, such as Dibond or Perspex. Materials such as Foamex and Kapa are not sturdy enough to attach fixings, as any flex will cause them to pop off. For these lighter materials, we often suggest Velcro for hanging. Sub-frames will also often be fitted within large-scale classic frames; hidden from view, but providing the frame with additional support and longevity.
Once over a metre square, it is imperative to fix your mount with a sub-frame. Sub-frames consist of narrow aluminium strips that frame the reverse of the mount, these are bonded with a pressure-sensitive adhesive and usually allow a small border from the edge of the substrate. These prevent any warping, twisting or bending from happening, keeping the mount rigid: there is consistent support for the whole piece.
As well as this, sub-frames are often the more aesthetic choice, as they sit closer to the wall in comparison with battens, as well as being slightly subtler when viewed from the side. They also provide a way of allowing the mount to hang on a normal picture hook, but can also be hung from a batten, offering multiple hanging options.
Photo mounting with modern materials, such as aluminium and Dibond have become popular in recent years for their rigid, frameless sheer look and feel. The image appears to be floating and is due to their fixings. Split-battens are a set of wooden strips cut at an angle and designed to lock together. One is permanently fixed to the mount, whilst the other is for fixing to your wall. When using battens, the substrate can be up to a maximum size of 40×30 inches. Once over a metre square, there is not enough support for the mount using this method. Split-battens are a great way of achieving the floating aesthetic, but slightly more economical than a sub-frame due to the materials used.
At Metro, we have a variety of materials and combinations available. We’re always interested in hearing back and aim to provide you with the optimum quality for your ideal finished product. For any further information, feel free to call us at 020 7865 0000 or email at email@example.com
Metro’s Frame Hire Service
Frame Hire – a practical way of showcasing your work!
When you’re thinking about framing your artwork, planning ahead is key: What is achievable within my budget? How much time have I got? What frame size do I need for my print? Where and how will I be installing these framed pieces?
If you are on a tight budget or short deadline, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
As an inexpensive alternative to our bespoke framing service, we offer short or long-term frame rental – that is from just one day, up to several weeks. Frames for hire are an ideal way to showcase your work, for instance, for one-off events, pop-ups, short exhibitions, or exhibitions where the frames won’t be required after the event.
This range of ready-to-go hire frames comes in standard frame sizes, and is constructed to our usual high standards. Built with oak moulding stained black for a classic look and supplied with standard clear glass. Complete with MDF backing and flexi-clips, our fitting costs include hanging fixings. We also have window mounts available for specific image sizes and artwork can be fitted by our team for an extra fee.
These frames are also available with or without window mounts and artwork can be fitted by our team for an extra fee.
Available in three sizes:
20″ x 16″
24″ x 20″
30″ x 20″
All frames are thoroughly checked on return so you can rest assured that they will always be in top condition.
Contact our team for bookings, costs and further information.
IMG © installation of Manny Melotra’s Free Range Solo Award show 2017
Did you know we offer Gift Vouchers here at Metro Imaging for all our Bespoke Services?
Perfect for a few rolls of film, producing a printed portfolio or finally getting that special artwork printed and framed.
Pick up one for the visual artist in your life (even if that is you!) by getting in touch with our friendly team or popping into our Clerkenwell lab.
Gift Vouchers are available from £10.00 upwards.
Metro’s Tips From The Experts: Deadlines!
Organising an exhibition or preparing framed prints can be a stressful situation at the best of times, not to mention when a deadline is looming. So we get some expert advice from our wonderful Production Manager Simon Turner and share his top tips on planning ahead when producing an exhibition, portfolio or edition prints for a deadline.
- Timing- Allow enough time to complete the work . Sometimes costing, testing images and approval /sign-off of prints takes longer than expected.
- Testing- You could need more than one round of test strips or prints to get it right. If quoted 3 days for a test and 3 days for a final print it may not be possible to fit in a 2nd test if required before your deadline.
- Printing- Prioritise the printing of your artwork. Whether you are framing here or elsewhere, it is good to allow enough time to get the print right and not be under pressure to get the work off for framing, mounting, etc. you’ll just end up rushing your final prints – which is more important the printed image or the frame?
- Finishing- Your schedule will need to allow for framing and finishing off of prints. For example, if printing takes 5 working days and framing an additional 15 days that the whole job takes 20 working days (not 15).
- Be prepared – always plan your schedule and budget well ahead of your deadline!
Metro’s Tips From The Experts: Printing With A Technician
With over 37 years of experience working within the visual arts industry Metro prides itself on the creative experts that make up our diverse team- from print technicians and retouchers to framers, scanners and client care – what our team don’t know about photography and print production just isn’t worth knowing!
This week’s tips come from one of our expert senior print technicians –the infamous Mr. Manish Patel. He shares his advice with us on preparing your files to get the best for your photographic or art prints using our in-lab Bespoke Services.
1. Don’t sharpen or crop any aspect of your image file until you have decided on the final print size, it could limit the size you can go to if you start tweaking before this.
2. If using RAW files save the .xmp (which can be done in LightRoom or Photoshop), so when we open your files in the lab we can work on your edited or layered file accordingly.
3. Leave time for testing. You may think you just need to print the files straight to your ‘go to paper’, but we have such a variety of photographic and fine art papers at Metro that experimenting with different substrates could open up a whole new element to your work.
4. Don’t hesitate to come in and view your work on our calibrated screens with a print technician, we’re here to help you get the best from your image files.
5. FYI most of us printers love Rum 😉
Metro’s Tips From The Experts: Framing Your Prints
With over 37 years of experience working within the visual arts industry Metro prides itself on the creative experts that make up our diverse team- from print technicians and retouchers to framers, scanners and client care – what our team don’t know about photography and print production just isn’t worth knowing!
Today’s tips come from our specialist framers and their advice on planning ahead when framing your photographic or art prints
1. Consider how you intend to present your work before printing (sizing and paper type can work better with certain frame styles).
2. Remember you want to show off the work – the frame should formalise but not dominate the work (less is more).
3. Be practical with what is achievable within your budget and time constraints (the finished product can still look fantastic if you have imagination and plenty of time).
4. Cheap ready-made frames will detract from your work, and may not be any cheaper than some bespoke frame options.
What Is A Limited Edition Print?
What is a limited edition print? In printmaking, an edition is a number of prints struck from one plate, usually at the same time. Most artists produce only limited editions, normally signed by the artist and numbered (eg 5/50) to show the specific print number and the total edition size. With limited edition work there will only ever be a certain number of prints produced and once they are sold, they’re gone!
Metro Imaging was one of the first UK photo imaging companies to introduce a Bespoke Limited Edition Print Service for photographers and artists. The demand for limited edition runs of prints is expanding and with that, there comes a responsibility for establishing both quality and provenance.
We work very closely with clients using our Metro Imaging Bespoke Premier Service to produce high-quality master prints. Once these prints are produced any further run on or edition is guaranteed to be consistent with the first print.
We pride ourselves in the way in which our specialist printers and technicians work – machines are regularly calibrated and serviced to ensure continuity and printers liaise directly with clients to maximise the working partnership.
In support of the edition printing service, we can provide Certificates of Authenticity and are also working closely with Tagsmart to provide non-invasive DNA and watermarking services to further protect our clients work. Our clients can also be reassured that it is their named printer that is producing the work and as we collaborate directly with manufacturers we can advise on the longevity and archival stability of materials.
We can help you create limited edition prints of your art and photography via our Bespoke Premier Service.
Controlling Your Physical Environment
1. The first step in colour management is to avoid dramatic lighting: keep it ambient in the room where you work. Don’t put your monitor in front of the window or other strong light sources and keep bright objects out of the field of view to avoid reflections on your screen.
2. Choose a nice neutral background pattern for your computer desktop. Ideally use a monitor hood to improve shading of the screen. The best, most accurate way of knowing if your screen is showing accurate colours is to invest in a spectrophotometer device such as an i1Display2 or similar. This inexpensive little gadget comes with full instructions and will perform tests on your screen to determine the output.
3. To check your screen calibration you can compare a test print side-by-side with its on-screen image using a product such as the Gretag Macbeth / XRITE Colour Checker Chart for a final check of saturation, density and hue.
Read more about the Colour Checker here.
4. Remember you can also soft-proof your prints by downloading the appropriate profile before using our self-service system. This is a good way of checking your colour is correct before going to print.
Our current screen profiling settings are Gamma 2.2. Colour temperature D64-D65 and Brightness 80 – 100 Cd/m2
Self-Service Uploading a file
1. From the Self-service page to begin the print upload and ordering process click the “Upload files” button.
2. You will then be presented with the following screen on which all you need to do is click the “Select Your Images” button. You may also select your files directly from a Dropbox folder.
3. Once you have selected your files and clicked ok you will have the option to add more images or to upload and continue.
4. Whilst the system uploads your images you will be presented with a progress indicator – this may take some time to complete if you are uploading numerous files or large images. It is also dependent on your internet connection speed; so please be patient!
5. Upon the completion of your file upload you will be presented with the main self-service ordering screen.
Here you are able to set your service, print size, paper media and border options.
6. Your uploaded file will appear in the main window in the centre.
7. If you uploaded multiple files they will be displayed as small thumbnails below the main window.
To select an alternate file, click on the appropriate thumbnail.
8. This page is where you can set the paper type, the size of the print, border size/colour, and confirm files have been set up correctly (if using Adobe Photoshop).
How to make a print on Metros’ Self-Service
Use our step-by-step guide for perfect prints
Our Self-Service is a professional quality service that brings together our expertise in colour-management with your expertise in preparing your file.
Although it is possible to upload any file, from phone camera, digital camera or scan, we would strongly advise that you follow the following steps to prepare your file from within a program such as Photoshop to ensure the best results every time:
- Cropping your image for print
- Sizing your image file in Photoshop
- Adding borders in Photoshop
- Saving your file for print
If you don’t have Adobe Photoshop; or you would prefer to try the in-built tools on the website to do so? This is totally possible. But just incase you get stuck, we have prepared a few tutorials to help you out.
- Uploading your file
- Choosing your print media and size
- Adding borders
- Checking order settings, registering and choosing delivery options
If you get stuck at any point, then just contact us Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 6.30pm
How to Sell Your Photo and Art Prints Online
Sell your photo and art prints online without the hassle…
If you want to sell your images online, hassle free and safe in the knowledge that your work is being produced to the best possible standard, by a professional and renowned print lab, then our service is for you. We take care of payment, fulfilment, delivery and any returns allowed by the distance selling regulations.
How it Works
Simply upload your images to your own fully customisable web page, allowing your clients to buy your prints straight from you. You can create as many galleries as you like, to truly show off your range of work; from limited edition prints to single art sales. You set the sizes offered, prices, paper types and finishes and we will take care of the rest.
You then share this web page via your own website or more commonly now, by social media.
Behind the scenes, we will take payment for you, your high-resolution file is retrieved from our server; your print is produced, checked, packed, labelled and posted without you lifting a finger!
There’s no set up fee, or ongoing costs, just a simple 10% commission on whatever your mark up is on any sales. Payments of your mark up are paid monthly
Supplying Your Printable Files
Files for printing should be made available via a Dropbox link to firstname.lastname@example.org or via services such as wetransfer.com. Please remember to label all images: firstname_lastname_print_title and as flattened tif files. The files need to be large enough for printing to the maximum size offered for sale. We would recommend ordering yourself a print before you offer your work for sale, using self service premier, to ensure you are happy with the service offered.
By default, production costs are based on Metro Imaging Self Service prices. This can be changed for clients who prefer a bespoke editions service by contacting us.
To give you the best chance of selling your images online, and to provide high level security for your clients, we use PayPal as our payment gateway. The 10% charged to you is to cover these transfer costs between you, the client and us, as a handling fee.
How do I get paid
To receive payment for the commission due, you will need to invoice Metro Imaging Ltd for the commission amounts shown in sales. Adding vat if you are vat registered. Metro Imaging will make payments to your invoice details using a Bacs payment direct to your bank account.
Which paper should I use for photo prints?
We have a wide variety of papers on offer here at Metro Imaging from Digital C-Type, Fine Art Giclée or Genuine Black & White…
Our C-Type papers are perfect for exhibition printing and the ideal ‘all rounder’ paper type. All our prints are produced on laser printers, giving optimum results for your images for colour accuracy, light fastness and archival quality. Our digital c-type papers range from classic photographic finishes such as matt and gloss to speciality papers like Velvet, Metallic, Duratran and Supergloss.
What is the image resolution for photo printing?
Image resolution for printing is the fineness of detail you can see in an image. It is measured in pixels per inch (ppi). The more pixels per inch, the greater the resolution. You can think of this as similar to thread count in cotton sheets, or knots in handmade carpets: the higher the number per inch, the better the quality.
When you come to print, the pixels (ppi) are translated into dots (dpi). The image size of a file is a measure of the number of pixels along an image’s width and height. This is called the pixel dimensions and is measured in MBs. The document size of an image determines how large or small our image is going to print based on the image resolution.
As you change the resolution of a file, its physical dimensions change, and vice versa. Imagine the file as a flexible ball of data: rolled up tight there is a high resolution (pixel density) but low (linear) size. Rolled out flat, the resolution (density of pixels) is lower but the (linear) size has increased. It’s just like pastry!
Resizing is changing the size the image will print without changing the number of pixels in the image. Resampling changes the number of pixels in the image. Photoshop resamples images using interpolation methods to assign colour values to any new pixels based on the colour values of existing pixels.
You can read more about the different methods here. Information about how to use these elements in creating the best quality file for printing can be found in Using Photoshop to Resize and Resample. Understanding these basic terms will help you create better files, and in turn, better prints.
The printing resolutions for some of different image sizes and services are:
Black and White Resin Coated printing 200 – 400DPI
Black and White Fibre Based (Bromide) printing 200 – 400DPI
Ctype (chromagenic) printing upto 40×30 inches: 305 DPI
Ctype (chromagenic) printing above 40×30 inches: 200 – 400 DPI
Giclee fine art printing 300 DPI
For futher information please contact our team
What is a Lightjet printer?
The Océ Lightjet 500XL is probably one of the most amazing photographic printers in the world. At Metroprint we have one of ten Lightjet 500XLs in the world so all our C Types over 48” wide are printed on this machine. Until we netted ours, you had to go to Dusseldorf to find another one available for photographers. We decided it was time to change all that and now prints measuring ten by six feet are within reach of any photographer in the UK.
It works by instead of copying the image, the lasers write the image onto photographic paper using an internal 270 degree drum. The paper is held still in a cylinder while the lasers get to work. Laser light is reflected by a spinning mirror moving along the axis of the cylinder onto the surface of the media. ‘Uniform spot size and shape’ means that even the edges and corners of an image are as razor sharp as the centre. This uniformity is better than any other optical printing technique.
This technology results in better image sharpness, uniform density and colour and the highest geometric accuracy over the whole print. As you can probably imagine, this printer needs special treatment, so our large format Digital C Types are processed slightly differently to other colour photographic prints.
What is colour management?
Colour management is simply the methods generally used to control the colour accuracy of files and photo prints. At Metroprint we follow all four steps outlined below and one very important further step: all our printers and processors are calibrated every time we load new photo paper.
Colour management for photo prints consists of five simple steps:
1. Controlling light in your room
2. Calibrating your monitor
3. Using Adobe’s Colour Workspace
4. Previewing your file with a soft proof profile before going to print
5. View your final print in daylight conditions
To achieve maximum accuracy you should follow all four steps. The first three are all set-up, so only need to be undertaken once. The last should be used whenever you go to print if you want to be as absolutely close as possible to the lab situation.
1. A brightly lit room, a tilted screen, or just an old screen: these simple factors play havoc with predicting the final colour of your print. You should replace your monitor about every 4 years as the colour accuracy does diminish over time. We recommend CRT or LCD monitor types and bear in mind that laptops are very difficult to work with due to the changing angle of the screen. In terms of monitors: we prefer NEC, Eizo, Mac or Lacie.
2. New monitors are generally more accurate than old ones but they leave the factory with default settings that might need a tweak. Follow our simple instructions to mirror your monitor settings on your Mac or PC and you will be closer to a professional in-lab situation, giving you greater accuracy for the next two steps.
3. Photoshop uses colour ‘workspaces’ to reduce the amount of shifting taking place when a file is transferred from one format to another. You probably will have noticed the software asking if you would like to convert certain files to the default workspace? Whether or not you have set it up, you will be working in a colour workspace if you are using Photoshop. Like most printers, Metro work in the Adobe 98 colour workspace and using our simple set-up instructions you can have greater control over the colour of your files at the printing stage.
4. All printers use ‘profiles’: individually made files that calibrate a specific individual printer to one type of paper with one specific set of printer driver settings. Softproofing is a method of looking at what changes the profile will make to translate your file for the specifics of paper and printer. You can toggle between your file and the soft proof file to see how colours have changed as a result of the printer profile. By previewing these changes you can make adjustments to your file (increase the saturation of red or green for example) to allow for these changes.
5. If you are producing a large number of prints it can be useful to look at them together in one place to reduce the variation in conditions. A well-lit room in the daytime is probably the most ideal situation.
What is the difference between Laser & LED printing?
Lambda and Lightjet are both brands of laser printer companies (Durst and Océ, respectively) that developed innovative digital replacements for traditional darkroom printing. Rather than using a bulb to expose light on photographic paper, these printers use three lasers (red, green and blue) to expose light onto photographic silver halide paper, advancing through the Lambda and in the Lightjet, rolled inside a large drum. The exposed paper is then processed in photographic chemistry to create a perfectly archival, digital but traditional C Type print. Hence the term, ‘digital C Type‘.
Laser printers such as Lambda and Lightjet are the preferred choice by artists and photographers the world over. Laser systems rely on elaborate combinations of rotating mirrors and lenses that must remain in alignment through use. LED technology uses a Light Emitting Diode print-head as a light source which is ‘solid-state’ (i.e. fixed) and has no moving parts.
But at Metro Imaging we know that the needs of photographers, particularly for fine art, are quite specific and based more around the quality of the image, rather than the speed or efficiency of the machine. For artists and photographers the key issue is resolution and image quality. Here laser printers win hands down. Compare, for example the Durst Lambda (laser) printer with a commonly used LED printer: the ZBE’s Chromira:
|ZBE Chromira||300ppi||1500 dpi|
|Durst Lambda Laser||400ppi||4000dpi|
|Océ Lightjet Laser||300ppi||4000dpi|
What is a Lambda printer?
We’ve had Lambda printers at Metro Imaging for years and we rely on them to produce not only all our colour digital C Types over 30 inches wide, but also our black and white Lambda prints. The Durst Lambda was one of the first ever laser printers to produce digital C Types. The technology uses a continuous roll to roll single beam, 3-laser (RGB) exposure system which means that you can make prints up to any length, with a width of up to 50 inches. The combination of size, flexibility and image quality has made the Lambda a staple of the best photographic labs across the world.
How does it work? In a similar vein to the Lightjet, digital information is exposed directly onto conventional photographic media. Linear writing speed is superfast: up to 65 cm per minute with a choice of 200 and 400 ppi (equal to an apparent resolution of 4000 dpi) resolutions. The Lambda produces images with the highest possible resolution (68 billion colours!).
Don’t forget the ‘Lambda’ is the machine, not a print type!
What is a Digital C-Type Print?
A digital C Type or Chromagenic print is any photographic print that has been exposed using digital technology, rather than traditional analogue (otherwise known as ‘darkroom’) techniques. In an analogue setting, an enlarger, an optical apparatus similar to a slide projector, projects the image of a negative onto a sheet of photographic paper whilst controlling focus, intensity and duration of light.
With a digital C Type (Chromagenic print) this part of the process is controlled from a computer and the paper is exposed using lasers or LEDs rather than a bulb. The second part of the traditional process is much the same however: the paper is processed in a photographic developer, followed by bleach fix before being washed to remove the processing chemicals.
So a digital C Type (Chromagenic) is a traditional photographic print, made from a digital file rather than a negative. Many customers think that a ‘digital print’ has to be a Giclée print but this is not so. A Giclée print is quite different, using no chemistry or light sensitivity.
How to handle a Giclée print
Handling a Giclée print is a common question we are asked at Metro as fine art prints are susceptible to damage much more than a C Type print. When it comes to Giclée prints we recommend only using this paper when intending to frame straight away. If are are looking for portfolio prints, or free-hanging prints for an exhibition, we will always recommend using C Type papers as these are much more durable.
- All Metroprint Giclées come rolled over 20 x 16 inches and above
- Always handle you Giclée print wearing cotton gloves and avoid touching the print itself
- If you don’t have gloves, make sure you have clean hands and do not touch the ink – even the smallest amount of oil or grease that occurs naturally can damage an inkjet
- Always hold the print by it’s edges and do not bend the print
- We recommend printing Giclées with a border, so you have ‘clean’ paper to handle, this is useful for larger prints that come rolled.
- All Giclées naturally ‘curl’. To uncurl a print: Place the print on a flat, clean surface away from direct sunlight and leave the protective tissue over the print. Place a book, or another heavy object on the very ends of the print. After a few hours the print should become flat.
Self-Service Standard vs Self-Service Premier
What are the differences?
Our professional photographic printing department is uniquely equipped to fulfil everything from standard to the most complex creative brief. We have designed our photographic printing services to meet the needs of all levels, from simple Self-Service photo printing online, to in-depth consultation and curation via our Bespoke service.
This is our most effective solution for photographers: ideal for those on a budget, students, or who simply want full control of their images. Self-Service standard means you colour correct, size and fully prepare your print for printing. During the ordering process, you can set your print size as uploaded or pick from our ‘set size’ menu. You can also add borders at this stage if you so wish. We have many how-to guides with Photoshop tips and tricks, as well as a step by step guide to ordering to help you every step of the way.
We’ve noticed that some customers still want a professional eye cast over their images, perhaps to fine-tune them here and there – just to give them a little bit of extra TLC.
That’s where our Premier level Self-Service comes in; for an additional 50% of the Standard Self-Service fees, one of our expert technicians will correct your colours to make sure they’re properly neutral and check that the blacks are black, the whites, white. This quick expert judgement could make all the difference to your final print and help to avoid any disappointment.
You can send instructions for specific images with your order or just ask us to look over the whole file, all the other standard Self-Service options apply with the same quick turnaround, it’s that simple.
Visit this link for more detailed information on the differences between Metro Imaging printing services.
Metro Online Print Sales extra info
If you’re using Metro’s online service for selling your photography or art prints then the points below will be of use to you. If you’re not, then check it out and register for free today!
PRINT & IMAGE SIZES
Sizes will vary according to the original format that the image was shot in. Print sizes stated are a guide to the paper size that the image is printed on. All images will be printed with borders.
MOUNTING & FRAMING
All photographic printing, mounting, bespoke framing and delivery and is carried out by Metro Imaging Ltd in London, to the highest professional standards. In the event of a query with your order please email us on email@example.com or call us on 020 7865 0000
The colour of your prints is liable to vary from the colours seen on screen depending on the calibration of your monitor compared to the original file supplied by the photographer. All prints are produced individually by expert technicians at Metro Imaging.
Please allow up to five working days for prints and from 10 days after print time for mounted and framed prints.
For all work sent via Royal Mail 1st Class please see here for their delivery times, we will do our upmost to adhere to production deadlines . However, in accordance with Royal Mail postal services, Metro Imaging cannot be held liable for delayed; misplaced or damaged goods once item(s) have departed from the Metro Imaging premises.
Which Photo Mounting Material Should I Use?
To assist you with deciding which option to use – we have a full set of mounting samples in reception to help you choose.
To help you decide which material to use we have prepared a chart that outlines the relative benefits of each substrate.
|Card||Ultra-light||1500 x1280 mm||Poor||Poor||Yes|
|Foamex||Light||3000 x 2000 mm||Poor||Good||No|
|Foamboard||Ultra-light||2440 x 1220 mm||OK||Poor||No|
|MDF||Heavy||3000 x 1512 mm||Excellent||Excellent||No|
|Aluminium||Medium Light||3000 x 2000 mm||Good||Excellent||Yes|
|Dibond||Light||3000 x 2000 mm||Excellent||Excellent||Yes|
|Kapamount||Light||3050 x 1530 mm||Good||Good||Yes|
|Acrylic||Medium-Heavy||3000 x 2000 mm||Good||Excellent||Yes|
Paper Size Conversion Chart
|| A Sizes
|10 x 8
||25.4 x 20.3
||254 x 203
|11 3/4 x 8 1/4
||29.7 x 21.0
||297 x 210
|12 x 10
||30.5 x 25.4
||305 x 254
|14 x 11
||35.6 x 27.9
||356 x 279
|16 x 12
||40.6 x 30.5
||406 x 305
|16 1/2 x 11 3/4
||42.0 x 29.7
||420 x 297
|20 x 16
||50.8 x 40.6
||508 x 406
|23 1/3 x 16 1/2
||59.4 x 42.0
||594 x 420
|24 x 20
||61.0 x 50.8
||610 x 508
|30 x 20
||76.2 x 50.8
||762 x 508
|30 x 30
||76.2 x 76.2
||762 x 762
|33 x 23 1/2
||84.1 x 59.4
||841 x 594
|36 x 24
||91.4 x 61.0
||914 x 610
|40 x 30
||101.6 x 76.2
||1016 x 762
|47 x 33
||118.9 x 84.1
||1189 x 841
|48 x 36
||121.9 x 91.4
||1219 x 914
|60 x 40
||152.4 x 101.6
||1524 x 1016
|48 x 48
||121.9 x 121.9
||1219 x 1219
|72 x 48
||183.0 x 121.9
||1830 x 1219
||229.0 x 121.9
||2290 x 1219
|96 x 48
||244.0 x 121.9
||2440 x 1219
What Is Baryta Paper?
Baryta is a special barium sulphate coating that is traditionally applied to a fibre photographic paper base prior to coating with the emulsion layers. The technical benefits of the Baryta layer include greater detail and definition, extended tonal range and excellent archival properties. In addition, Baryta coated fibre papers have a unique look and feel which have become the standard for fine art photographers worldwide.
Also known as fibre based, this paper has the photographic emulsion coated directly onto the fibres of the paper so, in processing, chemistry soaks into the paper making it much slower to process, wash and dry. FB papers also react much better than RC papers to toning and other special effects, and are available in a much greater variety of specialty finishes. We recommend FB papers for their archival permanence and for producing the most beautiful fine art and exhibition prints.
At Metro we offer black and white photographic fibre-based prints from digital files on Lambda and also Baryta Giclee prints.
One of the main reasons for using Baryta paper with inkjet printing is the ability to use photo black pigment inks.
What Is Laser Printing?
Lambda and Lightjet are both brands of laser printer companies (Durst and Océ, respectively) that developed innovative digital replacements for traditional darkroom printing. Rather than using a bulb to expose light on photographic paper, these printers use three lasers (red, green and blue) to expose light onto photographic silver halide paper, advancing through the Lambda and in the Lightjet, rolled inside a large drum. The exposed paper is then processed in photographic chemistry to create a perfectly archival, digital but traditional C Type print. Hence the term, “Digital C Type“.
The Durst Lambda was one of the first ever laser printers to produce C Type photographic prints. The technology uses a continuous roll-to-roll single beam, 3-laser (RGB) exposure system which means that you can make prints up to any length, with a width of up to 50”. How does it work? Digital information is exposed directly onto conventional photographic media. Linear writing speed is superfast with a choice of 200 and 400 ppi (equal to an apparent resolution of 4000 dpi)resolution. The Lambda produces images with the highest possible resolution (68 billion colours!!!)
Laser systems rely on elaborate combinations of rotating mirrors and lenses that must remain in alignment through use. ‘Uniform spot size and shape’ means that even the edges and corners of a Lightjet print are as razor sharp as the centre. This uniformity is better than any other optical printing technique. This technology results in better image sharpness, uniform density and colour and the highest geometric accuracy over the whole print.
But at Metro Imaging we know that the needs of photographers, are quite specific and based more around the quality of the image, rather than the speed or efficiency of the machine. For artists and photographers the key issue is resolution and image quality. Here laser printers win hands down.
Compare, for example the Durst Lambda (laser) printer with two commonly used LED printers: the Durst (LED) Theta printer and ZBE’s Chromira:
|Durst Theta LED||254ppi||1,200 dpi|
|ZBE Chromira||300ppi||1500 dpi|
|Durst Lambda Laser||400ppi||4000dpi|
|Océ Lightjet Laser||300ppi||4000dpi|
How Long Will My Photographic Print Last?
Factors that determine print life
In determining image stability and the lifespan of a print at the acceptable margins of change there are many factors which cause image degradation in silver halide based Colour C Type papers and Inkjet materials. There are mainly four mechanisms that contribute to determining longevity for photographic prints:
- Degradation of the dyes caused by heat
- Degradation of the dyes caused by light
- Yellowing of the minimum densities (DMin) due to light or heat
- Degradation of the Resin base
These same four degradation mechanisms also apply to Inkjet materials. The following further factors also have a bearing on lifespan:
- Ambient moisture (relative humidity)
- Atmospheric pollutants
- Direct water contact
To determine average lifespans of materials all these degradation mechanisms need to be taken into account, as it’s not just the permanence of the paper dyes or ink that will determine fade. A material could have excellent light and thermal fade performance but poor print life if the colorant stability is poor when exposed to moisture or atmospheric pollutants.
It is extremely important to recognize that the life of the image may not necessarily be limited by the stability of the image dyes. So we have to be careful of a manufacturer who states lifespan purely on dye stability or light stability alone or who uses only light fade data to describe the performance of a product, as it is very likely to not present an accurate prediction of print life.
How bright is a typical home environment for display? Light is measured in Lux and with 12 hours daylight in a room with west and south facing windows then you would expect light levels between 100 to 500 Lux up to a peak of 1000 Lux with a mixture of indirect and direct sun and artificial illumination in the evening. An average day over the year would be around 200 to 400 Lux illumination, dependent on the season.
Typical Colour C Type Print Lifespans
The following gives a guide to different environments and average expectant lifespans of Colour C Type prints.
|Museum||150 Lux||Over 100 years|
|Office||450 Lux||35 years|
|Commercial Display||1000 Lux||8.5 years|
|Commercial Display||5000 Lux||20 months|
Kodak Endura Paper
Kodak papers incorporate a patented coupler technology that shows good thermal stability. They state Colour C Type prints stored in total darkness in ideal atmospheric conditions can last over 200 years before noticeable fade occurs but this is not a typical situation for print usage. In a photo album Colour C Type print life should exceed 100 years.
Fuji Crystal Archive C Type Paper
Fuji paper is made at Tilburg in the Netherlands and Fuji state that the light stability of Fujicolor Crystal Archive papers at 500 lux is over 40 years. As already stated in domestic situations sunlit areas may be bright as 1,000 lux or more during the day and drop to 100 to 200 Lux in the evening. Normal storage conditions are usually designated to be at an average of 500 lux of light exposure for 12 hours per day.
This gives Crystal Archive papers an image stability of 133 years at 150 lux.
The dark stability of Fujicolor Crystal Archive papers kept in total darkness in ideal atmospheric conditions is over 200 years
Epson Inkjet prints
Without being restricted to a few choices of media to achieve professional requirements for longevity, Epson UltraChrome K3 inks are designed to work as a system with a wide range of professional media. Epson UltraChrome K3 ink has improved print permanence characteristics that provide light fastness ratings of up to 108 years for Colour and over 200 years for Black and White prints under rigorous industry accepted display conditions.
Technical information credited to Kodak, Fuji and Epson