Today is my public service announcement day. It’s a lesson I learned many years ago, but every once in a while it comes back to remind me that I’ve gotten a little too relaxed. It mostly rears it’s head when printing your photos, and it’s something that we can easily overlook before sending that image off to print.

See, a couple of weeks ago I got a print from iAcrylic (there’s a photo of me holding it below).

mattacrylic

The print looks absolutely phenomenal in person. It takes the beauty of printing on metallic and combines it with acrylic. The acrylic not only gives a 3-dimensional feel to the photo and looks really cool, but it also helps avoid the glare that we usually get from highly reflective metallic prints. Stunning is the one word that comes to mind when you see these things. Anyway, when I got the print I held it up and, just like every photographer does (but shouldn’t do), I looked at it from about 6 inches away. Guess what I saw? Three spots from sensor dust or debris that I hadn’t cloned out of the sky. I really thought I was diligent about clearing away all the spots, but I must have missed these. Luckily, if you’re a normal person (not a photographer), you’d never stand as close as I did and you’d never see these spots. Plus, there were only 3 small ones.

But it did remind me of a lesson I learned years ago when I started printing. You need to be meticulous about removing spots. I mean absolutely meticulous. When you look at your photo full screen on your computer monitor, sometimes you just can’t see these spots. Take a look at the image below. This is the same image I sent to them and you can’t see the spots at this small a size right?

spots_small

But when you zoom in, you can see the spots in the sky (see below). Again, I was really lucky in that most people would never notice them. In fact, about 15 people saw this print in the office and nobody even noticed. I had to point them out, and even then, they had a hard time seeing them. But I haven’t always been so lucky. Spots have ruined some of my prints before, so I figured I’d share a couple of quick tips to help remove them.

spots_large

Tip 1: I typically use Lightroom’s Spot Removal Tool if I’m only editing in Lightroom, or Photoshop’s Spot Healing Brush (with the Content Aware option turned on).

tip1

Tip 2: Zoom WAY in to your photo so that you everything up close. I mean, zoom in to at least 100% of not more.

tip2

Tip 3: Here’s a great tip to help you see spots because sometimes they’re hard to find (especially with skies). Duplicate your layer in Photoshop and go to Image > Adjustments > Invert (or just press Cmd-I on the Mac or Ctrl-I on the PC). This inverts your photo’s colors and, for some reason, makes it easier to see spots.

tip3

I hope this little service announcement helps save you from those annoying little spots. Even though they’re usually not overwhelmingly obvious in your prints, they tend to bug us because we just know they’re there. And if you’re like me, because we’re taking the time and energy (and money) to print our photos, we want them to be as good as possible.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good one!