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Printing at Costco. Export (TIF/PNG)? or Print To File (JPEG)?

TexasPilot

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I have been getting very good prints - especially 12x18, 16x20 and 20x30 at Costco thanks to this forum's advice. From here I learned about monitor calibration (Colormunki) and embedding Costco printer profiles (Dry Creek Photo).

The tech at the Costco indicated that I will see no noticeable between uploading a honking-huge TIFF file versus a maximum-sized, maximum-quality JPEG, with the embedded printer profiles and auto correction turned OFF.

First question - is the tech correct? JPEG just as good as a TIFF. (I want to make really nice enlargements for friends (farm and ranch scenes) but I'm not selling fine art or portraits or weddings. Actually I don't sell anything.

Secondly, if a max-max JPEG will do me well, is it better to "Export" or use the "Print Module."

Many thanks - as always.

(My copy of "Lightroom CC - The Missing FAQ, pages 423 - 430 did not help me with this question. Maybe I missed it.)

Ed
San Antonio, Texas
 
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It depends on the printer but loosely speaking for most printers the tech is correct.

TIFFs are most useful when you are doing repeated open/saves with edits in between (as the compression in JPG is lossy, and applies each time), and 16 bit TIFFs give you lots of "room" for editing functions that might compress/stretch the histogram, so you do not lose data each time.

Neither of those apply to the printer (unless you are letting them do the crops or color management, which is mostly a bad idea for all sorts of reasons).

If I was providing an image to (say) a magazine art department who was going to further process it, I would expect to provide a TIFF (16 bit and not sRGB but something with room).

If I was just sending it to a printer to be printed as-is, I would not expect a TIFF to be better, and only some printers can make use of wider gamuts than sRGB.

For a destination that knows what they are doing you cannot go wrong with TIFF, but if the destination doesn't (for example how to convert color spaces) it can actually be worse than a JPG, as they might do something stupid with it. Like not make the color space compatible (the equivalent of doing an assign not convert in photo shop).
 
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Specifically for sending out individual photos to be printed at Costco, you should be fine with a high-quality JPEG from the Export command. Using the Print to JPEG File feature can be useful when you need to send Costco a job that can't be created using the Export command, like a photo layout of three images that you've laid out in the Print module, or wanting to print an 8x10 centered on an 11x14 sheet of paper.

In a print, you probably won't see the difference between a TIFF, a JPEG set to maximum quality (100), and a JPEG set to 80 quality. But the JPEG 80 version will have a much smaller file size. Below 80 you'll start to see a visible quality drop. Again, choosing JPEG over TIFF is better only for final output (prints, website uploads), since TIFF is better for editing as was already discussed.

If you haven't seen this before, here's a great analysis of how the JPEG quality settings work:
An Analysis of Lightroom JPEG Export Quality Settings
 

TexasPilot

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Joined
Sep 26, 2015
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San Antonio, Texas
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Specifically for sending out individual photos to be printed at Costco, you should be fine with a high-quality JPEG from the Export command. Using the Print to JPEG File feature can be useful when you need to send Costco a job that can't be created using the Export command, like a photo layout of three images that you've laid out in the Print module, or wanting to print an 8x10 centered on an 11x14 sheet of paper.

In a print, you probably won't see the difference between a TIFF, a JPEG set to maximum quality (100), and a JPEG set to 80 quality. But the JPEG 80 version will have a much smaller file size. Below 80 you'll start to see a visible quality drop. Again, choosing JPEG over TIFF is better only for final output (prints, website uploads), since TIFF is better for editing as was already discussed.

If you haven't seen this before, here's a great analysis of how the JPEG quality settings work:
An Analysis of Lightroom JPEG Export Quality Settings
Thank you so much.
 
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