1. More pixels are required to print a high-quality, sharp image (300ppi) than to view your images on a computer monitor (72ppi). The larger the print, the more pixels you need.
2. Set your camera's image quality at the highest resolution possible. This setting is found in your camera's menu. A high resolution image gives you the creative freedom to adjust and crop without losing so many pixels as to reduce the quality of your print.
3. A good rule of thumb is to set your ISO to 100 or 200. If you're shooting in a low light situation without flash, raise your ISO to allow for a faster shutter speed and reduce blur (400-1600). Keep in mind that a higher ISO can translate to discolored pixels appearing in your image, also known as "noise".
4. Get out of Automatic Mode. By shooting in one of the Creative Modes you have more control over your camera and the resulting image. For example, Sports Mode allows you to capture the action by automatically using a faster shutter speed.
5. If your background is brighter than your subject, you may need to shoot in Manual Mode and adjust your shutter speed and aperture for the best exposure.
6. Select a subject. Whether it's a person, place, or thing, choose something that is meaningful and beautiful to you.
7. Compose your image and play with scale, the rule of thirds, and line. For example, a diagonal line draws the viewers eye through the scene and creates a dynamic feel to the image.
8. Choose a printer. The decision comes down to paper size, ink, and price. If you intend on printing quality images, invest in a dedicated photo printer.
9. Choose a paper. You can find watercolor paper or thick matte stock paper at your local office supply, photography store, or online. For the optimum longevity, use the same manufacturer for your printer, paper, and ink.
10. Sign your print. Limited edition prints are normally signed and numbered by the artist in pencil, for example 1/25. The first number is the number of the print itself. The second number is the number of overall prints you plan to print of that image.
Prepared by Erin Manning. For more information, visit www.erinmanning.com.
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