David Saffir: Why I Can’t Live Without SpyderPRINT!
Aug 2012 23

I’m a commercial and fine art photographer, and fine art printmaker, living near Los Angeles. My client base includes manufacturing and service companies, designers, photographers, 3D map-making, equipment distributors, and printmakers. And, of course, making my own large-format prints is a lot of work, but it is also a labor of love.

I deal with a very wide range of situations – the software and hardware combinations are almost unlimited. Even so, it is possible to “lock down” color management issues and control workflow from capture to print.

When I say “lock down” color management, I’m referring to a well-integrated system of software and hardware. Each component has to be set up correctly to play its part in the chain, taking in information, processing it, and passing it along to the next step.

A good example of well-controlled production is one in which we have a good match between display and print output; in other words, good “screen to print match”. This is the most common color problem I encounter in the field. If the display is properly calibrated, and the match is poor, the printer is usually the issue – and that’s where technology solutions like SpyderPRINT come in!

Uncontrolled print output can be a real headache. Printers, as good as they have become in recent years, are still subject to environmental changes, variations in ink formulation, wear, incorrect setup, changes in media, and so on. Custom, and customizable, printer/paper profiles are often the answer.

This is why I can’t live without SpyderPRINT. Unparalleled in ease of use, highly accurate and customizable, it offers a quick route to creating accurate printer/paper profiles, getting your printer under control. It also lets you customize print output in a number of ways, including adjusting key characteristics of each profile, and facilitates accurate on-screen color preview, or “soft proofing”.

Here are a few examples of how SpyderPRINT has helped me recently:

  • A fine-art photographer set up a new studio, with all new equipment, including computers, software, printers, and the like. Soon after he put it all together, he started running into issues with screen to print match. He was in the classic trap of “make a print, tweak it on-screen, make a print….”. I demonstrated SpyderPRINT for him, and we made a new paper profile that really brought out the highlight detail in his images. Soon he was making his own printer/paper profiles, and testing new paper types – without the time headaches and waste of materials.
  • In recent work on my new promotional folio, I wanted to test a new baryte-based fine art inkjet paper from a third-party manufacturer. I had some issues getting the blacks to “pop”, which hurt overall contrast. Using SpyderPRINT (and it’s accompanying software) I created a custom profile with more intense darks and shadow areas to get the result needed.
  • A designer I was working with was using a mid-sized inkjet printer to “hard proof” customized sales pages before sending them to her print service provider (PSP). We obtained a range of printed pages from the PSP, and used the utility in SpyderPRINT to match her printer output to the PSP – no more headaches!

In my fine art work, I can achieve nuance of color and tone that I need in my landscape and still life images. For example, at times I’ve adjusted a profile for a desired “look” in a series of prints, rather than tweak each one individually in Photoshop or Lightroom.

In each of these cases, SpyderPRINT made it possible to control the printer, and if needed, create customized print output to fit the needs of the artist, designer, or producer. This saves time and money, of course, but it also makes one’s work more competitive – better results, in less time, at lower cost.

I feel that anyone involved in high-quality image production should approach it as a step-by-step process. It can be managed effectively – given the right tools. Take a look at the Spyder line of hardware and software – you’ll find solutions that can help you manage your color workflow from capture to print.

David Saffir is a commercial and fine art photographer and printmaker, located in Southern California, and a well-known speaker at workshops and conferences across the US.