David Giral Photography Blog | Just Off the Press: A first cover for Montreal Home Magazine … and simple steps to getting your pictures ready for press!
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Just Off the Press: A first cover for Montreal Home Magazine … and simple steps to getting your pictures ready for press!

A few months ago, I was contacted by the editorial team of Montreal Home Magazine through my Photoshelter website and asked if I’d be interested in shooting homes for them.

Considering that shooting architecture and beautiful interiors has always been a passion and I was thrilled to be part of this new adventure. Working as an editorial photographer for a magazine was one my goals so I felt I had to seize the opportunity and make the best for it.

As I’ve learned since, being a professional is about solving problems. Even though working with a talented team of editors, art directors and stylists makes it so much easier, each assignment is a learning experience and you have to be prepared to solve issues.

One of my quirks is that I love being on location early, it gives me time to relax before everyone gets there and it alllows me to start early if necessary. It’s also perfect to visualize what I’m about to photograph, plan the shots and assess potential issues.

For that specific assignment, we were shooting an advertorial (editorial paid by a client). The home, as amazing as it was and valued around 3M$, had very few furniture so we had to be creative in the styling (done by stylist Jean Monet and editor Stephanie Whittaker) and photography. It is key for this type of assignments to show the location at is best by showing its best assets. In the specific example, the best thing about this ome was a spectacular atrium and that’s the shot that the publisher/art director picked for the cover:

Having received a hard copy of the magazine, my first action was to check the hardcopy and compare it to the picture on the computer. The first thing In noticed is that the paper version of the image was less contrasty and colors were a bit mute, to make it short the image looked flat. So I met with the art director and the meeting confirmed my intuition that I had forgotten about an important step in preparing my pictures for press (which is really a rookie mistake in my opinion).

That key step was converting the file from sRGB to CMYK and most importantly compensate for the white paper. So how does one go about fixing that in Photoshop?

  1. in the view menu, choose the proof setup to working CMYK (being in Canada, I use CMYK – U.S. WEB Coated (SWOP) v2)
  2. in the view menu, select proof colors. As you’ll notice right away, the contrast changes right away, the image looking less saturated and bit more flat.
  3. Now on to the critical step, create a curves adjustment in Photoshop with the following settings (point:5,0 ;point 63,56 ;point:128,128 ;point:191,198 ;point: 250:255). What those settings do is compensate for the white of the paper by clipping both highlights and shadows slightly and by adding a bit of contrast (which increases also saturation). See below for the complete action that I use to convert a RGB file to a CMYK TIFF.
  4. flatten the file (if needed)
  5. in the file menu, select “convert to profile” and select working CMYK – U.S. WEB Coated (SWOP) v2 (check with your art director or printing company for the right profile)
  6. finally, save to TIFF.

That’s it! Using those easy 6 steps, you ensure that your files are print ready and will look as contrasty in jpeg on your screen than printed in the magazine.

Thanks for viewing!

David Giral is a published Montreal/Toronto based editorial and commercial professional photographer specialized in architecture, interiors, portrait and travel photography.

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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright David Giral (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without permission from David Giral.


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