Essential Steps When Printing From DxO PhotoLab 6
What You Need To Know About Printing From DxO PhotoLab
Are you asking yourself “How should I Print from DxO PhotoLab?”. If you are, allow me to share how I achieve good results.
In this tutorial, I want to share my process for printing from DxO PhotoLab 6. I’ll also explain exactly what you need to do to print your photos with accurate colours. And by accurate colours, I mean so that your prints match the colours on your computer monitor.
Here is the link to the trial of the latest DxO PhotoLab version if you are considering using the software: https://tidd.ly/3bXfArW
Essential Before Printing From DxO PhotoLab
When printing from DxO PhotoLab, there are a couple of essential steps you must take for good results:
- Make sure that you are using a calibrated monitor. If you’re editing photography with an uncalibrated screen, it’s almost certain that your colours will be wrong. I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve been contacted by people struggling to make accurate prints, only to find this was the cause. If you don’t know how to calibrate your screen, read my calibration article.
- Soft Proof your finished photo. This allows you to make vital decisions about how to print the image and what settings to use in DxO PhotoLab. The Soft Proofing process is fully explained in my DxO PhotoLab Soft Proofing
After completing these steps, you are ready to print your photo in PhotoLab.
Set up the Page Before Printing (Optional)
This first step is optional because you can access the same settings in the Print dialog later. It’s still worth understanding how to do this though.
First, select the “File” menu in DxO PhotoLab, where you can choose the “Page Setup” option. This opens the page setup dialog which you can see below.
In the dialog there is a dropdown where you can choose the printer to print to. There is also a second paper size dropdown where you can select common print sizes as well as setup custom paper sizes. Then below this, we have the page orientation which you can set to be either Portrait or Landscape.
After selecting your Page settings, click the OK button to apply them.
Now it’s time to print the photo.
The DxO PhotoLab Print Dialog
To open the DxO PhotoLab print dialog, click the “File” menu, and select the “Print” option. You should then see the print dialog appear on screen as shown below.
Here you can see the dialog divided into two sections:
- In the top section we can choose the printer to use. Also in this section, we have a second dropdown where we can choose a Preset for the print. These are used to configure the printing options and can be an easy shortcut to setting up the printing.
- In the lower section of the dialog, we have the printing options. We’ll be looking at these in detail shortly.
The Presets in the top section of the dialog set up the printing options. Several of these come with DxO PhotoLab, but there’s also an option to create and save your own. I recommend doing this once you have configured the Print dialog. You will then be able to return to those settings by selecting your preset from the list. There are a lot of printing options, and saving a Preset will avoid making mistakes, as well as saving time.
Now let’s go through the DxO PhotoLab printing options, in the lower part of the dialog.
Please be aware that your screen may differ from the screenshots in this article. There may be differences between the Mac and Windows versions of the software as well as different makes and models of printer. This article uses the Mac version of DxO PhotoLab with an Epson Stylus Pro 3880 printer. You should still be able to follow it though, even if your setup is different to mine.
DxO Colour and Sharpness Settings
You can see these settings in the screenshot below.
At the top of the dialog is a dropdown set to “DxO – Color and sharpness”. The dropdown is used to navigate between different groups of settings when printing from DxO PhotoLab.
Here we see several options which are:
- Colour management. The options here are to have the printing colour “Managed by DxO PhotoLab” or “Managed by your printer”. I like to use “Managed by DxO PhotoLab” which is explained in the rest of this article.
- Having DxO PhotoLab manage the colours, allows you to select the colour profile in the dropdown. This is where we choose the colour profile to use for printing. You should select the same profile that you used for Soft Proofing. This should also match the paper and printer being used to make the print.
- The rendering Intent dropdown has two options which are “Relative” and “Perceptual”. These are chosen during the Soft Proofing process so you should already know which to select.
- The Sharpness slider controls the additional sharpening applied to the image when printing. This is to compensate for the softening effect of printing. The default level of 50 seems to work well most of the time.
When you’ve applied your settings, click the dropdown at the top of this section, and choose “DxO – Image settings”.
DxO Image Settings
You can see a screenshot of the “DxO – Image settings” below.
The options in this part of the dialog include rotating the image to fit the paper and adding captions to the print. Personally, I don’t find much use for these, but you may find them valuable.
After applying your settings, click the dropdown at the top and choose “DxO – Layout”.
DxO Layout Options
Here you will find options for adjusting the layout of the print. You can see these in the screenshot below.
It’s possible using these options to print multiple images on the same page. You can do this using the Rows and Columns sliders as well as setting up the size for each image in the Cell Size section.
There’s also an option to add borders to the left, right, top and bottom of the page.
In this screenshot you can see that I have added a 10 mm border to the top and bottom of the page. This is in addition to any margin automatically set by your printer when you don’t use borderless printing.
Having applied the DxO settings in the PhotoLab print dialog, we need to set up the colour management properly. Although we chose to have DxO PhotoLab handle the colour management, I’ve found I need to check and sometimes adjust other settings. Let’s look at what these are now.
When I initially started printing from DxO PhotoLab, I expected the colour matching section of the dialog to be disabled. That’s because I’d already set the option to have PhotoLab manage the colour. When this didn’t happen, I sometimes had odd results that I couldn’t explain. Because of this, I now ensure I check and set these options every time I print. You can see them in the screenshot below.
It seems safest to set the “ColorSync” option and have the Profile set to “Automatic”.
In theory, this shouldn’t make any difference to the print if we turn off the printer colour management. In practice, I’m not sure that that always happens which is why I like to set this.
After making these changes, I’ll choose the “Print Settings” option in the dropdown.
You can see a screenshot of the Print Settings below. Please be aware that these relate to the print driver for my Epson Stylus Pro 3880. You may see different options here depending on your printer.
I’ve numbered the most important settings in the screenshot. These are:
- The “Media Type” is the paper that I’m printing to. My printer has separate black ink cartridges for gloss paper and matte paper. The cartridge used is controlled by the setting in the media type dropdown. When I choose a matte paper, the black matte ink cartridge is used but for photo papers, it switches to the photo black ink cartridge.
- I turn on the option to print using “16 bits/channel”.
- I’m careful to turn off the printer colour management in the “Colour Settings” dropdown. I had expected this to be done automatically, based on the DxO settings earlier, but it doesn’t seem to always happen. I’m therefore careful to check and change this before making any prints.
- In the “Print Quality” dropdown, I can set the resolution of my printer. In most cases, the “Superfine 1440dpi” setting produces photo quality prints. It also uses less ink than the higher resolution mode.
After choosing my print settings, I click the print button to produce my print.
Printing from DxO PhotoLab Summary
Rather than trying to summarise all the settings discussed in this article, I’ve recorded a short video below. This will help you make sense of the different settings, and how to use the Print dialog in DxO PhotoLab.
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You can also watch this video on my YouTube channel. I publish a new video every week, often based on subscribers’ requests and feedback. Subscribe to my YouTube channel now and be sure not to miss future videos.
And be sure you read my Soft Proofing article, to achieve the best results when printing from DxO PhotoLab.
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