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07-02-2011, 09:53 PM   #1
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File format for printing from Lightroom?

I am currently using Lightroom 3.4 and I have a question which seems to be so basic that I cannot find an answer. I'm thinking it is one of those "any dummy already knows that" kind of things.

When printing is there any difference between just printing the RAW file or exporting to TIFF or JPEG and then printing those files?

I am currently processing the RAW file and then printing it without making a TIFF or JPEG but I was wondering if this is correct. Most articles on workflow seem to end with an export to another format which is then printed or archived. In some cases it seems the RAW files are even discarded after the TIFF is exported.

I do export to TIFF if I need to do processing that requires an external editor but if everything is done in Lightroom I am working only with the RAW files.

Shooting DNG format with a k-x if that matters.

07-03-2011, 10:43 AM   #2
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As it's been pointed many, many times before, when you look at an image in LR or print that image, it's not RAW - it's LR's interpretation of that RAW image in jpeg.
You can print without exporting into tiff or jpeg or, you can export a picture first and then print it. It's up to you.
Have fun.
07-03-2011, 07:36 PM   #3
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Remember that Lightroom is a non-destructive editor. All the changes you make are in essence layers stacked on top of the raw image. Only when you export these changes are these changes committed to the copy of that image, regardless of whether you export as JPG, TIFF, or something else.

Are you printing directly from LR? If yes, it doesn't matter - as sinus007 stated, LR will handle the printing of the image, regardless of the original format.

If you're not printing your own images but printing at a lab, you need to find out what the lab requires. All labs can handle JPGs but not all will be able to handle TIFF, PSD files, or other formats that you could print at home.
07-04-2011, 09:20 AM   #4
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All correct above. RAW files cannot be printed. Period. A RAW file is a mass of undeveloped data, much like a photographic latent image. Development turns it into a picture you can do something with. If I pull ANY supported image source (RAW, JPG, PSD, BMP, PCX, IMG, CDR, PCT, whatever) into ANY image editor, that editor translates it into its internal format. That image may be saved in whatever format, or printed directly -- in which case, the editor's rendering of the data is squeezed through the editor's drivers in a format the printer can handle.

In other words, don't sweat it.

07-04-2011, 04:06 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. I thought I was doing it right but I have been reading on work flow lately and it seems everything I read ends with an export to some format and then print.

I am just printing in Lightroom without an export and it seems to work fine so I'll stick with that.

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