Bumblejax Prep Guide & Best Practices For Printing
Accepted File Types:
We prefer a JPG file since it’s far smaller than a TIFF and doesn’t diminish quality, but do allow TIFF (up to 100MB for online orders). Yes, TIFF is a lossless file format, but if you make your final save as the highest quality JPG, you won’t see any difference in print quality between a TIFF and JPG. We understand many photographers prefer using TIFF and that’s fine just be sure to use 8 bit with LZW compression.
Our online ordering system doesn’t accept PDF files so please contact us if you need to place an order with a PDF file.
First and foremost, please just send your file in its native resolution. Don’t resize and unnecessarily increase the size of the file. If we feel that resizing it will improve resolution, we’ll do that on our end, but in most cases artificially adding pixels won’t improve your print. Our online order system accepts files 100MB and below. Files can get very large when using TIFF without compression and resizing. If you’re over 100MB consider not resizing and using LZW compression to keep the file size down while maintaining print quality. We can accept very large files with no size restriction (but prefer not to).
If you need to place an order with a larger file you can place the order with a lower resolution and send us the print files afterward to www.bumblejax.com/upload OR send us the files before placing the order and we can send you a payment link after reviewing your files and discussing what product and size you’d like.
The minimum size needed for a print is about 600px on the shortest side. Our online ordering system will let you know if you have enough resolution for a print as well as how large the file can be printed. If our online ordering system isn’t allowing a larger size that you’d like we’re happy to review the file for you manually to determine exactly how large it can be printed.
Do you have Photoshop? If so you can follow the steps outlined in this article to see for yourself how the resolution looks at actual print size. This is the exact process we use on our end.
Color Spaces (sRGB vs Adobe 1998 vs ProPhoto):
Please be sure your files are in RGB color not CMYK. If they are in CMYK we’ll convert to RGB before printing. Many labs will only accept the smallest sRGB color space since it’s less likely the print output will differ from what you see on your monitor. This can be a problem if you send a file in Adobe 1998 or ProPhoto. Pro labs such as Bumblejax may also offer the wider gamut Adobe 1998 and ProPhoto color spaces and will print whatever color profile is embedded. These color spaces offer a wider color gamut, but it’s important to know that if you don’t have a wide color gamut monitor, what you see on your screen may not match the print output. Since the print output will typically be better, it’s not a huge deal but something to be aware of if color matching is absolutely critical. For many sRGB will be fine, but if you know what you’re doing, have a calibrated monitor, have invested in a monitor for photography (link this), etc. then we recommend the Adobe 1998 color space.
Should I Add Bleed?:
No, we take care of that! During the mounting process, some of the image has to be trimmed away so we add bleed by slightly enlarging the image. It’s important to note that you may lose up to ⅛” of your print on all four sides so please keep important details such as signatures away from the edge at least ¼”. If you have critical detail area on the edge that absolutely can’t be removed it’s possible we can use content aware to save it. We manually review every file that comes in before going to print and would typically contact you if we feel there is detail on the edge that could be cut. Having said that, it’s best you contact us if you’re concerned about edge detail.
Color Accuracy & Brightness (Monitor Calibration, ICC, Test Print):
It’s important to note that our printers and monitors are professionally calibrated and the color is accurate. With that said, some of our customers (particularly photographers), want to be sure that the color they see on their monitor is going to match our print output. If this is a concern for you, it’s absolutely critical to have a properly calibrated monitor for color and brightness. That means investing in a pro color calibration tool and consistently calibrating every 30 days or so. You can get one for around $200. The i1 and ColorMunki products from X-rite as well as the Spyder color calibration products are the most popular and often recommended.
If you are working with a calibrated monitor and would like to soft proof with our ICC profiles you can download those below.
If you’re working with a properly calibrated monitor using a pro tool from Xrite or Spyder and using our ICC profiles, the color should be very close, but there is no perfect substitute for ordering an actual paper print. If exact color matching is absolutely critical we highly recommend ordering a paper proof before ordering the full piece.
Avoid Prints That Are Too Dark:
One common mistake that people make when printing their photos is comparing the print to a backlit monitor at full brightness.
Monitors project light while prints reflect light so before making a judgment that the print color is off or is too dark, it’s really important to not only adjust your monitor brightness but also view in plenty of natural light or overhead art lighting. The calibration tools above will adjust the monitor brightness for you according to the light in the room, but if you’re not a pro photographer with pro calibration tools, we recommend just simply adjusting your monitor brightness down to about 50-60% to get a more accurate view of how the print will look. We get asked this question a lot. Do you offer color correction? This is quite subjective as I’m sure you know. What looks good to us may not look great to you. We will almost never adjust color without a discussion with the customer for this reason. Things we will do in order to improve the file by default (if needed) is denoising, sharpening, and lightening to achieve an optimal print.
Color Correction/Photo Editing:
If you have any concerns at all about a file or want us to look at something specific please contact us. We do not nickel and dime our customers for straight forward and one off photo editing. If you need red eye removed, blemishes cleaned up, etc we can do that with specific instructions at no extra charge. For more complex work or work with many files, we would need to charge for the work and can get you a quote.
Every single file is manually reviewed before going to print and we will contact you if there are any obvious issues.