Tips on correcting photos for newsprint in Photoshop

Tips on correcting photos for newsprint in Photoshop.

It is difficult to get bright colors to output properly and grayscale images to print light enough on newsprint. If you aren’t careful your midtones/shadows can turn muddy and dull. Images will print darker on newsprint, its best to err on a lighter correction. Correcting for newsprint will take some trial and error, but here are a few steps to hopefully point you in the right direction.

Make sure you your image is 300 dpi. We recommend 300 dpi, 200 dpi is acceptable however anything lower may print “soft” and not clear and sharp.

Crop your image or set the image size to the size it will print in the publication. Best practice is to use your image at 100% of its size in your design program. You can increase the size of an image in your design program but never increase it over 10%. It is ok to go smaller but you can lose clarity and sharpness when you increase the size.

Correct with levels. Image > Adjustment > Levels. This takes some practice to get the right balance. You will see three arrows along a horizontal line. The one on the far left adds more shadows, while the one on the far right brightens highlights. The one in the middle adjusts mid-tones. While looking at the photo, move the arrows from right to left accordingly. Move the midtones slider to the left to lighten the photo. Try to go lighter than you normally would when adjusting photos. Colors on newsprint tend to print up to 30% darker. Look at the overall image. You may loose some background, however, your main subjects should be what you focus on.

Hue/Saturation adjustments will bring back some of the color that was lost when adjusting levels. Use saturation cautiously, over-saturation can cause some unwanted color changes.

Sharpening can help! Not only do the colors tend to dull, but the crisp edges in your photo will lose some sharpness. Use the unsharp masking filter. Go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp mask…Adjusting the sharpening to be right for each photo is trial and error at first, but becomes a handy tool once you develop the eye for it. Adjust the radius somewhere between 0.5 – 1.5, and then move the slider for amount to the desired level (usually above 100, and sometimes as much as 500). For most pictures the threshold slider should be set and left at 0. Save. The trick is to sharpen the image as much as possible without appearing too grainy.

Florida Sun Printing has a group of Pre-press technicians that can assist you in photo correction. You can reach them at (904) 879-2101. You can always settle for less. Choose to print with a company that is your partner for high quality commercial printing on newsprint. We offer “peace-of-mind”.