An ICC profile is a set of data that characterizes a color input or output device, or a color space, according to standards promulgated by the International Color Consortium.
Before opening Lightroom, I decide on the paper I want to use and if it’s a new payer type, install the appropriate ICC profile. For some paper/printer combination that can be really hard to find. However, for Red River papers for instance, profiles are readily available here.
More specifically, if I wanted to print on Polar Gloss Metallic 255 paper using the Canon PIXMA iX6820, I would download this ICC profile and move the RR Polar Pearl Metallic Can MG5420.icc file into this folder: ~/Library/ColorSync/Profiles. The accompanying document suggests to use Print Quality: High and Media Type: Photo Paper Plus Glossy II
Adobe Lightroom Classic LrC
After editing the photo in LightRoom (I usually don’t edit specifically with printing in mind) I select the image(s) and open the Print-Module.
Starting with the “Page Setup” button at the bottom left, I select the printer and the paper size.
The only tab I use in the dialog is “Quality & Media”. Following the recommendation from the paper manufacturer, I set the media type and print quality.
In the Lightroom Templates or User Templates o the left side, I select the one that comes closest to what I need. E.g., if I wanted to print 4 images on a single letter size pager, I would select 2×2 Cells.
Moving to the right side, at the top under Image Settings, selecting Zoom to Fill and Rotate to Fill will optimize the layout, making the image sizes as large as possible.
Print Dimensions & Resolution
Here is a photo that was shot with a Canon R6, with a native resolution of 5472 x 3648. The image was then cropped to 3818 x 2550, which would still print nicely on a 11 x 8.5 inch (US-letter size) paper, i.e., the print resolution would be 300 ppi.
Lightroom’s Print module will resample an image to a set target PPI for printing. When in doubt, enabling “Show Dimensions” in the Guides section, shows the potential print resolution, but only if “Print Resolution” is not checked.
In the Print Job section, I select ‘Printer‘ as the target (JPEG File is the other option here). To use the native resolution of the photo and avoid that Lightroom Classic resamples the image data, I do not set a specific Print Resolution and leave this option un-checked.
While cropping and editing the image, I already sharped it, therefore I leave the Print Sharpening option un-checked as well. Since sharpening is calculated based on the Media Type, this option is then disabled.
16 Bit Output: checked
Instead of letting the printer driver handle the color management, I select the ICC profile that was previously placed into the ~/Library/ColorSync/Profiles folder and have Lightroom Classic handle the color management.
A printer’s color space is usually smaller than the image’s color space, often resulting in colors that can’t be reproduced. The rendering intent attempts to compensate for these out-of-gamut colors. I select “Perceptual rendering” since this is the better choice for images that have many out-of gamut colors.
.. and only now it is time to hit the Print button.