Getting a good print today has become the norm with the latest digital cameras and printers. While you still may have some challenges, printer manufacturers, in particular, have worked hard to give users the ability to create outstanding prints. Now it's time to move beyond simply outputting a good print. I want to help you find ways to make your prints better express what you saw when you took the picture and how you felt about the subject.
There's no question that having a properly calibrated monitor is critical to getting a good print, but to make a better print, you have to go beyond the monitor. A print is a different thing than an image on a monitor. A monitor gives a feeling of looking into an image, while a print has more of a feeling of looking at an image. Those are psychologically quite different impressions. We also tend to look at both from different distances. Keep this in mind when you work to make your print more expressive or even more accurate. So how do you make a better print?
Make A Work Print. Make a proof or work print as you make adjustments, as Ansel Adams did, even before you think you're "finished" with the image. In The Print, Adams writes, "Arriving at a 'fine print' involves proceeding through various stages of 'work prints' until you arrive at a rendering that looks and feels right in all ways."
See The Print. You need to have a print in hand while the image is a work in progress and examine it for its own sake, not compared to the image on the monitor. Is it a good reflection of your original intent?