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Test Prints: How To Make Fine Art Photography Prints For A Gallery Show

6/06/2023 Matt 0 Comments

Test Prints: How To Make Fine Art Photography Prints For A Gallery Show

Creating high-quality prints is a crucial aspect of preparing for a gallery show. To ensure your photographs are showcased in their best light, it's important to understand the process of making fine art prints. Join us on Mark Mann's journey as he prepares for his upcoming gallery show featuring his new book, "Movement At The Still Point: An Ode To Dance. 

Let's dive in and discover the key steps to produce exceptional prints for your next exhibition.
  • Printing as a Subjective Art: Despite technological advancements, it's challenging to replicate the exact appearance of an image on a backlit monitor onto a physical print, which is front-lit. The goal is to get as close as possible to the desired outcome while aligning with your artistic vision.
  • The Importance of Test Prints: Creating test prints is a valuable step in the printing workflow. By experimenting with different adjustments and settings, you can evaluate how your image translates to paper and make informed decisions for the final print. 
  • Considerations for Calibration: There are some general rules to follow. First, calibrating your monitor is crucial to ensure accurate color representation. Additionally, using the correct ICC profile for the specific combination of printer and paper is essential for optimal results. Investing time in calibration and color management will greatly enhance the quality of your prints.
  • The Test Print Process: The key parameters to configure include media type, paper size, print quality, and most importantly, the printer profile. 
  • Analyzing the Test Print: Once the test print is generated, careful evaluation is necessary to make informed decisions for the final print. Mark highlights the importance of the neutral print, which serves as a baseline for comparison. Different adjustments, such as heavy and medium S-curves, contrast variations, and exposure changes, are explored. He provides insights into how each adjustment affects the image, noting the importance of maintaining detail in the blacks and highlights.
  • Fine-tuning the Final Print: After analyzing the test print, Mark recommends narrowing down the options based on personal preference and artistic intent.  It's important to strike a delicate balance between retaining the desired aesthetic qualities and ensuring optimal technical execution.
  • Viewing Conditions: Consideration is given to the lighting conditions under which the prints will be viewed. Mark suggests a standard light temperature of around 5600K, although personal preferences may vary. Viewing prints under consistent lighting conditions ensures a cohesive and accurate viewing experience for the audience.


Making fine art photography prints for gallery shows is a meticulous process that requires attention to detail, calibration, and artistic decision-making. By following the steps outlined in the video, you can achieve remarkable prints that reflect your creative vision. Remember, printing is an art form in itself, and with patience and dedication, your photographs will shine in the gallery space.

Show Info: 
Date: June 23-25 2023
Time: 11 am to 5 pm 
Location: Arete Gallery 122 S. Main St. New Hope, PA 18938

If you are interested in purchasing a print please email at

About Mark Mann:

Mark Mann is a celebrity and advertising photographer. His editorial work has appeared in Esquire, Men’s Health, Vibe, Spin, Fortune, Billboard, Parade, and Complex, among others. He has shot countless celebrities, including Robert Redford, Michael Douglas, Iggy Pop, Jack Black, the Black Eyed Peas, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Rihanna, Queen Latifah, Simon Baker, Stevie Wonder, Bradley Cooper, Willie Nelson, Sean Connery, John Hamm, and Jennifer Hudson. Mark loves to shoot people from Presidents to Kids who want to be Presidents.Let's Get Connected: | Instagram | Twitter

Image and video via Complicated Things | Complicated Things is Alex Hooks and Mark Mann.