Laminating photos, necessary?

Is it really necessary to laminate a photo?


  • If you are painting from a photo, the lamination is a must.  You can paint your particular color directly on the laminate to check for a match, then just wipe it off and continue.  You cannot do that on an unlaminated photo.  I have tried. It does not work.   
  • That is what I was wondering and didn't ask explicitly. Does the paint damage the photo or cause the color to bless if wet?
  • The paper isn't waterproof and so wiping off paint damages the paper and in the ink underneath as far as I understand it.
  • Spraying the photo with a gloss acrylic fix is an alternative 3 coats is usually enough.
  • edited March 2017
    Another alternative to the time and expense of laminating is to just cut out a clear piece of plastic and place it over the area you are trying to match. It's very cheap and when a piece gets covered in paint swatches just toss it and cut out a new piece.
  • I just used a plastic sleeve protector for my current project.  Seems to work.
  • I've tried plastic sheet protectors too but I found they still alter the colours a little bit compared to laminating.
  • @jimbo   I don't laminate anymore or only in very special cases. If I have to check a color, I do it directly on the picture. If I wipe it off immediately (not with paper, with a soft cloth), I could even have a second try. But then the picture starts to dissolve. If you have to check the color several times on the same spot, you should protect the surface... some time ago I bought some crystal clear envelopes for presenting art work at Jerrys and these worked quite well, they might make a shadow on the pictrue you have to be aware of...
  • edited March 2017
    I put my photos under a piece of glass (1mm thickness) and is working just fine...
  • @some what a neat idea! looks like a piece of art itself...
  • Great idea - especially for small areas in a photo.
  • @some, thanks for the idea. I so admire those of you who have made technology work for you especially in ways to help your painting. I'm going to have to rely on the color checker I made from MC's instruction and a can acrylic clear coat.
  • @some I've thought of doing that too. :)
  • Folks 

    Consider the multiple steps in this workflow between real life and canvas. Consider also the limitations, compromises and averaging at each technological step. 

    As as an acid test, take a colour control card with a reliable spectum through this process and do a card and printed swatch comparison. I suspect some colours will be "in the ball park" but others will be way off.

    I would love to be proved wrong.


  • @Dencal, i'm not quite understanding the context of your comment. Forgive me for this ignorance. 
    This process works great for me. I use it as a process for painting landscapes from photographs. I do know that painting from a photograph has it's limitations. I won't go into all those, I'm sure you know what I mean.  I use this to paint strictly from photographs. It's not a replacement for the color checker-shadow-box-still-life process. That being said, this process prints the exact same colors the printed photograph has as I understand it.  Unless the Adobe's colorpicker does not provide the correct information from the image to the swatch. I quite like this myself. May not be good for other people, don't know. People are different thank God. I find that as well, glare is a major issue for me when I put paint on a photograph to check color. I even put my picture holder on a hinge that swings in and out. So glad I stumbled on to that one :). I think my old eyes are kinda scratched up. Maybe this process is not the best way, but I sure do like it. I also like that the tape appears to have no tint like some laminates do. But if this is a bad thing, please explain it to me in other words. Sorry to be so wordy my friend :)
  • If you print a photo either at home or through a printing service than the colour space gamut that you can see on the screen has to be altered. This is to fit it into the colour space gamut possible through the printing inks which is always going to be a smaller space than possible through emitted light of an LCD.

    If you print directly from a photo or take swatches and print those instead than the process only happens once either way, and as long as you use the same printer and settings the result should be the same which ever approach you do.
  • edited March 2017
    @Richard, is that why when I print a photo the colours are different from what I see on the monitor? At the moment I'm painting a landscape from a photo I took. It contains lots of subtle blues in the sky and in the hills as they fall back into the distance. When I look at  the landscape on the computer screen the blues are warmer (more red) than in the printed photo in which the blues are cooler (leaning more towards green). Do you know of a way to correct this? I would like to repaint the picture with the warmer blues I see  on the monitor rather than the cooler blues I get on the printed photo. I could try matching colours with those on the computer screen but, as you know, that presents problems as the monitor emits light while the printed photo (and paint) reflects light. I wish I knew how Michael Smith manages it. 

    Thanks for considering this question, @Richard, (and anyone else who knows about this stuff) as I am a total non-starter when it comes to computers and their peripherals.

  • Rob

    Best approach is to calibrate the monitor and review which printer profile is used by your software.

    here is an extract from David's photography guide:

    Below that section is the Color Management section. Set Color Handling to Photoshop Manages Colors and set the Printer Profile to the correct printer/paper combination. For example, if you're using the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 with Premium Photo Paper Glossy paper, you would select SPR3000 Epson Premium Glossy. In the options below this, be sure the Rendering Intent is set to Relative Colorimetric and the Black Point Compensation checkbox is checked.


  • Some

    The context for my comment is that screens, printers, software, file compression, lenses, flare, glare, inks and papers all have a pervasive influence on color and value.


  • @tassieguy As Denis said.. :)

    I emailed a professional photographer and online printer who does professional photo prints about an issue with softproofing and the brightness of some colours being less and this is part of the reply which might be useful:

    Soft proofing relies on having your monitor set to a realistic brightness -
    typically 100-120cd/m2
    What you are seeing is partly from the different rendering intents and how
    they work, but you are quite right about it being due to the inks. You can't
    have bright and light saturated colours right through the spectrum, so there
    is always a trade-off in this respect.
     For example if I place hues of very light yellows, blues, cyans, greens
     next to each other (getting close to a RGB value of 255,255,255) I can
     see when soft-proofing that some are noticably darker than others when
     they should all be around the same brightness.
    The soft proofing is doing its job I'm afraid - it's giving some accurate
    indications of how print works (subject to limitations in the quality of
    profiles from 3rd party sources and rendering intents used when they print)
     Is this something you have found too in your work?
    Yes - it is a limitation of printing, and why the whole concept of 'prints
    matching the screen' is a fundamentally flawed concept. I can see why people
    go for it, but I get a lot of people asking, with related issues to yours
    (usually when they start getting into printing)
    What makes the best looking image on screen may not make the best looking
    one in a print - this sort of experimenting is possible if you do your own
    printing, but not with a third party.
     Do you know if there
     is a way to compensate for this when printing? I would rather have a
     more restricted saturation for some hues if it meant the brightness was
    This is very dependent on the paper and inks used - coming to a pleasing
    compromise can be quite tricky for some images.
  • Thanks, @Richard and @Denis.

    I don't have Photoshop - too expensive - I use GYMP which is free. But I did what I could following David's photography guide (trying to relate his references to Photoshop to GYMP) and I also calibrated my monitor as best I could. I'm using an Epson printer and ink and high quality glossy photo paper. However, I'm still seeing a difference between the printed photo and what's on the screen. I suspect it's as @Richard's friend said, i.e. "it is a limitation of printing, and why the whole concept of 'prints matching the screen' is a fundamentally flawed concept."

    I'll make a copy of the original image and try to modify it's colour using GYMP to get rid of the green tinge in the blues by reddening them and see if I end up with a print that is closer to the original as seen on the monitor.

    Thanks for your responses. :)
  • Thanks all for the informative thread.
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