Charlie Cramer's fine art printing class

I had the great pleasure of attending Charlie Cramer's excellent Fine Art Printing Class this past weekend, held at The Picture Element here in Santa Clara, California.  It's an intensive three day class running from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Friday and Saturday and 9:00 to 5:00 on Sunday.  That's 32 total hours of time talking about printing, looking at prints, making prints of your work, and having your prints reviewed by classmates.  It's an intensive session to say the least and with only eight students, getting the attention of Charlie or his assistant isn't a problem at all. The first half of the class is mostly lecture, as you follow along on your own computer with what Charlie does on the projector.  We covered a lot of good Photoshop techniques for enhancing images and making them more pleasing to the eye.  By Saturday afternoon we switched to working on our own images, making test prints as we went, trying to get the most out of each image.  As the images became more refined we made larger prints, all the way up to 36" x 24".  (Or even larger for wide panoramic shots)   I worked on about 12 images which is probably more than most people did, and I ended up with about 10 nice 11 x 14 images,  a few 24 x 20 images, and a large 48 x 20 panorama.   It's safe to say that I got a lot of prints.

The main part of the class revolves around his "master file" idea and the "print, evaluate, refine, reprint" workflow.  There were a lot of Photoshop techniques to help an image's contrast, color balance, etc. that were discussed and I ended up much more comfortable with Photoshop CS4 than I had been before.  (A lot of the Photoshop interface changed with CS4 and the repetition of doing all the exercises in Charlie's book really helped it become second nature.)

If you're interested in the print as the final destination for your photography and you feel like something's lacking in your prints, then I would recommend this class whole-heartedly.  It's biased toward nature photography but the concepts carry over to any sort of photography.   I happened to get lucky and find this class being offered so close to home but he also offers it in Yosemite Valley, combined with a couple days of shooting.