Printing Pure Black

PhotoGramly

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Is it possible for a printer to print pure black in the darkest shadow areas of a photo and/or is it a bad idea? (In this case by "pure black," I mean the areas highlighted when "show shadow clipping" is turned on in Lightroom.) I seem to recall from when I first learned about it years ago that it isn't desirable, but my memory is hazy on if that was actually the case and why.

It's remarkably hard to get a straight answer on this from searching the web, so I'm hoping I'll have better luck here.
 

weepete

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If your printer has black ink then yes, it should be able to print that without any other colours.

There may be a few things that affect the outcome, calibration of your monitor and printer, the colour profiles you use, the type of paper and ink you are using etc and whither you've soft proofed the final image.

Pure black tends to be undesireable as it stands out, and can throw the balance of an image off. My old art teacher used to get us to always mix black with another colour when we were painting as it's not a thing you really see in nature, most often it has a little of another colour mixed in even if it's almost imperceptable. White is similar too.

Clipping means you've lost any information that was there and in photographs it can look weird as it can make areas flat and uniform and draw attention away from the main subject, especially if that subject is 3 dimensional. A little pure black in the darkest of shadows is generally acceptable (like pure white in specular highlights).

Of course there are execptions to every rule and there are some circumstances that pure black or pure white can be used for artistic effect but it needs to be pretty central to the theme to work effectivley.
 

Original katomi

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Printing black. The paper makes a difference as well. This image I wanted the background pure black. I went to a lot of trouble to find a background that would not react to the UV light.
Printed on Matt paper brill effect.
Printed on gloss paper way to meant reflections off the black section
Hope this helps
 

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