|I printed it and it came out too soft|
Here's what I think I should do:
1) Corrections in ACR. Light exposure corrections, highlight recovery and fill light, fringe removal, vignetting, distortion corrections. Then export to PSD. Try to keep dimensions for print in mind at this point, though resolution is still full.
2) Photoshop: convert to LAB color. Further contrast/exposure adjustment and color restoration if needed.
3) Back to RGB. Anything else. Possibly nothing.
4) Save new file?
5) Noise reduction with neat image.
6) Definitely save new file.
7) Flatten new file and sharpen.
8) Save AGAIN?!
9) Resize and sharpen for print if necessary.
Okay maybe step 4 is not necessary, depending on how much work is done in 2 and 3. Saving 2 other times, I can see doing. Flattened PSD's aren't too big, so two files shouldn't be a big deal.
It's not pro, but maybe it's a start. I don't print enough, partially because I don't feel like I know enough. There's still an activation energy to printing. I'm not comfortable with it, so I hesitate to do it, so I don't do it enough to get past the activation energy.