I have a geotiff which I need to export as png or pdf using python only, not the python console inside QGIS. So the whole procedure of opening the PrintComposer, ideally adding colorbar and adjusting colormap, and exporting to pdf (or any image format) needs to be implemented in an external python script. The whole procedure needs to be fully automated, which is why it does not help to simply export from existing PrintComposer, for which there are plenty of questions already, at least explaining how to do it from the QGIS python console.

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    I would write a python script that opens the geotiff with rasterio, plots it using matplotlib.pyplot.imshow, and export that figure to PDF, again with matplotlib. – Paul H Feb 7 '17 at 17:24