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11-28-2016, 05:47 PM   #1
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Preventing dark prints?

So I just received my prints from WHCC, and the colours are spot-on to what I see on my MacBook Pro Retina's display, despite my never having colour calibrated it. Unfortunately, some of the shots came out darker than I expected. Is there a way to preview that before printing? In college, it was instant feedback, so I could just set some Lightroom print-time exposure adjustments, but this is trickier. Thoughts? Thanks!

11-28-2016, 06:44 PM   #2
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When working with a new lab (or even different paper at same lab), best to have some small tests printed, same image repeated lighter/darker next to each other etc. Reds & greens can be tricky. Not sure what you are using, but in photoshop there is a "proof" mode that you should be looking at as what the print will look like -- I think out-of-gamut errors for the chosen color profile will show up there also. WHCC is very good and consistent -- once you get it right, it will be right. (And the brightness/contrast of your monitor is part of the calibration too.)
11-28-2016, 07:50 PM   #3
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I had some 4x6 prints done, placed them in a moderately lit area, then adjusted my desktop computer monitor to show a similar brightness to the 4x6 example. It was a simple method and it worked well.
11-28-2016, 08:46 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithedreamer Quote
So I just received my prints from WHCC, and the colours are spot-on to what I see on my MacBook Pro Retina's display, despite my never having colour calibrated it. Unfortunately, some of the shots came out darker than I expected. Is there a way to preview that before printing? In college, it was instant feedback, so I could just set some Lightroom print-time exposure adjustments, but this is trickier. Thoughts? Thanks!

I am with Jones on that.... Printed images always come out darker than a back light monitor. If the color is accurate, I would take the print and compare it to your monitor and then bring down the brightness until it is similar.... write down the setting. That way when you want to process an image to print you can have an idea of what it will look like.

ICC printer profiles and soft proofing help.


Developing your images for print is an art all in itself.

11-29-2016, 01:16 AM   #5
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It is not uncommon for monitors to be way too bright from the shop floor. Spyder Monitor Calibration tool has a section devoted to setting correct brightness and contrast for monitors. Without SPyder or si,ilar I guess the method outlined above would suffice by a method of trial and error.
11-29-2016, 05:26 AM   #6
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I am not familiar with WHCC, but I had a similar problem with another lab. It was a professional lab and the print quality was amazing, but 10% (maybe more) of my prints would come back too dark. I contacted the lab and they told me it was my fault. I switched labs and have never had that problem since.
11-29-2016, 10:33 AM   #7
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Absent a full calibration with an automated device like Spyder, there's a monitor calibration wizard in Windows. It shows a series of images to help you set the brightness, contrast, and color balance controls. Look for something similar on your Mac OS.
11-29-2016, 11:44 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone, this was super helpful.

So if I turn down the brightness to its lowest setting, it actually appears to mimic the prints very well, though I do lose some of the colour accuracy I have at max brightness. That will work great for soft proofing. Is there a good way to store 'exposure for print' settings for export without just changing an images exposure? In Lightroom, I suppose I can store a virtual copy of an image 'ready for printing'. Is there a good way to do something similar in Bridge/Photoshop?

11-29-2016, 04:14 PM   #9
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I've always calibrated using an X-Rite device, and it has always led me to needing my monitor at 20%. I just leave it there. Everything prints fine, and I just develop for that setting. It isn't so much about soft proofing but getting the image correct in the first place.

The first time I got images back that were dark, it wasn't until I was asking someone else and we looked at my image on another monitor that I realized the image was dark on another person's monitor. Mine was just too high. I actually do very little soft-proofing unless I know I'm dealing with a lot of blues (I have a high gamut monitor and printing can change the blues in a funny manner). Otherwise, I think as long as things are calibrated in the first place, my prints come out 99.9% of what I expect.
12-02-2016, 02:35 PM   #10
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if you are with a good lab, once you calibrate your screen and got the photo the right colour, exposure, etc ask them to colour and density match your digital files
I do this at Costco and they do a good job with them

Randy
12-02-2016, 02:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
if you are with a good lab, once you calibrate your screen and got the photo the right colour, exposure, etc ask them to colour and density match your digital files
I do this at Costco and they do a good job with them

Randy
Colour and density match?
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