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10-16-2010, 10:38 AM   #1
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Photos print out so DARK. Why?

So far i've gotten my photos developed at Wal-Mart and Walgreens, and i dont know if this is just a problem with me having my settings wrong when i use lightroom, or if this is just normal.

When i print out photos they come out so much darker than what i see on the computer screen, as an example, this photo of an eagle looks fine, but when i print it out you can BARELY see the dark side of its face, its so dark it almost looks pure black. What can i do to make the picture print exactly like i see it?

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10-16-2010, 11:44 AM   #2
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On my screen the darkside of his face looks very dark. I wouldn't say black, but getting close. My monitor is not calibrated, but my results are usually very close when I print. I think your monitor needs to be calibrated if you're seeing that much of a difference. I wouldn't jump and blame LR yet.
10-16-2010, 11:50 AM   #3
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Send them to a printing service that knows what it is doing.
10-16-2010, 11:58 AM   #4
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Is your computer monitor calibrated? My monitor is calibrated using a Spyder2, and it's hard to make out the dark side of the eagle's face as well. There's detail there, but you have to really look for it. So the first step I'd suggest is to check your monitor calibration.

10-16-2010, 01:32 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silverkarn Quote
What can i do to make the picture print exactly like i see it?
Monitor calibration, as mentioned above, is the first step; but even then you're not likely to get the monitor and the print to be identical. I've calibrated my monitor and print with a professional printing service and the prints still come out darker. That's the nature of the beast. The only thing you can do to get brightness levels closer is turn down the brightness of your monitor. Also make use of your histogram in your PP program. Make sure there's plenty of information on the right side of the histogram.
10-16-2010, 01:38 PM   #6
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If you're going to print a lot from your monitor as everyone is saying calibrate with hardware calibration; if you're going to priny occassionally use one of those free online calibration site for basic white and dark points.
10-17-2010, 01:00 AM   #7
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Well, ok. So its my monitor. And i'm not looking at the histogram correctly. What should i be looking for, and how do i calibrate my monitor?

EDIT: ok, so upon further investigation i noticed that when looking at the monitor at a lower angle the image looks like the photo printed, so i messed with the contrast and brightness settings until the printed image and my screen match up.

Last edited by Silverkarn; 10-17-2010 at 01:11 AM.
10-17-2010, 05:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silverkarn Quote
Well, ok. So its my monitor. And i'm not looking at the histogram correctly. What should i be looking for, and how do i calibrate my monitor?

EDIT: ok, so upon further investigation i noticed that when looking at the monitor at a lower angle the image looks like the photo printed, so i messed with the contrast and brightness settings until the printed image and my screen match up.
Not a proper calibration, but at least your close now. That's basically what I did also. You actually purchase a unit that you temporarily put on the front of your monitor, run the software that comes with it, and then it's calibrated. (at least I think that's whats involved)

10-17-2010, 12:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silverkarn Quote
Well, ok. So its my monitor. And i'm not looking at the histogram correctly. What should i be looking for, and how do i calibrate my monitor?

EDIT: ok, so upon further investigation i noticed that when looking at the monitor at a lower angle the image looks like the photo printed, so i messed with the contrast and brightness settings until the printed image and my screen match up.
if you intend to print large qty of images and you want print accuracy then you need to spend money.
1 buy and install a screen a calibrator several brand available.
2 decide and DO NOT CHANGE your choice of inks and paper[s]
3 obtain from the paper mfg their stock profiles for your specific printer
3a even better talk to them and send them sample images [they will tell you how] for them to produce bespoke profiles for your printer.
4 read up on how to use these profiles [your paper supplier should help.]

if you need more help PM me with printer brand and model and paper/ ink brand.

hm forgot to mention, set colour space in your camera to adobe RGB, and what are you using windows or mac and what software for editing?
oh and btw your image looks ok or reasonably so on my 2 x screens using photoshop.

Last edited by adwb; 10-17-2010 at 01:05 PM.
10-17-2010, 12:59 PM   #10
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You didn't mention your computer but Mac OSX had a default gamma of 1.8 prior to version 10.6. So pictures you see on your monitor will be viewed by others in the sRGB color space with gamma 2.2 much darker. Same could be for the prints.
10-17-2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
if you intend to print large qty of images and you want print accuracy then you need to spend money.
1 buy and install a screen a calibrator several brand available.
2 decide and DO NOT CHANGE your choice of inks and paper[s]
3 obtain from the paper mfg their stock profiles for your specific printer
3a even better talk to them and send them sample images [they will tell you how] for them to produce bespoke profiles for your printer.
4 read up on how to use these profiles [your paper supplier should help.]

if you need more help PM me with printer brand and model and paper/ ink brand.

hm forgot to mention, set colour space in your camera to adobe RGB, and what are you using windows or mac and what software for editing?
oh and btw your image looks ok or reasonably so on my 2 x screens using photoshop.
I have Windows 7 and use Lightroom 3 to edit my photos, and since i dont have a good printer i've been taking my photos to Walgreens/Target/WalMart to print. I printed the same photo on all three machines and they all came out pretty much the same. I like the Fujifilm machine the best
10-18-2010, 05:46 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silverkarn Quote
I have Windows 7 and use Lightroom 3 to edit my photos, and since i dont have a good printer i've been taking my photos to Walgreens/Target/WalMart to print. I printed the same photo on all three machines and they all came out pretty much the same. I like the Fujifilm machine the best
Well if thats the case then the best suggestion I think for you is save two versions
one you are happy with for PC/web viewing
and one you have adjusted to suit their printer that would appear from you initial post to mean you use the lighten shadows function in your software.

I would suggest you save several versions of the same image with varying adjustments [and keeping detailed notes of what you did to each one] and decide which one you can live with then use those settings every time for a print.

Down load this image following the instructions below http://www.marrutt.com/images/evaluation-image-01.jpg and use it for your test prints.
PC Users: Click the link above so the document opens up in a new window. Then, right click on the image and click "save picture as", save this in any folder or on your desktop - you can then open this up in Adobe Photoshop (or any other image editing application) for printing
10-18-2010, 07:34 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote

hm forgot to mention, set colour space in your camera to adobe RGB,
That's basically wrong. Your printer and screen (some can, but they cost quite a few thousands $) can't reproduce the full aRGB spectrum. You should work with sRGB when working with consumer printers and screen. Working with aRGB and ooutputing in sRGB ends up with dull looking pictures.
10-18-2010, 10:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
That's basically wrong. Your printer and screen (some can, but they cost quite a few thousands $) can't reproduce the full aRGB spectrum. You should work with sRGB when working with consumer printers and screen. Working with aRGB and ooutputing in sRGB ends up with dull looking pictures.
If you shoot raw, does it even matter what colour space you set the camera to?

You just need to make sure the profile in the file is correct (srbg - screen, arbg - print) and matched to the colour profile of the printer you are using.
10-18-2010, 11:16 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
If you shoot raw, does it even matter what colour space you set the camera to?

You just need to make sure the profile in the file is correct (srbg - screen, arbg - print) and matched to the colour profile of the printer you are using.
If you shoot RAW, then your camera doesn't have a color space, but the info is still transmitted to most post processing programs. Some will take it into account, some won't. But, once the picture is in your computer, the color space you use will have a direct link to your printer's output. If you work with a gamut too large for the printer, it will compress the part that's out of the gamut, making it darker, or drop it off, which will make the prints lighter. You should always work with a color space that is compatible with both printer and screen.
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