Prints coming in too dark, help!!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by alexxk, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. alexxk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #1
    Hello everyone..

    I recently printed a 16x20 photograph from Adorama.com. I used their metal satin option. I called asking for a printer profile to load into Lightroom but they did not have a profile for metal prints.

    Anyway I used a brand new iMac 5K with Lightroom CC and even though I did not calibrated the monitor the colors were not off but the image itself was too dark. If I put the print next to my monitor I would have to turn the brightness down to 1 to kinda of match... That's insane. This was my second time printing an image, the last time I used a not so popular company and I edited in a laptop.

    I'm not sure how to go about editing photos for prints. What should I look for? What brightness should I use on my Mac to be able to know how the image will turn out when printed? Is it normal for the image to be darker?

    I need some really good tips for printing images as I'm planning future ones!!

    Thanks in Adance!!
     
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #2
    This is an easy (and a common one). Calibrate your monitor.
    Dark images are common when using apple screens, because they are overly bright by default.
    Buy (or borrow) a ColorMunki Display or i1 Display pro and take the guess work out of your workflow.
     
  3. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #3
    Not totally easy, or at least not for me. I use a Spyder Express 4 to calibrate my ASUS Pro monitor (it's decent) and I still think prints are too dark. Perhaps it's still a calibration issue. Perhaps my eye is accepting of darker images on my monitor. It is in a bit of a cave where there is not much outside light coming in. Perhaps it's an issue with printers? I've used Apple, MPIX, Collage.com and others. I always feel the printed image is overall not quite bright enough. I've thought that perhaps I should push levels a little past what I normally do when I chose to have something printed. Honestly I don't print much. 99% of the images just stay digital.
     
  4. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
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    #4
    What settings do you calibrate with? I'm not that familiar with that model. What options does it come with as from memory it's not that many.
     
  5. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #5
    It's the express model so it doesn't come with much customization. You input some basic parameters and info about your monitor and the rest is mostly automated. It does a good job. Good enough for me. My guess is if you want it perfect you need to calibrate your monitor to a specific printer profile. In the end, for know, that level of perfection is beyond what I'm willing to put in. I just don't print that much.
     
  6. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #6
    Even with my monitor calibrated, I add contrast and brightness in the Print module of Lr to get a good match between my screen, room lighting, and what shows up on paper.
     

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  7. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #7
    50% brightness is what you need. I have printed w/o calibrating on my iMac and they turned out as expected. i also use a dedicated pro lab though. the calibrater i have is a colormunki display. has worked really well for me. just remember to recalibrate every few weeks - depending on the season (i lived in portland, so when fall would roll around, i would calibrate as the lighting changed).
     
  8. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68000

    Cheese&Apple

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    #8
    I know it's not an option for everyone but I don't use online services. I use a local print lab where they do colour correction (for an additional charge of $1.00) with me looking at their monitor calibrated to their printer. They also do print proofs which I would request for an expensive job.

    ~ Peter
     
  9. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #9
    1) a monitor expresses an image with rear lighting which is vastly different than reflective art (a print).
    2) both* the monitor and the print set up needs to be calibrated.
    3) given that a decent monitor covers a larger ratio of light to dark and potentially colour levels, a print would be a subset of what a monitor presents of the image.
    4) monitors don't maintain a "calibration profile" and may drift. Monitors should be calibrated from time to time.

    I would suggest the OP refer to photo forums other than just here. There are numerous web sites that deal with printing as well as Youtube videos.
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #10
    Generally a properly calibrated monitor will mean you should not need to calibrate your printer.
    Monitors should be calibrated every three to four weeks.
    Viewing prints should be done with a proper daylight lamp. They do cheap ones as well as more expensive.
     
  11. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #11
    We'll disagree. Printers should be calibrated. One can take Photoshop and then another app and they will provide non-identical results on the monitor. This is furthered by what drives the printer. These days, the differences are far smaller but they exist. As well, ICC profiles are often used with choice papers. Those profiles are akin to soft calibration of monitors (again, profiles). We could also get into the fact when different resolutions are used often a minor calibration is required as contrast appears to be different as well as minor changes in colours. Perhaps a topic for another day and again, I stand by my comment that both monitors and printers should be calibrated for photo work.
     
  12. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #12
    Printers can be calibrated, but for 90% of users, calibrating the monitor will sort out the issues.
    So you are correct, but most people would be fine just doing the monitor.
    Also don't forget you can calibrate your camera to!
     
  13. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #13
    We concur.
     
  14. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    Americas
    #14
    I don't have the Spider calibrator. What I did was go to the Apple store and calibrated my Mac with the software that on the computer. Then I also calibrated my Mac at home twice. Once in daylight and once for night time. Before using Adorama online printing, I will print a couple using two of the calibrations. Then I will adjust from there. Its mostly increasing the exposer a little bit.

    This my cheap way of doing it. The other day I printed the same image from my 2004 MBP vs 2015 MBP. The one with the Retina display was darker. So now I know where I need to be when sending images to sites for printing.
     
  15. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    The main source of the problem is that your paper is not nearly as white as your glowing monitor. Metallic papers, in particular, are quite off-white/grey. Monitors can simulate the end result but as they create light rather than reflecting it the image will never be quite the same.

    Lightroom has a Soft Proofing feature to simulate how your image will look when printed, Photoshop does a similar job with the Proof Colours setting. To do it accurately though you will need the colour profile as you mentioned. My printers (in the UK) have each colour profile for each paper available to download which helps a lot. And of course as others have said, proofing is no use without a good quality calibrated monitor.
     
  16. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #16
    Why is that insane? Your monitor is backlit, your print isn't, so the monitor will naturally be much brighter than any print.

    Calibrating your monitor will help, but won't get you 100% of the way there. You'll need to get test prints made and adjust your brightness according to how they come out if you want to work with a fairly accurate representation of how the final print will look.

    Personally, I leave my 27" iMac's brightness set to either 2 or 3 pips. It's colour calibrated and i send my prints to a decent lab - since doing all three I've always had reliable results.

    If you're working on a laptop, be sure to turn off the ambient light sensor so your screen doesn't change brightness without you noticing. Once you get to working on a dimmer monitor, you'll honestly start to wonder how you ever worked with the brightness cranked.

    Hope that helps :)
     

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