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Fontaine

Prints are underexposed but on computer looks perfect???

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Hi guys,

 

Just wondering if somebody could help me out.

 

Ive printed a few pictures using a company that specializes in High quality high definition aluminum prints and usually they are fantastic, but sometimes they are very much underexposed compared to what the image looks like on my computer, this also happens when I use my canon printer at home to print off A4 size photos. Can anybody give me some troubleshooting advice on why this may be happening, is it something to do with TIFF vs. JPEG???

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Best Regards,

 

Fontaine

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Hi guys,

 

Just wondering if somebody could help me out.

 

Ive printed a few pictures using a company that specializes in High quality high definition aluminum prints and usually they are fantastic, but sometimes they are very much underexposed compared to what the image looks like on my computer, this also happens when I use my canon printer at home to print off A4 size photos. Can anybody give me some troubleshooting advice on why this may be happening, is it something to do with TIFF vs. JPEG???

 

Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Best Regards,

 

Fontaine

 

It's not about the file format, it's about the calibration of the different medias.

The files has the information about the images in the form of bits, computer information, that information is interpreted by every media differently, the computer screen interprets the bits information and converted to light, the printers interpret the bits information in order to use different tints.

 

It's all about color management.

You need to calibrate your computer screen and the printer.

This is as far as I can help you because I don't have experience calibrating printers.

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I've had this problem with standard non-professional printing...looks great on screen, dark in print. I gather it's because my screen is backlighted and my prints are not. Since then I've been using the histogram to judge whether I have the right amount of light and dark in a shot destined for printing, which I admit is rough and ready and monitor calibration may work better, but it seems to do the job for me.

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Even with a calibrated monitor many people still have this problem. Like the last post said it's the diferance between viewing a backlit monitor and a reflective print. I've found that by just increasing the brightnes by 5 to 20 points before I print this will give me the results I'm after.

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All very helpful, thanks!

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If you are doing lots of printing at home I find that turning my monitor down to 2/3rds (you will have to find your correct 'print brightness') and then adjusting the photograph to the exposure I want works wonders. [This is just another method of doing what Todd said]

 

As others have said, it is the bright back-lit screens.

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i would try to extend this issue with my problems. i am trying to do prints also and have similar issues with underexposed results, but somehow i believe it got to be something with settings in the camera, then settings in editing software (in my case, CS5), and also saving the images in appropriate format and settings.

so my question is: can somebody recomend three important things:

a) settings of color space in camera (should it be adobe rgb, srgb or something else)

b) any settings needed in Photoshop CS 5?

c) which saving format and parametres for printing (not for web), for example should it be in adobe, in rgb, in cmyk or what?

of course, we are talking about raw files taken from camera, nikon in my case.

thanks in advance

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I have the same problem on a calibrated Lacie monitor.

 

I cut 4"x5" sections of the same paper from scraps, that the final print will be made on run some test prints and adjust brightness accordingly

It usually is about 20 - 30 brightness points, but not always!

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c) which saving format and parametres for printing (not for web), for example should it be in adobe, in rgb, in cmyk or what?

of course, we are talking about raw files taken from camera, nikon in my case.

thanks in advance

 

You should be using CMYK for prints, I believe.

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Unless your printer specifically states they want CMYK, they probably want an RGB profile of some sort. I believe a lot of inkjets use CMYK, but I'm no expert. Places like Luminous-Landscape have a good number of folks who print at home and can begin to explain the intricacies of a colour-managed workflow for home.

 

'Dark' pictures are tough to get right, and it takes a little experience to learn to 'see' what an on-screen image will look like when printed out. There are a few issues at play:

 

- Monitor calibration. This is primarily about colour accuracy and reproduction, and will be very difficult with a cheaper (non-IPS) display panel which has colors and brightness that change significantly depending on how you angle the monitor/move your head. The luminance (brightness setting) also plays a major part - on my older Apple Cinema Display I have to turn brightness down to about 1/3 of maximum in a room with soft, neutral light (no direct sunlight in the room, shades drawn, lights on).

 

- Color space. Google 'color management' and prepare for some fun. Most print places and all web outlets seem to prefer sRGB profiled images. The better print houses will have suitable ICC profiles (profiles that describe how devices interpret colors) available for the specific printers and papers they use, allowing you to 'soft proof' what your images will look like.

 

- Print media. Each set of media/inks/etc. has it's own available tonal range. For 'dark' images, the difference between a backlit monitor, even one that looks dull, drab, and dark (= what my calibrated monitor looks like when I'm editing images) is huge, and the best 'dark' prints are ones that look excessively bright to me on the computer monitor. Some images look best behind acrylic, others look good under matte mounting, some better under glass, some best on pearl or metallic papers (sunsets look great on Fuji pearl, for example).

 

- The lab. I want a lab that does not do ANY post processing on my images, which many do - I want to be in control of color, brightness, sharpening and so forth. The better labs understand workflows and colour management, and if you do as well, it's easier to pinpoint problem areas. You can also ask them whether they think a certain image will come out with reasonable amounts of detail in the dark areas. As an alternative print full-size crops of smaller sections before committing to a large panel of anything.

 

I love prints, but I don't want the headaches and costs of large format home printers. Besides, I usually want really big prints (more than A3), so I prefer to pay a good printing place rather than messing around with home printing.

Edited by mattia

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A computer screen starts off dark and light is added (Red Blue & Green) to get colour. White is the addition of all three. This is called Additive Colour. (RGB)

Printers use Subtractive Colour system. They start off with white paper and take away light by adding Cyan, Yellow Magenta and Black. (CMYK)

If the print company asks for RGB it is only so that they can view on a screen before converting to CMYK.

 

Then there is the brightness range. A computer screen gives about 300:1 whereas the whitest paper can only offer about 30:1.

 

Repro is both a science and an art. I know the CMYK printer's profiles of the magazine (printed by Webb-offset) that I do a lot of work for but often the files get tampered with (sorry, I mean adjusted) by well meaning people and it goes wrong! Magazines that are printed sheet-fed need different files.

 

Difficult, isn't it?

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Calibrating the monitor will mostly address colour accuracy issues. The dark prints are often simply the result of both the monitor, and even the LCD screen on your camera being cranked up too bright. When I am preparing files for print, I simply turn down the brighness of my monitor a couple of clicks and then work from there.

 

i don't do a lot of printing, but had to recently. After a couple of disappointing results, I ended up tweaking files and then running off 4 x 6 "proofs" at the local Kodak Kiosk at a camera shop (as oppossed to a Walmart, although I suspect that that would have been fine too...) These cost $0.49 each, so not a big investment. Once I have these dialed in, I send them with my order for larger prints with the instructions that "this" is what I'm expecting to get back. I won't say it's perfect, but I was pleased with the results I got back.

 

I think that part of the problem with our subject material is the average lab-jockey hasn't got the foggiest clue as to what colour our stuff is supposd to be. "Normal" photographers have people and trees in their shots. The lab guys have those for reference. We have nudis, shrimp and a lot of blue... Not exactly what they're used to printing...

Edited by Stoo

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