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  1. #1
    DebbyS is offline I'm new here!
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    Default Prints Are Too Dark

    Not sure if i'm posting in the right place, but here goes.

    When I open a photo in Photoshop CS3 or PSE 10, it looks fine to me. When I print the photo using either of these programs, the print is way too dark. I have a (new) Epson Artisan 835. If I print the SAME photo to my little Canon Selphy CP800 4 x 6 printer, the photo looks fine and seems to match the screen. If I print the same photo using Epson Easy Print software to the Epson printer, it looks much lighter, but not as good as the pic on the Canon. In other words, if I take Adobe out of the equation, the pics look much better, but that is where I do my editing!

    I have tried researching this online and there is much talk of monitor calibration, which I do not understand so have not purchased any calibration software yet. Nor would I know which one to get should I decide to do so.

    I'm a novice at all this and I'm feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. I just want to print nice pics, not aiming for pro quality because I am definitely not a pro. Any advice? THANKS!!
    Canon EOS 60D
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    doctorjames is offline Dont change this!
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    ok, well without going into too much detail:

    the canon and epson software are likely 'correcting' your image to what it thinks is an acceptable exposure.

    printing from photoshop, if you do not use these 'enhancements' will result in a print that should represent the actual image.

    If you are running an uncalibrated system then the chances are your screen brightness is far to high, so rather than your printer printing too dark, your screen is actually 'printing' too bright.

    I would suggest doing some more reading on ICC profiles, printer profiling and monitor profiling/calibration. It can get a little daunting and dry at times, but its quite helpful in understanding how colours and light/dark are represented. When correctly calibrated a monitor actually looks fairly bland when browsing the web, as opposed to contrasty and bright and eye catching. Most monitors are setup to make the web look 'good' rather than 'accurate'

    There are other things to consider too.... looking at a photo is to see the light reflected off it, which depends on the quality and quantity of light available, Looking at a monitor is to look at light beamed to you rather than reflected. Looking at a print in poor light will always make it look dark.
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    ravncat is offline Friendly Astrophysicist
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    Default

    Also make sure you are not color managing twice - set your settings so that only one thing is managing color

  4. #4
    DebbyS is offline I'm new here!
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    Doctorjames, thanks for your response. I have changed the settings in my Epson printer to let photoshop control color. I use Epson paper and ink and I always make sure to choose the appropriate paper from the printer dialog box before printing. Still dark...

    Does this mean that all my photos are really too dark and I am not seeing on the monitor the true "darkness" of them"? I had no idea. I have always sent my pics to Snapfish or printed from a little Canon 4X6 and had no problem until I started printing from Photoshop and PSE to the new Epson.

    Which monitor calibration software do you recommend. Will I need hardware as well?
    Canon EOS 60D
    EFS 18-135mm IS
    EF 50mm 1.8
    EF 24-70 :2.8L

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    You do need hardware, the Spyder express is pretty good and quite cheap.. But even cheaper is to do this..

    Windows 7 has its own calibration software (click on windows button then in the search box type "callibrate").. Use that. It would set up an ICC profile which Lightroom and PSE will use. It's not as accurate, but it'll get you going. Then make sure the histogram is in the centre of the page, and do a trial print.. Hopefully it will use the ICC profile Windows created and your print will be pretty central.

    Now go back to your monitor, and this time, on the monitor, set the brightness etc so that the picture on screen matches your print.

    I suggest you set this print as your desktop and keep the printout in a drawer beside you. Now each time you want to print something, do this little matching to make sure you're seeing on screen roughly what you see on the paper, then you'll know if your prints are going to come out ok.

    This is just a rough guide, it won't get you pro level colour matching etc, but it'll at least give youths ability to match your screen brightness to what you're going to see in a print, without spending hundreds on calibration tools..
    Last edited by SwissJon; 02-09-2012 at 05:06 PM.
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    DebbyS is offline I'm new here!
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    SwissJon, thanks for the tips. Unfortunately I do not have Windows 7. I operate on a PC with Vista Home Premium 32 bit.

    Today I practiced printing again. I made sure the workspace in PSE AND my printer was sRGB. Then I turned OFF color control in PSE 10 and turned it on for my Epson Artisan 835, and the pics were much, much better. I will probably go ahead and purchase a calibration program but will need advice on which one to get. Your recommendation of Spyder Express is noted. Thanks!
    Canon EOS 60D
    EFS 18-135mm IS
    EF 50mm 1.8
    EF 24-70 :2.8L

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    doctorjames is offline Dont change this!
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    Quote Originally Posted by DebbyS View Post

    Today I practiced printing again. I made sure the workspace in PSE AND my printer was sRGB. Then I turned OFF color control in PSE 10 and turned it on for my Epson Artisan 835, and the pics were much, much better.

    The epson software basically modifies the print to 'make it look better' but this means you sacrifice control over it.

    What I mean by this is that an intentionally dark shot it will lighten and an intentionally light shot it will darken.

    If you adjust your photos exposure in PP, all of this hard work (and sometimes the white balance) is undone by your printing software, as it thinks it knows best.

    I too would recommend some hardware calibration. The spyder 3 or spyder 4 as recommended above also gets my vote. I have seen it in use and it looks worth the money, though is on my birthday wish list for next month so cant comment personally.
    Sony Alpha 77 and 100 with a variety of lenses
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