Disappointed with my prints

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by sojourn, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. sojourn

    sojourn TPF Noob!

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    I received my 12x16 prints for a photo show, today, and I am a bit disappointed with how they turned out.

    I see alot of noise in one image (below) and neither were quite as crisp as I had hoped. They were both a bit 'warmer' than they appear on-screen. This company is 'the' place to get good prints made, so I don't know if I am expecting too much...especially about the color difference. (P.S I just called the shop and they said they would reprint if I came in with proofs :smacks head with hand: )

    I was using my Sigma 18-200 lens on the 18mm setting and the AE ISO was 640 for the one below, so I can see where some of the noise came from, but since the image was so big, 3888 x 2592 pixels, I had hoped it wouldn't have been this bad.

    Would this photo come out better if I had switched to a lower ISO and done a manual exposure?

    I really am at a disadvantage here, because I view my images almost exclusively on screen--and these two images looked great, so I perhaps I am expecting too much.

    Should I switch to shooting with RAW instead of the high res JPG? I am not familiar with RAW and it's difference compared to JPG, but I am skilled at image touchup in PhotoPaint, if that is what is called for.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. TJ K

    TJ K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What place is this? I use bay photo and they are absolutely awesome. The customer service and quality is just great. I would really look into using them next time you get prints if this issue isn't fixed if you get a reprint at that place. Also if you spend over 12 dollars ups 2 day shipping is just $1.50 which is awesome.
    TJ
     
  3. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Hmmmm .... I've found just the opposite. I find that mpix.com prints often look better than I expect them to look after seeing them on the monitor.
     
  4. sojourn

    sojourn TPF Noob!

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    Well, I am a bit farther north than any Bay Photo stores, (Redding) but I might give them a try long distance. Their prices are cheaper than what I paid for my prints.

    I took back the prints and gave them 5x7 proofs with the color temp I was looking for...we'll see.

    This is my second show and first time actually being chosen for exhibit. The first one my photos were included in a book, which was very nice. The prints are being sent thousands of miles away...I'll never see them in exhibit. :(

    Not concerning myself with contest entries or even prints when I was taking pictures of these awesome sunsets, I never considered the image being taken at 640 ISO. Thankfully the other one was taken at 100 so it looks sharper.
     
  5. burstintoflame81

    burstintoflame81 TPF Noob!

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    Did you calibrate your monitor and download the printer profiles from this place? You can set them in Photoshop and then you can see a simulation of what the pic will look like when printed as opposed to how it looks on your computer screen.

    Also, I would recommend shooting in RAW. If for nothing else then to have the ultimate backup and you also have to worry about JPEGS getting progressively worse everytime you save them and compress them further.


    I had major nightmares when I first started printing. Nothing was right and it took a lot of trial and error. Now I NEVER let anyone adjust/correct/sharpen my pics because you never know what you are going to end up with. They could just be color correcting automatically. Maybe they are making the color technically perfect, but if you like the way the colors looked when you edited the pic, then why let them do anything to it?
     
  6. gpardo64

    gpardo64 TPF Noob!

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    When reading the manual of my camara I found something called Color Space which can be RGB or Adobe RGB and can be set up in the camera. This is what my manual says: "The sRGB color space is widely used, while the Adobe RGB color space is typically used in publishing and commercial printing".

    I am not familiar with that, I just wanted to give you something to think about. Maybe somebody else could give us some light on that.

     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    burstintoflame81 Has hit what I think is the most likley problem

    Calibration.

    Essentailly your computer screen as shipped is not colour calibrated and screen makers don't try to calibrate to true colour. Thus how your shots look on your screen can look very different to how they look on another persons.
    First step is hardware based screen calibration - eg a Spyder 3 or Huey - it has to be hardware based because human eyes are highly adaptive and subjective so they are no good at telling true colour.

    Second step is to review the colour profiles and such of the printing company - now that is a tricky area and I have to admit I don't know my way around it really. What I tend to do is (after ensuring that my screen is calibrated) send of for postcard sized prints and do a series (I tend to find prints have much brighter whites and much darker blacks than on the computer screen) with a few different settings and see what comes back. Postcard size is not too expensive and gives you an idea of how the colours are shaping up - if all goes well print larger. The top printing companies will be calibrating their printers as well so the idea then is that once monitor and edits are calibrated you should have no worried preparing other shots for print from them.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the world of digital photography where to get quality prints made you have to become proficient in preparing your images.

    Here is a link to the page at Mpix that explains how to prepare your images for them to print: Mpix.com - Help

    I'll 3rd that you need to calibrate your monitor with either a colorimeter or a spectrophotometer.

    A good colorimeter: X-Rite | Eye-One Display 2 Colorimeter Monitor Profile | EODIS2

    A colorimeter will only calibrate your monitor and a spectrophotometer (Eye-One ColorMunki) can do that plus your printer(s) and scanner(s).

    burstintoflame81 also mentioned "soft proofing" in Photoshop whereby you download the labs printer ICC profile and can then see a close approximation of what your prints will look like on your computer monitor.

    Be aware that images on a monitor have the light source behind them and we see prints with reflected light, a substantial difference.

    gpardo64 mention "Color Space" and that is something you'll also need to research if you want control of your print quality.

    I capture images in the RAW data format and convert them to the ProPhotoRGB color space for post processing in ACR and Photoshop. For web and most of my prints they then get converted to the sRGB color space.

    Color space - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  9. sojourn

    sojourn TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I understand the need for calibration in that the newspaper advertisements and graphics art I created for so long needed a very muted color calibration for our monitor palettes, newsprint is a flat, dull-white medium, although I could 'translate' what was on the screen no matter what, and even ages ago created full color illustrations by cutting each plate by hand in zipatone. Aah, those were the days...

    I watched the Spyder demo video, very interesting program. If my photo career 'takes off' then I will most definitely need to get it. After losing my decades long job at the newspaper to outsourcing I sort of lost my ambition for a while, but I am working double time to find a niche, either in photography or graphics art.

    I've dinked around for two years taking tens of thousands of images and not doing a darn thing with them.

    I will ask the print shop about printer profiles. Having them shoot small versions of my images didn't even occur to me. Of course neither did I consider sending them proof images. Now I am stuck with two rather expensive prints, hopefully they will be able to reprint them more to my liking.

    Leave it to me to do things bass ackwards. :lol: I take good pictures, now it is time to learn to take great pictures.

    P.S. Thank you, too, KmH, we posted at the same time. Jeez I am behind the learning curve. I fear switching to RAW, but I will give it a go. I don't have Photo Shop, we were the only newspaper property in the world to start up on PCs and CorelDraw/PhotoPaint. While I have 20 years of it under my belt, and I love the program, it has left me severely hampered in the world of industry standard Adobe products and skill, not to mention the exorbitant prices of Adobe programs!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  10. burstintoflame81

    burstintoflame81 TPF Noob!

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    Just to further touch on the topic, I noticed the major problem with my monitor as is with most LCD screen, is that it is too bright. ( I used a spyder express to calibrate and had a SMALL change in color ) The main problem, You have to turn down the brightness if you can. If I had to list the three major problems that I had was...

    1) Screen too bright ( turned down the Color temp setting in monitor )

    2) Accidentally shooting in a different color space and not saving/converting to sRGB. ( I fixed the camera but didn't realize that Adobe Camera Raw was set to automatically convert everytime I opened the file and I was not changing it back when saving.

    3) printing at places that autocorrect. ( Walgreens adds a terrible amount of sharpening that over darkens the pics ). I started using Costco that allows you to download their printer profile and choose for them to not auto-correct. ( and their prices are pretty decent for larger prints ).

    I would say to check those three things. And if you have the money, get a spyder Express ( $70 ).
     
  11. tomhooper

    tomhooper TPF Noob!

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    sojourn, I only shoot manual and RAW. Its a little difficult at first, but with just a little practice it becomes second nature. Oh and definitely calibrate that monitor.
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    As far as professional grade software in some other industries goes, Adobe's products aren't all that expensive.

    At any rate.....a quick play - dodged the foreground, selected the sky and added Vibrance, selected the foreground and added Vibrance, added my personal special recipe for some 'pop', ran a basic mat/frame action:
    [​IMG]
     

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