Prints not quite right...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by anm90, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. anm90

    anm90 TPF Noob!

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    So I've been trying to get some prints of one of my pictures that I am most proud of, and I can't seem to get the prints to look as they do on my screen. The image on my screen is always far brighter than the print itself. I have realized that this could be a result of the screen being backlit whereas the print is frontlit. It was also printed at the local "large format" print shop here on campus called Pony Prints. I'm sure that they aren't nearly as high quality as I would get elsewhere but I am worried that when I spend more money on a good quality from somewhere like Mpix that it won't come out just as I like. Should I brighten the image on my screen to the point where it almost looks too bright in hopes that it looks good in print? Or should I just give it to Mpix as is and hope that they will manage it properly?

    I think the biggest issue is that I am not working on a calibrated monitor... although I have compared a few prints from my friend's photo printer to my monitor and they seem to come out very close to each other, aside from the brightness issue. Any suggestions would be much appreciated, as I've never gone through the process of making prints before. Thanks!

    Here is the photo in question. It is cropped a little on the sides to fit the 8x10 ratio. This was the file that was printed at the campus print shop.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Not sure if it's possible (size), but I would be interested in seeing a scanned print for comparison purposes.

    Or is that what this is?

    To be honest - this looks fine (great, in fact) on my calibrated monitor.
     
  3. anm90

    anm90 TPF Noob!

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    Here is the scanned print. Looks wayy different when I look at it this scanned version on screen compared to the original file on screen. Do you think it was on their end?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I am only seeing minor differences between the two versions you posted. The scanned one looks more yellow, while the first one is a little reddish. Other than that, it's hard to tell.

    I do like the first version more, but exposure & brightness look the same to me...
     
  5. iAstonish

    iAstonish TPF Noob!

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    They look a lot different on my monitor. The second version looks more bland, almost faded.
     
  6. reznap

    reznap No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The color tone is way different.

    Also the contrast is subdued on the print vs your original. I would definitely be disappointed..
     
  7. burstintoflame81

    burstintoflame81 TPF Noob!

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    Are you working and saving in sRGB colorspace? What monitor (make and model ) are you using? Are they auto correcting your images? If the image is how you want it to look, then make sure they are NOT adjusting your pics. Whether its color or sharpening, it can destroy the way your pic looks. Walgreens always oversharpens my pics ( and its crappy sharpening ) and ends up making my pics look alot darker.
     
  8. anm90

    anm90 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah the contrast definitely decreased a lot.

    Is there anything that I can do about this? Should I trust that Mpix knows what they're doing and will get an accurate print? I don't want to send it out to mpix and have it come back looking like this print does. I would be sourly disappointed.
     
  9. anm90

    anm90 TPF Noob!

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    They did nothing to my picture. I watched the guy take it off my USB drive, press print, make sure it was auto adjusted to 8x10 size and let the printer do its thing. The meta data in the image does say sRGB color space so I don't think that's the issue. Could it be that their printer prints in CMYK and that's why it's different?
     
  10. burstintoflame81

    burstintoflame81 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, but when he presses print, the system could automatically adjust the quality of the print, the color etc. ( also unless you have the printer profiles set to your computer, what you see on your computer is not what that printer is going to print. )

    If your major problem is brightness and that is all that you notice different, then you need to turn down the brightness on your monitor. If your monitor does not have a brightness control, calibrating it is only going to adjust the color.

    Send a couple prints off to all the local places and compare the differences. If they all look relatively close and your monitor looks way off, then you know where the problem is.
     
  11. Hamtastic

    Hamtastic TPF Noob!

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    Yes. Mpix is Miller's Photographic. They have been serving professional photographers nationwide for decades. I have ordered tens of thousands of prints from Mpix, and they do a fantastic job. I have been ordering my prints from Mpix with no corrections for years, and they almost always come back like I expect them to.

    This is the issue. They will make a print accurate to the file you send them. If you are working with an uncalibrated monitor then in my opinion you are on a fool's errand if accuracy is important to you. Working on an uncalibrated monitor is like cooking by having your dog taste the food (instead of yourself). The dog seems to like it, but when served to your guests there might be some surprises. :)

    I calibrate my monitors every two weeks. Every time I've ever calibrated a previously uncalibrated monitor there has been a noticeable change in appearance. Get a simple calibration system like the Color Munki. It's vital for doing your own digital processing.

    Here are a couple of other issues:

    The dynamic range of prints tends to be a bit less than monitors, even when calibrated. While I can see details in tones in the upper 240s (on the 0 to 255 tonal scale) range on my monitor, my experience is that that in prints those details are going to blow out. Even though I can see a difference on my monitor I know that in the print I should count on anything in the 245ish-255 range will be solid white in the print. Send in a test print with some tone steps and gradients to nail down exactly where the limits are.

    Back in the darkroom raising the enlarger head (making the print larger) decreased contrast. I'm not sure that it works exactly the same, but I have found that with large prints (16"x24" and bigger) I sometimes need to do a test print. I just can't always nail it down exactly on my monitor (particularly if there is important detail in very bright highlights). Usually after seeing one test print I can get it exactly where I want it. Yes, big test prints are expensive, but paying for one to get exactly what I want is acceptable to me. Back in the darkroom I would have required up to a dozen test prints.

    Edit: Here's a tip. Since you only need to calibrate once or twice a month (hopefully, I suppose some monitors might not hold it as well?) a calibration kit is the sort of thing that's perfect for several photography friends to go in on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    There is no doubt that Mpix knows what they are doing.

    Have you visited Mpix's Support page that explains how to prepare your image before you upload it to them? Mpix.com - Help
     

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