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Photography Question 
Kay M. Daniel

Printing Difficulties at Home

When I print digital images on regular paper, the color is fine. When I print the same images on photo paper, the images are green. I make selections for paper type, etc., and I bought new photo paper. Nothing seems to make a difference. Regardless of settings, color is fine on regular paper, green on photo paper. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

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11/13/2005 3:45:19 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  Does it get better after each print? Inks don't flow well right away if the printer hasn't been used for a period.
Or one of your tanks could be clogged, like magenta. Photo paper settings will spray more ink than regular paper, so the lack of ink coming from a tank will make the color funny. That's all I can think of right now.

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11/13/2005 3:22:10 PM

Justin B. Renshaw
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/27/2005
  Are you using a photo printer?

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11/14/2005 9:40:25 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Can you give us some more info? What brand & model printer are you using? What brand & grade of photo paper are you using?

My HP printer (CP1700) is great for general purposes, but B&W photos will have a green tint to them. It is more noticeable if you compare the print to a true B&W picture. We have an Epson photo printer now, so we don't use the HP for photos any more.

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11/15/2005 12:08:33 PM

David King   It sounds like a profiling issue. Using good old silver-gelatin photo paper in the darkroom where except for slight variations in tone, all were similar because all were silver based, one brand or another varied far less than brand loyalists would argue in terms of D-Max and image tone. But with an inkjet printer, color is a result of the interaction of the ink and the particular coating on the paper. Different brands of ink-jet paper use different formulations for their coatings. Especially with non-photo printers this can be a huge problem. Even with good photo printers however, there is often a significant difference between colors on diffrent media (papers) using the same settings.

The solution is to profile each paper/ink combination. But first you need to make sure your monitor is calibrated so that you can predict that what you see on the monitor will be what the printer kicks out.


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11/15/2005 3:42:58 PM

Dan Fogelberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/24/2005
  If you haven't tried this already, the easiest thing to do is match the brand of printer and paper. I've noticed that I get the best prints on the premium Epson photo paper in my Epson printer. Even the top quality papers from other companies show a very noticeable color shift. Profiles are best, and of course your monitor can be off, but I'd at least try matching the brands, since they've already done the paper/ink profiles for you.

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11/15/2005 4:05:44 PM

anonymous A.    I think David has it...but some printers/monitors make the profiling procedures very hard to access. My wife's Lexmark P707 produces beautiful prints if the colour space is set to sRGB but not if Windows manages the colour directly: then it gets a distinct green tinge.
My Canon Pixma 5000 has to be set to Manual Colour profile (and ICM on) in the print driver. If not the colours are just not "true".

I'm afraid trial and error is the only way out, although I have seen good result without profiling by reducing the offending colour in software or adding a touch of (in your case,)red. The photo will now look less than perfect on screen, but print better, because you have compensated for the printer's tendency to overemphasize the green. This is only a work around until you can get your profiles right or fix/replace the printer. Have you contacted the manufacturer?

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11/15/2005 4:25:05 PM

L. W.   I had the same problem when printing until I was told to match the brand of paper to the printer. I was surprised that the cure was that simple. I do sometimes have to make minor adjustments but nothing outrageous.

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11/15/2005 4:50:57 PM

Dawn Penso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
  I have a similar problem with my Canon Pixma i8500, giving very poor greens. Like you I get better results using standard rather than the presets for photo papers. I believe finding a satisfactory ink and paper combination is part of the solution, (other than buying a print profiler for hundreds of pounds or dollars) -but how consistent are the inks from one batch to the next?

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11/16/2005 8:40:30 AM

David King   Dawn that's really an excellent question and it raises a sometimes troubling issue. The unfortunate answer is... "It depends."

Just as color film drifted a touch from lot to lot and pros always tested new lots for accurate filtering, so does the color in any dye or pigment color have some variance. The good news is that in the higher end inks designed for photo printers, especially high end photo printers, that drift is minimal. For landscapes, portraits, and normal shooting most would never have a clue it has slightly changed. For pros shooting such things as products with logos that have to be a dead match for the original, or fashion that has to match clothing colors, they will definitely notice the drift however and have to make some slight adjustments now and then to the printer settings to compensate.

A major issue still arises for less critical shooters with the use of 3rd party inks. Many users love these because they are almost always cheaper than the house-brand inks. There is a reason they are cheaper and sometimes that reason is cost savings with less quality control. So not only are they almost certainly going to be different in color respoonse compared to house brand inks to greater or lesser degrees, they can also sometimes be more prone to color drift between batches or lots. Caveat Emptor... let the buyer beware.

Until all other variables are sorted out, I usually advise students to stick with house brand inks and papers. Once the proper system is stabilized and understood, then one can change variables one at a time (like paper, for instance) and experiment to find, ultimately, the best combinations that create the final image effects they need.


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11/16/2005 9:10:42 AM

anonymous A.    I have to say that I couldn't be happier witn the fidelity and consistency of my Pixma 5000, but my demands are not critical. By this I mean that I am not going back to the original subject and holding the print against it to make sure the colours are identical. My work is not so "scientific". I have tried many brands of paper, both 'brand' and third party and virtually all are satisfactory. Three house brand papers were awful (2 for color caste, for drying time and all either jammed or had more than one problem caste, colour off, wouldn't dry). The very best in my printer is Canon's own paper and the very cheapest house brand (a Japanese paper from the MegaMart chain in Australia).
I have found the same with inks. Most are very good and I can't tell the difference from the Canon inks, but those which are not satisfactory show their true colours (sorry)pretty quickly and you don't go back to them.
What I can't say is that they will have the longevity of the manufacturer's materials, but so far, different combinations of different inks and papers has not caused me grief.
Get that tinge under control, then experiment.

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11/16/2005 12:56:45 PM

David Robinson   Have you tried printing on Photo grade paper using ordinary paper settings?
If the result is the same as on ordinary paper this would show that it is not the paper that is at fault

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11/17/2005 5:35:25 AM

Dawn Penso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
  I think a partial solution would be to buy paper in boxes of 100 sheets, thus reducing the number of variables for a while at least. I have been given a profile by Olmec based on a test print which they evaluated but am having problems loading it into my mac. If I solve that problem and it looks ok - it's based on icc profiles - then I'll stick to Olmec paper, forever more! My other decision is to have prints which I've sold made on photo paper by a pro lab.

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11/17/2005 7:09:23 AM

Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  what about the same Phot Ink and Photo Paper as the printer? How old is the printer?? what make? Im using a 3 year old HP all in one copier/scanner/printer that makes awesome prints.. I do however, use HP Photo Inks, Photo Papers allways.

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11/17/2005 9:48:33 AM

Dawn Penso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
  Hello Craig - The printer is a year old, a Canon Pixma I i8500. Until December last year I used an HP but got taken in by all the talk about separate cartridges and how wonderful the Canon was. The problem started right away with Canon ink and paper. I never had this problem with the HP. I started using third party papers. The Olmec profile has now given me a lurid red cast on their paper. Recently I tried some non-Canon inks and now have a mix of both. Maybe I should put the Canon in the attic and bring the HP back...

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11/17/2005 11:02:31 AM

anonymous A.    I assume the i8500 uses a similar printer driver to the 5000, ot at least has a similar control panel. Try this:
open the printer control panel. On the MAIN tab, set paper type to Glossy Photo Paper and color adjustment to manual. Click the Color Adjustment SET button and then enable ICM. Don't adjust the individual colours yet. Click OK then go to the EFFECTS tab. Turn off any special effects, close the driver and print a test page.
If you're not happy, go back into the driver, open the effects menu and enable, in turn Photo optimiser PRO (try a print) Image Optimizer (try a print) and Noise Reduction (try a print). If none of these do the trick, go back into the MAIN tab,Click the SET button and use the sliders to reduce the offending colour. When you are happy with the result, save the combination as a profile and make that profile your default. This will work!

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11/17/2005 12:45:23 PM

Dawn Penso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
  I followed your instructions David and they worked! Absolutely brilliant! I finally got a print with the greens looking green. I've only tried one print so far as I'm nearly out of paper. I'm going to Venice tomorrow and really looking forward to coming back and having the water in the canals look green for a change. Thank you so much.

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11/18/2005 7:47:18 AM

anonymous A.    Great, Dawn. Have a fantasic time! But if you get the canals to look green, you'll be one up on the Venetians: they've been trying for years without success.

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11/18/2005 12:52:04 PM

Dawn Penso
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/6/2005
Hello David, Here's a pic of the Grand Canal - even greener than I remembered! It was very cold and very sunny and sometimes the water looked like the Caribbean. In the distance. Next challenge now is to print the pix, I'm planning to try some fine art paper so I shall probably have to start the whole colour matching process again. Aaaaa

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11/27/2005 10:05:44 AM

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