BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Steve Harvey
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2010

What You See May Not Be What You Get!

When I work on an image in Photoshop, it looks good to me on my computer screen and in my Basic Betterpholio, but when I print this image, it is low in contrast and dark. I have had people comment on my photo in my pholio and say it was good with soft sidelighting. So I assume it looks good on their screens too. But the problem is when I print it, it looks bad. I've only just started to upload images and find this very frustrating. Can anyone suggest some remedies?

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1/4/2011 12:06:12 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  One of the simplest problems with the monitor and print not matching is people don't think about the image on the monitor is light by transmission, but the print is light by reflection.
The monitor image is always going to look more colorful because light comes from the monitor. A simple fix for that is to adjust the monitor brightness to more closely resemble the print, or get used to judging how light to make the image on the screen so that it matches when you print.
The more involved way is to use a calibration program so the monitor image and print will match.

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1/4/2011 1:44:17 PM

Thomas C. Geyer
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/14/2008
  I have the very same problem. I've got a Huey color match program for my monitor but the prints still come out dark. I usually just add about a half stop of exposure to correct the print. It took several print-outs to get this value, and it would probably be different for every monitor/printer combination. -Tom

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1/4/2011 6:38:44 PM

Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
  Hi Steve,
Calibration is the key to making your prints match your monitor. I have read mixed reviews about Huey but I use Spyder2 Pro that I bought in 2006 (I am sure they have newer versions now) and it does the job.
When using a calibration tool, you must create a profile and then assign that profile to your printer & your monitor. If you are not doing this step, you are still using mixed (or default) profiles and they will not match.
I also keep the ambient lighting in my room the same and re-calibrate every 2-3 weeks or immediately if the lighting in the room changes.
Hope this helps.

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1/4/2011 7:24:26 PM

Phillip A. Flusche
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/17/2003
  All of these are great answers. But of equal importance is to use the Editing Software to control the printing. When you print be sure to go into the preferences area of the printer and turn off the printer color control or auto setting. Use manual control and set it to off or no control. If you don't the printer controls the color and your print will not look like what you have on the monitor. It is also important to set the color space for the type of paper you are using. Papers have different tonal colors, some are bluer than others. These should be available from the paper provider. I use red River paper and they have settigns for all their paper as does Ilford.

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1/18/2011 4:07:02 AM

Thea Menagh
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2001
  As a seriously technically-challenged professional photographer & graphic designer, I've found 'my own way' of ensuring my prints are the same as what I see on my monitor. It DOES mean making a few, simple changes to my monitor depending on whether I upload my photos for lab-printing or to one of my other printers, but Keeps It Simple, Steve!! I now make adjustments to photos quickly from memory, but in the beginning, I ensured I had one print from each of my printers handy, and held it next to my monitor when making adjustments to the new photo. When brightness/contrast & colours were similar, I knew the print would be fine! Sounds too simple & unreliable, but always worked for me, while I had difficulties with calibration software ... which might get the settings right for one printer, but not another! Everything depends on the type of printing equipment, procedures, type of paper/card stock, coating, etc. Hope this helps ... Thea

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1/18/2011 4:22:47 AM

Nancy    Hi! Steve,
Thea is right in her last statement.
I use a pro lab and have my monitor calabrated close to the labs. I used Spyder2. I was able to talk to the lab tech. who walked me thru what he wanted. So the printing equipment, paper and his expert tech skills make my prints come out beautiful and bright.
Good printing,
Nancy, "The Picturelady"

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2/4/2011 8:25:21 PM

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