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Color Calibration Stuck on Dark

Scrayen | Camera and Photography Basics | Published Feb 4, 2013

X-Rite eye-one display 2

Eye-One Match 3 software, v3.6.2 (latest drivers for pc)
Windows 8 (up to date)
NEC Multisync EA231WMi display (windows 8 drivers)
Epson Workforce 635 printer (windows 8 drivers)
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 Display Adaptor (installed latest drivers)
Display Adaptor Specs: http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-
gpus/geforce-gts250/specifications

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I just want to calibrate and profile my monitor. My prints are too dark. I think I have tried all the solutions regarding reducing monitor brightness. I am not really interested in printing but just doing it to help calibrate my monitor. 

I intend to eventually submit photos to stock agencies. I do not intend to print them myself except for a non-critical family photo on occasion. I normally avoid printing photos myself. I send photos online to family. In other words, must I calibrate my printer in order to verify monitor calibration? My printer is an office printer not built specifically for photography.

I must be doing something wrong because my photos are consistently too dark, even after re-calibration using different settings. I am missing something or maybe making this unnecessarily too hard.

I have run the x-rite calibration process using the Advanced option. I then print the photo and check calibration by holding the printed picture next to the monitor. The print is always too dark, even if I recalibrate the monitor using reduced brightness. Seems like no matter what I do the print is darker than the monitor.  It does not seem right to adjust the monitor to match my local printer for stock photography.

The closest results I have had to date were default settings for the monitor and printer. Close but probably not good enough for stock agencies.

My workflow:


PREPARATION
Warm up display and printer.

Best done at night to avoid other light. The only other light in the room is a single 5500K 27W spiral flourescent ceiling lamp. This allows the x-rite software to put the ambient light needles in the green zones.

I wear a dark grey sweatsuit to avoid reflections from my white t-shirt.

CALIBRATION PROCEDURE for eye-one

Windows 8 Display Appearance
1920 x 1080, True Color 32-bit

Windows 8, Color Management, Printer Settings, Color Management, Devices Tab,
Checkmark in box for "Use my settings for this device"
Profile Selection: Manual
Profiles associated with this device: None, I removed the profile so the printer would print as the monitor profile sees it. The icc profile I removed was: Epson IJ Printer 07.icc

Monitor Settings:
ECO Mode: Off
Auto Brightness: Off
DV Mode: Standard

RGB: 1 (set on 1 to allow me to adjust RGB during calibration) I suppose this is the correct use of these unlabeled numbers. (1,2,3,sRGB,5,N User)


Calibration:
Advanced Mode
LCD

White Point: Medium White (6500)
Gamma 2.2
Luminance: 120 - LCD - Recommendation

Perform ambient light check
Calibrate holding the I1 in front of screen but facing away.
Measured: Color Temperature: 4600K (needle is in the green)
Illuminance: 56 Lux (needle is in the green)
tip: Had to wear grey shirt because white t-shirt was reflecting light.

Removed the ambient light head.

Placed i1 on the monitor. It sits slightly crooked because of cable twist. Hope that is okay. I tried using a large rubber band to flatten it but saw no difference.

Contrast: Initial setting 100%. Adjusted to 90.6% (needle in the green)
RGB controls: RGB Presets: 6500
Current: 6500

Luminance (Brightness) Target: cd/m2 120.0
Current: cd/m2 120.0

Measured procedure seemed to go okay. I let it save the profile to default.

There must be something wrong with this procedure. Any help appreciated.