why do photos need color correction prior to printing ?

Started Jan 24, 2013 | Questions thread
soloryb Senior Member • Posts: 2,271
Re: why do photos need color correction prior to printing ?

There are many reasons for calibrating a monitor - other than just for getting good prints. The following link sort of summarizes it.


Coder01 is not happy with how his images appear on his monitor. He does not understand why his images "need correction to go on paper." He also says that his print colors do not match his monitor image's and that the prints appear too dark.

His problem is probably due to a monitor that's not properly calibrated and not using printer/paper profiles. (You need to start with a calibrated monitor before you attempt to do paper/printer profiles anyway.) In fact, if your intended output is a print, you should have your monitor calibration settings optimized for producing prints - as opposed to producing screen images - but that gets into the realm of 'rigorous home and professional printers.' I'm not even going to begin to get into the areas of color workspace and soft-proofing.

rpenmanparker wrote:

But the question OP is asking is WHY does the monitor need to be calibrated to match the print if it doesn't need to be calibrated to make the camera download look good on screen? The answer is simple. I will guess OP is outputting JPEGs from his camera. These are highly modifed in the camera with a certain end appearance target. Since most photographic observation is web and monitor based these days, and relatively few monitors are calibrared the JPEG is optimized for viewing under normal, non-calibrated conditions.

I agree with most of this but JPEGS sould look just fine on a monitor that's been calibrated with luminescence levels set well above 120 cd/m^2 (bright) and with native color temperatures around 6500-K deg). Simplifying it,  calibration is then only making sure that greens are green and reds are red and flesh tones, well - look like flesh. Monitors come with factory calibrations already in place and using a calibration device just improves on things.

The imprecision inherent in the system from monitor to monitor is not an isssue for most consumers. But reliable printing requiees precision. Once the monitor is calibrated to show true color and brightness, the consumer JPEG is all wrong. If OP worked with RAW, he wouldn't have to ask his question. Every image would need to be processed to look good on any monitor, especially a calibrated one. You would just adopt a post processing formula that worked for you.

Same thing as above, using a calibration device on a monitor should result in JPEGs being displayed with improved color accuracy and contrast compared to the factory calibration, not looking 'all wrong.'

That leaves just the question of why (sometimes at least) drugstore prints match what you saw on your uncalibrated monitor. Making that match is the business of consumer printers. They have to adjust the images in-process to make them look good, no matter how they were processed in the camera or in post processing. Sometines they succeed, sometimes they don't. Rigorous home and professional printers want to succeed 100% of the time and so rely on rigidly calibrated systems and reproducible workflow.

I don't bring my images to a drugstore for printing so I'll take your word for it.

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