why do photos need color correction prior to printing ?

Started Jan 24, 2013 | Questions thread
rpenmanparker Contributing Member • Posts: 648
Re: why do photos need color correction prior to printing ?

C Spyr wrote:

rpenmanparker wrote:

Everyone keep flogging the idea that the monitor needs calibrating. Sure, that's right. But that is not what OP is having the problem with.

How can you say that with such certainty, in a situation with such limited knowledge about the OP's workflow and setup?

The lack of a profiled monitor is just one possible cause for the observed problems. Maybe it's something else, in combination or by itself (double profiling comes to mind).

As for your hypothesis:

If you were a camera design engineer, how would you set up your JPEG algorithm. Considering almost everyone has a too-bright monitor, and many, many folks don't post process, and lots of folks just send images from computer or phone to another of the same, wouldn't you tone down your JPEGs so they look good on the common monitor? Then these would print dark at home, but many print labs would fix the problem.

How could any camera design engineer possibly know the luminance of the monitors that will be used to display the pictures? There's such a huge variability! I've seen monitors with a default luminance of 200 cd/m2 (which is very bright) but I've also seen monitors with 300 cd/m2 (that's blazingly bright).

There's no way this can be compensated for in a convincing way by a generic algorithm in the camera to look right on all the differently set monitors.

FWIW: I'm using a calibrated monitor (in my case set to 100 cd/m2) on which I process RAW files as well as out-of-camera jpegs and print them myself. The jpegs do NOT require routine brightening to print well...

Yes, if OP calibrates his monitor, he will see that the JPEGs are too dark for any reason, and he will have to fix them. Or he can output RAW, but he will have to PP everyone of those too. If he prefers JPEG, he can adjust in camera to just put out a brighter JPEG and not have to post process, but then only a calibrated monitor will show the images correctly. That is not the same thing as exposing more; it is just using a different portion of the captured image brightness range.

Maybe I'm not reading you right here, but the way I understand your last paragraph is that the conclusion is to calibrate the monitor...?

Robert, I'm not trying to be argumentative for the sake of it. I'm NOT claiming that monitor luminance calibration will resolve the OP's problems (how could I know that?). However, it is a necessary first step to understand what's going on. Without it, he's flying in the dark. And more often than not, toning down the monitor improves the situation a good deal. If it doesn't, at least he knows he needs to look elsewhere for the solution.


Christian, we are not disagreeing. What we are doing is talking about different things. I'm saying that OP never asked how to expose, view and print correctly. He asked WHY the monitor image looked RIGHT (without him touching the image) and the print looked dark. Your analysis is absolutely correct regarding the need for the calibrated monitor to know where one stands. I was trying to provide a reason for his observation (as he requested), not solve it. One possibility is the camera is underexposing and the monitor is so bright that he can't see the underexposure until the image is printed. I am simply suggesting an alternative reason: the image is properly exposed, but the JPEG algorithm is set to (more or less) accomodate the nearly universal situation of too-bright monitors. If OP calibrates his monitor, he will likely have dark images on it and on prints. Same answer: you can't tell if the image is underexposed or it is just a dark JPEG rendition without further examination. Just saying the JPEG answer is a possibility.

Good conversation!


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