My prints are too dark. The road to madness. For beginners.

Started Nov 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
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David Tallboys Regular Member • Posts: 236
My prints are too dark. The road to madness. For beginners.

The printers are Ok it's your monitor that is too bright. Oh no it's not. I haven't got a monitor. So there.

I'm glad I found this forum because otherwise I would already have smashed camera, computer and printer. I may yet do so, and stick an ice pick between my ears just to make sure at least one of the guilty parties has suffered.

Thanks to some of you, particularly Joe, I realise this is a game where I have got to ignore what I see and think just like a pilot flying in cloud - I have to believe the instruments once calibrated for me.

So for me, as a beginner at printing, and just wanting results that are reasonable (and thank goodness I'm not trying to sell prints) this is what works.

I add about +1 EV or, using Picasa, 50% of the fill light adjustment. Ignore what it looks like in the LCD or monitor.

What I've done. I've printed about 200 variations of photos. Some mine, some test images downloaded from Northlight.

I took almost identical images with cameras - Canon 5d, 400d, s95, sx280, Fuji x100s, iphone 4s. One outdoors in bright light, one indoors to compare book cover colours.

I printed on Canon 6550, 6600d, Selphy 740.

For me (your eyes may vary!) +1 EV or the 50% fill light in Picasa gets the print to nearly the best actual comparison with the real book covers and the view from my window.

This is also the case with the test image loaded down. Printed straight out it was too dark.

I used the Canon Selphy as a comparison for the very reason of eliminating me from the process! Take a photo, same photo +1 EV +1 2/3rds EV. Print from camera direct to Selphy.

So yes the monitor is too bright - if it looks good on the monitor the print will be too dark. If it looks washed out, having got it to look good, and then just add the fill light, then it works for me.

I realise what is said about having to get proper ICC profiles or whatever set up for each printer is clearly necessary if you are charging people for stuff, but if you are just fed up with the blue sky coming out too dark on your prints see if what I do works for you - the younger you are the less fill light you need I suspect.

Bad news - all those camera toys - and yet the phone was pretty darned good.

Good news - I've only wasted one day and a very late night. If I hadn't come to the forum I would be well on the road to madness.

 David Tallboys's gear list:David Tallboys's gear list
Fujifilm X100S Canon PowerShot SX280 HS Canon PowerShot S120
Canon EOS 400D (EOS Digital Rebel XTi / EOS Kiss Digital X) Canon EOS 5D Canon PowerShot S95 Fujifilm X100S
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