Trying to understand the soft proofing results I'm getting

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SamAndMaxPhoto Junior Member • Posts: 42
Trying to understand the soft proofing results I'm getting

Hey everyone!

I'm completely new to the world of printing so I'm not sure I'm doing things correctly and would love some pointers, especially with soft proofing.

So the quick story is that I have a picture I want to print, I don't have a printer myself but I'll go through Saal-Digital for that, I got the ICC profiles for their different papers from them here, I calibrated my monitor with a Spyder and when I turn on soft proofing in PS I'm getting results I'm not sure I understand.

My main surprise are with the blacks and lack of contrast on some profiles. Here's an example of what happens if I choose a Hahnemuhle Photo Rag profile (left is without proofing):

If I choose another paper type (Hahnemuhle Baryta for example) I'm getting deeper blacks, almost like the original, some other (Metal prints) gives me black that are even lighter than the Photo Rag, but so far I haven't found a single profile that keep the black as black as they are without proofing.

So I have a few questions:

  • If I want the blackest blacks possible, I assume I should choose the support accordingly (in this case, Hahnemuhle Baryta seems to be it)?
  • Am I correct in assuming that proofing will always lighten blacks at least a little bit because blacks on a monitor will always be darker than whatever we can print?
  • Is soft proofing really reliable when it comes to blacks? I feel like a lot of those profiles give me very grey-ish blacks even though I've seen prints on such papers that looked very black in real life. On top of that, how dark a black looks also depends on the lighting conditions right? So could it be that the profiles are a bit overzealous when it comes to simulating the look of blacks?
  • Is this something I should try to correct in PS to get even deeper blacks? I've tried a little bit with curves and levels but I didn't manage to darken the blacks.
  • Is there anything I'm missing/I should know about?
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