Beginner Not happy with prints from local photographic shop

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Name
Tom
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#1
Hi All,

I recently had three photos printed 16X12" from a local independent photo shop. I emailed the photos after giving them a ring. I asked whether I should increase the brightness as I'd heard that is advisable if you've edited them on a computer screen. He said he would do that if necessary. While I was pleased with one, one had lost a lot in the shadows and the other he brightened, which reduced the saturation and the impact of the image (probably because it was a JPEG).

Is there any advice for getting photos printed as they appear on your screen (aside from getting your own printer etc. as I definitely can't afford that!).

Should I have brightened them myself and asked him not to make any changes?

Many thanks,
Tom
 
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11,622
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Rich
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#2
Maybe get a screen calibrator, too bright monitor is very often the cause of dark prints.
You might be surprised just how much you have to turn the brightness down to get a good base for printing from.
 
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Tom Pinchenzo
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Tom
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#3
Maybe get a screen calibrator, too bright monitor is very often the cause of dark prints.
You might be surprised just how much you have to turn the brightness down to get a good base for printing from.
Just done a bit of googling and references to calibration are to do with colour - apparently windows has a color calibration tool which I’ll have a go at - but how do you calibrate for brightness?
 
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Rich
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#5
Just done a bit of googling and references to calibration are to do with colour - apparently windows has a color calibration tool which I’ll have a go at - but how do you calibrate for brightness?
Calibration process includes brightness, for instance mine is set at about 40% to produce satisfactory prints.
 
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droj
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#7
It's a minefield. Stay focussed. A bit of patient experimenting is advised. After a while it'll all come fairly naturally.

First set display brightness to somewhere between 40% and 50% (in my experience).

Have a look at this - https://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/monitor-calibration.htm
and this - http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/why-are-my-prints-too-dark/
and this - http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/beware-of-the-colour-management-tar-pit/
and this - http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/

It'll all get you thinking about the issues involved.
 
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#8
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414
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#9
Once you've calibrated your monitor (as mentioned above it covers colour and brightness) you will also need to look at paper profiles so yiu can do soft proofing. Getting the image right on screen is only half the battle as the paper profile can affect contrast and colour balance as well.

The printer should be able to provide these to you, if not you should really find one that can. For example check out Loxley Colour - they have a guide for how to get prints looking right, including calibration and soft proofing.
 
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Paul
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#10
As others have said you need a calibrated screen. You also need to go to a pro photoshop that has a calibrated screen. Many high street and cheap internet places barely bother, after all the vast majority of their clients are just regular people without calibrated screens.

Secondly, many high street, non pro shops apply filters to the images to improve them before printing, as this generally makes the average consumer photo look better, however if you have of course balanced everything perfectly to how you want it, and are using a calibrated screen, then this will put it out of kilter. You need to check with them first.
 
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#11
As others have said calibrate your screen with a calibration device (they don't have to be that expensive), maybe use soft proofing in PS along with paper profiles (or profiles the print shop provide) and edit or proof using a white background so you can see how light or dark it should appear on paper, a Joe Cornish tip. I often find it's beneficial to brighten a touch for print.
 
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droj
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#12
I recently had three photos printed 16X12" from a local independent photo shop.
Probably best to find a lab you can like and stick to it. Prices can be lots cheaper than high street too. Three 12x16's from uploaded files on good Fuji C-type paper should be under a tenner including postage and should be returned in a flat card wrapper. The same sized inkjets on 'art' paper might be £14 each plus post. Either way, it's incumbent on you to prepare the files correctly, so some form of calibration is involved - but not necessarily by using a device.

Lots of stuff on these topics passes through the forum's portals - at the risk of confusion, do some roaming.

Labs seem to vary in approach. Some might not mention paper profiles at all (maybe reasonably, since most of their customers won't have heard of such a thing). But they might apply auto-corrections? Who knows, if they're not telling?

I would choose a lab whose on-line advice is clear and explicit. That of many isn't, and they need tutoring in information architecture.
 
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Tom Pinchenzo
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Tom
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#13
Thanks for all the ideas - I think screen calibration and finding a decent lab (mine was the £13 a print high street job from referred to...) is the way forward.
 
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#14
Thanks for all the ideas - I think screen calibration and finding a decent lab (mine was the £13 a print high street job from referred to...) is the way forward.
Good plan - like I mentioned before check out Loxley Colour, they have all the guidance you need for a good print :)
 
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Nightmare
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#16
1. Monitor at decent (low) brightness
2. Perfect histogram. Almost nobody here cares and then you get dark prints.
3. Calibrated monitor.
4. Photo edited for target printer profile or at least argb if they accept it
5. Avoid c-types. They have very crap extreme colour reproduction - almost no reds and oranges at all. It will get expensive but that's better than crap
 
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Simon
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#17
The simplest way to calibrate for brightness is to get a print done with no brightness correction.
Then adjust your monitor brightness and contrast - when displaying that image - to match. Obviously an exact match is impossible since one is a screen and the other a print, but you can get close.

Check each time you prepare files for print.


1
5. Avoid c-types. They have very crap extreme colour reproduction - almost no reds and oranges at all. It will get expensive but that's better than crap
I've said it before, I much prefer c types for most of my stuff. The shadow detail and subtlety outweigh the weaker saturated colours.
 
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