Prints not matching screen.

Dave Bartram

Active Member
Guys, haven't had a lot of printing done lately (always use Photobox). This is probably the first set of prints I've had printed since buying my iMac in December and they are very dark compared to what I'm seeing on screen. Always thought my iMac screen was a little bright so only had a few prints done as a tester before I order some photobooks/enlargements.

Monitor is un-calibrated so do I need to buy a calibration tool? And/or is there anything else I need/can do to replicate what I'm seeing on screen to what Photobox sends me?

Just as a sample these are 2 images that look great on my screen but a bit muddy when printed. Histogram looks pretty good.



 

springtide

Distinguished Member
Will need to check properly on my monitor at home, but they look OK.

I have had exactly the same from Photobox - re: dark prints. Interestingly, I actually had a 6x4's printed at the same time as an enlargement (12x8) and the 6x4 was perfect but the 12x8 was really dark.

For this reason (they seem a bit hit and miss) I don't use them for enlargements anymore (still use them for snaps though).

Not sure what they are like for photobooks. Think you are probably OK as long as part of their process is to actually look at the print.
 
You know that Mac's have colour calibration built in right?

Go to System Preferences/Displays then click on Colour and then Calibrate.

This ISN'T as good as buying a proper hardware calibrator but it's not at all bad. I used this when I first got my iMac and then tried again with my Spyder and the differences weren't that big, much less than when using Adobe Gamma on my old PC.

As you have found out though, iMac screens are very bright, seriously bright in-fact so you do need to get that sorted if you want to do some photo editing.

HTH
 

electrolyte

Well-known Member
On my calibrated screen both your photos look fine to me but as peakoverload has said your imac screen will be very bright which will make your images "pop" out of the screen. But this is an artificial brightness which won't be replicated by the printer at Photobox.

So it sounds like you need to calibrate your screen. I had the same problem with prints from Photobox coming back alot darker than on my PC laptop screen. I bought a Spyder2Express from a US seller on ebay and calibrated my screen - I was amazed at the difference once I'd calibrated the screen. Now my prints from Photobox are much closer to what they look like on the screen - it's not 100% the same but it's close enough.

One thing you should try even if you decide not to buy a calibration tool like a Spyder is ask Photobox to send you a calibration print. They will send you one FOC if you ask them and when it arrives compare it to what it looks like on your screen here. I suspect that the image will look much brighter on your screen than on the print.

One other thing, my Spyder corrected a bad colour cast on my monitor. I didn't notice this but my screen was very blue; I b&w processed about 300 photos in Lightroom for my college photography course and was shocked when they were printed out how brown they all looked. This was because my screen was overly blue. The Spyder has corrected this so the colour is spot on now.

HTH.
 

craig777

Novice Member
Guys, haven't had a lot of printing done lately (always use Photobox). This is probably the first set of prints I've had printed since buying my iMac in December and they are very dark compared to what I'm seeing on screen.
I had some prints done by Photobox a week or so ago and they came back very dark too.

I've looked at the images on various different screens and I'm pretty confident Photobox were the problem. I've since heard from others who have not been happy with Photobox of late. Quality has apparently taken a nose dive for some reason.
 

Dave Bartram

Active Member
Cheers guys, I've done a bit of reading too and seems like Photobox could be the problem (or part of at least) going to take the same pic's and have them printed elsewhere to compare and see how we go. I think getting a monitor calibration widget (Huey / Spyder etc) could be a worthwhile investment.
 

tomson

Active Member
I've had problems with photobox - images looked spot on on my Spyder 2 pro calibrated Cinema Display but the prints were coming back dark and unusable. For years I'd had no problems at all with them and nothing had really changed in my setup/workflow so I can only assume something wasn't right at their end.

I get my prints done elsewhere now.
 

Dave Bartram

Active Member
Sent Photobox a quick email yesterday and this is there reply....

Hi,

Thanks for your e-mail,

I have viewed your images and can confirm that they do appear to be dark. It is possible that you need to recalibrate your monitor, in order to achieve an accurate representation of the prints you will receive. I have sent you a calibration print for this purpose. I have also refunded the cost of your prints to your account that you might place the order again once you have made the necessary changes.

Kind Regards
Little strange that they say there "are" a little dark whereas you guys said they are ok. Be interesting to see this print they are sending so I can compare to my screen. I'll try that and reorder the same prints with the refund they gave me (which is pretty good) and see where we are. Going to get the same shots printed locally over the weekend to see if there is much of a difference.

Dave
 

craig777

Novice Member
I had some prints done by Photobox a week or so ago and they came back very dark too.
I've just had the very same prints done again by Snapfish and the difference in brightness is vast - so I wouldn't necessarily believe what Photobox are telling you about your monitor.
 

Dave Bartram

Active Member
Just been to Boots and printed the same shots, pick them up tomorrow and see if there is any difference :) Would have used Snapfish but we don't have a Jessops (anymore) and too impatient to wait lol.
 

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