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Thread: Monitor vs printer color

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    Kalimah's Avatar
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    Monitor vs printer color

    My photos look great on my monitor, but when they are printed, the color is not as vivid. I have an HP monitor and use a Kodak printer. What can I do to get prints closer to what I'm looking at on my monitor?

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalimah View Post
    My photos look great on my monitor, but when they are printed, the color is not as vivid. I have an HP monitor and use a Kodak printer. What can I do to get prints closer to what I'm looking at on my monitor?
    Hi Kalimah,

    Usually it's because the the photos are in a wide-gamut colourspace like Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB, and the printer can only handle sRGB (if you can post one of the images here with EXIF data in tact then we might be able to tell more). Apart from that, you start getting into the realm of colour managament where you really need to consider investing in a colour management system to calibrate & profile your monitor and profile your printer.

    What software are you using for your post processing and printing?

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Printer can handle sRGB and Adobe RGB. Don't know what EXIF data is. Just getting into Photoshop, so the most I've done is played a little with brightness and contrast. I have attached one of the that looks absolutely great on my monitor, and printed it looks great, but the color is different. I'll also have to investigate a "colour management system"......I'm new to this whole precision aspect of photography, printing, etc. so please be patient.

    Monitor vs printer color

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Here's the other photo......I love shooting flowers.


    Monitor vs printer color

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Kalimah,

    Look at your second Magenta flower for a moment and ask yourself "How does the monitor generate the image ?" Answer, it is emissive - it generates light. The Magenta of the flower comprises Magenta light, as the intensity of the Magenta increases, the brighter the Magenta light becomes.

    Now, look at your print, oops, look at a plain unprinted sheet of your photo paper. It's white and what happens as ink, of any color, gets applied, it gets darker. More ink means a darker color. The white that you start out with will be as bright as it can get, the rest is down hill.

    Now, how do you suppose that high intensity Magenta in your file gets handled ? The monitor will emit stronger and stronger intensities of Magenta light as the intensity value increases. On, paper, it will be reversed, as more Magenta ink gets applied to the paper, the darker the Magenta will be.

    Irregardless of color management, monitor calibration, enhanced or reduced gamut, the nature of how the image is generated on paper and on screen WILL differ. What you need to do is become use to the presentation on screen and when printed so you can know in advance how photoshop manipulations will impact the print and work to get the final form of the image, printed or on screen, to how you need it to be.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    OK - 2 things ...

    1. Printers struggle to reproduce strong reds because they don't have red ink (unlike your monitor which has a red LED) (the printer has to mix combinations of cyan, magenta, and yellow (and black)). Is it just flowers that the printer struggles with?

    2. EXIF Data is data ABOUT the photo that's included WITH the photo - in the case of your first photo (I didn't check the second), the data was there, and it was in sRGB Colourspace (which is what I was looking for). For strong colours like this you MAY see an improvement by shooting in the Adobe RGB colourspace, and keeping this colourspace right through your workflow.

    What camera are you shooting with, and are you shooting RAW files or JPEG files?

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Thanks Steaphany.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Thanks. Nikon D60.....shooting raw.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalimah View Post
    Thanks. Nikon D60.....shooting raw.
    I'd suggest setting ACR ("Adobe Camera RAW") to Adobe RGB colourspace (click the link at the bottom of the ACR screen), and see if that makes any difference - as it stands, you've got quite a bit that's what's called "out of gamut" with that first image. Keep in mind too that "prints matching screens" (even with full colour management) are in essence, a myth (for the reasons Steaphany explained).

    All of this aside, I'd recommend investing in a colour management system - without it the colours your both seeing and printing can be very much a lottery.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Just checked my camera....set to NORMAL......not RAW. Sorry about that. Any suggestions on color management systems?

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalimah View Post
    Just checked my camera....set to NORMAL......not RAW. Sorry about that. Any suggestions on color management systems?
    If your camera is spitting out sRGB JPEGS instead of RAW shots then that will be limiting your colour gamut with flower shots like that - so best option is RAW, followed by Adobe RGB JPEG. It can get tricky though because printers and monitors have slightly different gamuts (or "ranges of colours"); the tricky bit is that the monitor usually isn't physically capable of displaying some of the colours that the camera may have captured and that the printer is capable of printing - in which case the colours you see on your screen aren't the actual colours of the image, and "all hell can break loose" when you try to adjust them. This may (or may not) affect you - just a "heads up" that often it's flower shots that push these kinds of things to the limit.

    In terms of colour management - personally - I use a Spyder III Studio Elite, although I think that exact package has been superceeded by the Spyder III Studio SR kit. For learning about colour management, the industry standard book is Real World Colour Management, 2nd edition by Fraser, Murphy, and Bunting.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Thanx a bunch! I'm going to do a lot of experimenting based on these comments, and will check out the color mgmt book.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalimah View Post
    Thanx a bunch! I'm going to do a lot of experimenting based on these comments, and will check out the color mgmt book.
    No worries

    Personally, I'd recommend signing up for the Amazon Kindle system -- you can install the software on your PC for free, and be reading the book in just a few minutes (and it costs less than the printed version).

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Downloaded the Kindle version on my iPad. Plan to get into it while having my brakes repaired tomorrow. Thanks again.

    Good night.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalimah View Post
    Downloaded the Kindle version on my iPad. Plan to get into it while having my brakes repaired tomorrow. Thanks again.

    Good night.
    The iPad is brillient as a kindle reader - I just grabbed a "genuine kindle" a few days ago, and it's not a patch on the iPad.

    Just be aware that the book will make your brain hurt though - so just take it slowly, and don't be afraid to ask more questions here ... there's definately a lot of "practice" that needs to be added to what's presented in the book.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Hi Kalimah,

    One thought that crossed my mind, and it hasn't been mentioned yet, it is my impression (I may be wrong) that pictures appear brighter printer on glossy paper, not matt, silk, etc. Of course, it may be irrelevant if it was Kodak glossy paper you were using anyway.

    Another thought, looking at the two examples here, is that a print will look brighter if it has some bright 'speculars' (white glints) in - the easiest way to get those on this kind of shot is to get some 'dew drops' on the blooms, however; drop size/spacing, magnification and lighting will all have an effect on the outcome and it may take some experimentation to get it looking natural.

    Good luck,

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    Hi Kalimah,

    I think Dave has nailed it. Go down to your local drugstore and get a cheap plastic travel atomiser (the type of thing you put your eau de cologne in) give the flower a few squirts of water from that and it makes all the difference. You'll have to experiment with distance and the number of squirts to get the quantity and droplet size the way you want it, but it won't take long.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    I have a Kindle app on my iPad and use it when I download books where color is important. I use my regular standard Kindle for reading when color is not important. by the way.....am reading the color management book and the brain doesn't hurt at all....rather very stimulating reading. Thanks again.

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    Re: Monitor vs printer color

    I am going to try this and see what happens. This is just! I am learning so much.

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