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Thread: Black and white to print question

  1. #1

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    Black and white to print question

    I decided to have a couple of prints made to put on our walls so went to the local camera/processing store for prints. (Good rep, more expensive than your "department store" prints etc etc). However, the black and white that I had printed came back with a slight ivory hue. I have an old monitor, but other black and whites that I've had printed have looked OK. To double check, I sent the same two photos to a "cheap" processing place and the photos came back with the whites white but the blacks in the black and white no longer had definition and they'd messed with my sharpening.

    I don't know if this is my processing issue or the camera store's issue. I've included a screenshot with the histogram. When I use the sampler for whites and click on the photo, nothing changes. It looks very white on my monitor. Any advice (about my processing or how to explain this to the store people) would be greatly appreciated. I really have no desire to hang the black and white photo as printed.

    For the record, I wasn't very pleased with the colour shot either. The whites in it, too, looked dingy and the print had lost some of the brightness from what I can see on the screen.

    Thank you!

    Myra

    Black and white to print question
    Horses with histogram by M.J. Hencher, on Flickr


    Black and white to print question
    Horses in the snow 1 by M.J. Hencher, on Flickr

  2. #2

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    Hi Myra,

    I could take a look, but I'd really need to have the actual file you gave them.

    Was it converted to sRGB first?

    Many (most!) print shops don't have even a hint of a clue when it comes to colour management.

  3. #3

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    Re: Black and white to print question

    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for your reply. The file I gave them shows up as RGB when I open the IMAGE/MODE task bar in photoshop, but the colour space menu is set for sRGB and my camera is set for sRGB. So, does that mean the lab recieved it as an RGB or sRGB? It was a jpeg (same photo as the flickr shot), only the size was 20.6M, 3000x2400 pixels, 300 pixels per inch, print size 8x10 inches.

    This place should know. They've been in business for decades, seem to have a good reputation for quality and have their own print machines on site. When I go back to them, I want to seem at least semi-intelligent when I explain that the print does not look the same as what I'm seeing on my screen and not come across as looking for excuses for my own poor work.


    Myra

    Edited to add: I found the info on sRGB vs RGB that I needed as I hadn't a clue to the difference. I then went back and checked my camera and photoshop settings and edited my original post above. Learning curve is steep tonight!
    Last edited by Maritimer1; 26th January 2012 at 02:12 AM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Black and white to print question

    Hi Myra,

    By "Ivory", I'm assuming you mean a slight warming of the highlights?

    If it was sent as an sRGB then that cures one potential issue, but there are others (keep in mind that even the light that you're viewing the print under will have an effect).

    In the absence of a university-level lecture on colour management, probably the next easiest thing to do would be to just take the print back and discuss it with them.

  5. #5
    herbert's Avatar
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    Re: Black and white to print question

    A few quick thoughts:

    Ask to see their paper with no printing. This will give you an idea of the whiteness possible.

    Ask if the can do greyscale prints. I.e. only use black and grey inks.

    Ask to see some examples of black and white prints so you know what their best print tones look like.

    Take your print with you. Be brave and speak your mind. Don't be fooled by marketing hype about the quality of their print equipment. They should have the ability to prove their competence. If they fail your standards then you will have to find another print shop.

    Good luck. Nice photo too so I think it is worth getting it right.

    Alex

  6. #6
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Black and white to print question

    Black and White is very hard to print Myra. Best to choose a wet method printing on old fashioned photographic paper but this may not have the definition you require. Alternatively choose a printer that has got a dedicated B+W printer with a range of greys in the inks.

  7. #7

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    Re: Black and white to print question

    Send your work to www.inkjetmall.com and you'll get exactly what you ask for. I send a screenshot of what I want along with the file (generally a relatively large tiff) and they send back a gorgeous print. They are not inexpensive, but they sure are good. I have seen all their equipment, lab, studio, etc. They have the best of the best of the best.

  8. #8

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    Re: Black and white to print question

    Thank you for all the ideas! Colin, I will definitely tell them that there is a slight warming of the highlights and not "It has an ivory cast." Never even thought about the paper type. (The back reads: Kodak Professional Endura paper. Something else for me to look up.) I will ask if they have a dedicated black and white printer and/or can do greyscale prints. Wonder how long it will take for them to ask me a question to which I will have no clue as to the answer<LOL>?

    If necessary, I'll try another printer. I like to shop local (and we do have one other photography business in town), but if I can't get the look I want, what's the point?

    The print was viewed in a view different lights, including holding it up beside the monitor to compare. To me, it's like what happens to a white shirt after it's been washed a few too many times. The crispness is missing.

    Thanks again!

  9. #9

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    Re: Black and white to print question

    You said it in your last post, Kodak always prints warm, HP blue, one shot same printer 5 different papers each will look different, if the printer has not been profiled for that paper there is a very good chance that the print will not look like what you had on the screen. Also different lights different looks, ask printer if their paper they use in the printer has been calerbrited for. You could look for someone at a local camera club that has or knows someone who had a higher end printer that will handle the size of print you want. Good luck

    Allan

  10. #10

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    Re: Black and white to print question

    Hi Myra,

    Another variable is a thing called the "rendering intend" (fancy words for "how to interpret the image") normally I use RC (Relative Colorimetric) which in terms of "warmth" will just let the white point be "naked paper" - so if you have a very warm paper you'll end up with warm highlights. Another is "absolute colorimetric" which - for example - will add blue to highlight areas of a print onto warm paper to cool the highlights so that the absolute colour temperature of the original image is preserved.

    At the end of the day though, if they're printing the image with colour info turned off - and it has a cast - then pretty much the ONLY thing it can be is a stuff up at their end.

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