Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Just a little trouble printing

  1. #1
    Andrew76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,300
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Just a little trouble printing

    Hello all. I know this topic has been discussed to no end on this forum, but wondering if someone may be able to help me out just a little.

    I sent a few prints to Costco (I know, this is probably the problem, and some of you may even shudder that I mentioned it), and they came back looking like complete s*&%t.

    Here's my problem. My monitor is calibrated, and I've downloaded the icc profile specific to the Costco in my area using glossy paper, and soft proofed the prints in LR4. The usual occurred during soft proofing, a little dulling in the colours, and overall darkening of the image, compared to the on-screen version.

    However, the prints look terrible - as an example, I sent the colour version of my child's portrait (you may have seen from the thread "The Kiddies" in People & Portraits. The background came out all yellowed, the skin tones were way off, and splochy, and shadows were so much more pronounced and contrasty.

    Very awful looking. Luckily, it costs more in fuel to get to Costco, than their prints do (again, probably the problem), but I have heard that Costco normally does an OK job for inexpensive prints - this is far from OK...

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    29,249
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Hello all. I know this topic has been discussed to no end on this forum, but wondering if someone may be able to help me out just a little.

    I sent a few prints to Costco (I know, this is probably the problem, and some of you may even shudder that I mentioned it), and they came back looking like complete s*&%t.

    Here's my problem. My monitor is calibrated, and I've downloaded the icc profile specific to the Costco in my area using glossy paper, and soft proofed the prints in LR4. The usual occurred during soft proofing, a little dulling in the colours, and overall darkening of the image, compared to the on-screen version.

    However, the prints look terrible - as an example, I sent the colour version of my child's portrait (you may have seen from the thread "The Kiddies" in People & Portraits. The background came out all yellowed, the skin tones were way off, and splochy, and shadows were so much more pronounced and contrasty.

    Very awful looking. Luckily, it costs more in fuel to get to Costco, than their prints do (again, probably the problem), but I have heard that Costco normally does an OK job for inexpensive prints - this is far from OK...

    Any thoughts?
    Did you order prints and CD? This would be the only way to verify differences between your monitor and what they sent to you.

  3. #3
    Andrew76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,300
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    No, just prints. My thinking is that my monitor is fine though, because I've posted a few pictures up the forum lately, the one of the kids included, and if they looked like the way the prints turned out, I'm sure I would have had a few comments.

  4. #4
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    12,364
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    I've never had a problem with Costco prints, for the run of the mill family type images. I assume your files were all converted to sRGB? It really sounds like something went quite wrong.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    A Pacific Island
    Posts
    924
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    I've used Costco for some time and perhaps a big advantage at the one I use is two of the techs are long time photographers and understand quite bit of the entire process. My photos always turn out great. Here's a few things I've learned.
    1. Tell the tech to make zero adjustments because you've already done the editing. Their equipment will perform minor adjustments globally to all prints. The operator then adds more if they see fit to do so. Make sure they turn everything off. Not just their own judgement tweaks. The problem is if any of the adjustments are done at Costco, you don't know what your original efforts look like. You need a benchmark to work from.
    2. Open your prints at the store and if there is a problem discuss your concerns with the senior operator. You may have to come back to see that person. They should be able to give you some idea as to what is wrong. They usually also tell you to bring back the bill with you the next time and the charges for the bad ones may be waved.
    3. Submit a set of prints without the Costco profile. You may find the standard sRGB a better match. If that's the case then the profile is in error at some point.
    4. If you are submitting b&w photos make sure you don't just assume your b&w files going through their normal process will suffice. There is a question asked if b&w is the option. If you bypass that question your b&w's will go through the colour process and your black will have a greenish tint.
    5. Screen calibration can also vary between sessions especially if you do it in a room during the day and outside light sources, sun or lightbulbs, can influence the processes. I use a Colormunki that utilizes an ambient measurement and found setting up the parameters during the daylight hours was a problem. The wall colours have a bad impact on the outcome and of course the time of day and temperature of ambient makes it vary as well. My best results are in an almost black room. Once you get the colours in line with your screen, do a check on the brightness. I found it to be the biggest variance from a printer. Have a contrasty b&w 8X10 made and adjust your screen luminance to match the print.

    If you are still encountering problems take the files to a trusted commercial print company. It will cost you a bit more but working with them one on one you will get a more definitive idea of where the problem lies.

    Good luck and let us know how you make out.
    Last edited by Andrew1; 25th February 2013 at 07:47 PM.

  6. #6
    Andrew76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,300
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    Hi Manfred. Yes, all were sRGB. I don't know what happened. It's just not my day. I managed to spill an entire cup of tea on my laptop just now too.

    Go figure.

  7. #7
    Andrew76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,300
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    Hi Andrew, thanks for the in depth answer. I have heard that Costco does a decent job, and now you and Manfred confirm it.

    I am going to try what you suggested, and see what happens.

    Well, once I don't have to do all my typing on a phone, that is.

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    29,249
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Hi Andrew, thanks for the in depth answer. I have heard that Costco does a decent job, and now you and Manfred confirm it.

    I am going to try what you suggested, and see what happens.

    Well, once I don't have to do all my typing on a phone, that is.

    Thanks again.
    You could always resend some of your files for a bit of quality control.

  9. #9
    Andrew76's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,300
    Real Name
    Andrew

    Re: Just a little trouble printing

    John, I think I will. And, someone else mentioned that Costco is quite good about reprinting as well. I will bring the prints back, and see what they can do.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •