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Thread: Is this too dark?

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    arith's Avatar
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    Is this too dark?

    I had a couple of pics printed but one came out too dark, whilst a darker one came oot perfect apart from the size that is, it was supposed to be 16 x 12 but it is more like 15 1/2 x 12.

    Does this look dark, the blown bits are supposed to be blown and I think they have done an exposure correction.

    Is this too dark?

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Steve,

    Not too dark at all, in fact where there should be black colors they appear gray.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Cheers John. That's what I thought when looking at the prints, the darker image actually without any blown bits came out alright, but this I'm pretty sure has been corrected during printing, possibly both have even though I left instructions to not change anything.

    It means I can't get a decent print, whatever I do they will change it. The more expensive printing companies might do exactly the same thing, so looks like I have to start saving for a good printer.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    Cheers John. That's what I thought when looking at the prints, the darker image actually without any blown bits came out alright, but this I'm pretty sure has been corrected during printing, possibly both have even though I left instructions to not change anything.

    It means I can't get a decent print, whatever I do they will change it. The more expensive printing companies might do exactly the same thing, so looks like I have to start saving for a good printer.
    Steve,

    Check out this professional printing enterprise where they state right in their advertisement that they will edit your photos. I guess you the photographer don't know what looks best.

    http://www.nationsphotolab.com/prints.htm

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Is this too dark?

    That's the problem, John. If I want say a blue image they will turn it back to the correct white balance, or in this case try to make grey turn black and reduce highlights. I put them there on purpose, in fact the original RAW wasn't blown, I just liked it that way.

    These have an option to leave the image uncorrected, but obviously that doesn't include exposure or white balance. The colour in their attempt at printing is so wishy washy and picture so dark I've just thrown it away, well used it as backing for the one that did turn out. cheers

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    That's the problem, John. If I want say a blue image they will turn it back to the correct white balance, or in this case try to make grey turn black and reduce highlights. I put them there on purpose, in fact the original RAW wasn't blown, I just liked it that way.

    These have an option to leave the image uncorrected, but obviously that doesn't include exposure or white balance. The colour in their attempt at printing is so wishy washy and picture so dark I've just thrown it away, well used it as backing for the one that did turn out. cheers
    Steve,

    In my opinion, anyone technician working at a printing lab should not alter a photographer's unless 1) they were given permission, 2) they know the photographer well enough that they can intuitively know what the photographer expects (again requires permission).

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Check out this professional printing enterprise where they state right in their advertisement that they will edit your photos. I guess you the photographer don't know what looks best.
    In my opinion, anyone technician working at a printing lab should not alter a photographer's unless 1) they were given permission, 2) they know the photographer well enough that they can intuitively know what the photographer expects (again requires permission).

    Hi John,

    As one who faces this dilemma when doing printing for others, I can tell you that in reality, if we didn't make adjustments, then approximately 100% of the images I print would be "sub-optimal".

    Although what you're suggesting sounds good in theory, the reality is that most photographers (including many professionals) don't work from calibrated and profiled monitors, and additionally, don't know what adjustments need to be made to compensate for the fact that the image has been prepared on a mal-adjusted screen - that uses additive colour - and has an effective dynamic range of around 6 stops to one that now needs to be printed on a device that uses subtractive colour - has a different gamut - and has a dynamic range of only around 4 stops. Believe me, anyone who says they have a product that lets the printed output exactly match what was on the screen is lying (or relying on the untrained eye not being able to tell the difference).

    I'll have customers come in with an image ... tell me "not to adjust anything" ... I'll make a few changes in front of them and ask them "better or worse" (as I toggle the preview off and on) - and 90% of the time they'll lower their heads in shame and say "better" as my adjustment is turned on

    In my opinion, that's the key to all of this ... make all the adjustments I need to - but - do them in front of the customer (aside from those adjustments I know need to be made for the sake of the printer / ink / media characteristics). I can also tell you that 99 times out of 100 I can do a better job of post-processing or retouching someone's image than they can (which is why I always just try to get the original RAW file from them) (and yes, that includes professional photographers who have literally made millions of dollars from photography).

    The bottom line is (unfortunately) being a great photographer doesn't bare any co-relation with being a good printer (or even a good post-processor or retoucher). I'm not saying that they CAN'T be; it's just that it's a completely different skill set that needs to be learned and then put into practice ... and if these folks aren't doing their own prints then they probably won't have learnt it, and they probably won't have practiced it.

    So I think a team effort is the way to go (which for me - being a small operator - is thankfully pretty easy to do). I think I'd have a nervous breakdown if I had to print images day in and day out without contact with the original artist ... it's just too darn hard to know how they want to interpret the image.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Here is the original with what I call insignificant blowing mainly on detail insignificant red. If you ignore my strange taste then I think if I'm paying the going rate for a print I should get what I want and not have something changed to be more technically correct. I had a large print of a bridge done and at first I hated it because they corrected the white balance, now I like it but only just.

    I have printed both recent pics at 10 x 8 on my cheapo 36 printer using cheapo compatible ink on cheapo paper and all at the same settings they match what I see on the screen. I also did another 20 all matching and at the same settings.

    One of the professional prints matches exactly what is seen on the screen since I think it is a normally distributed hump type histogram, whilst this one is completely different and that suggests to me they tried to correct it technically, maybe by trying to get white as white where in this they are grey, and a filter was used but I can't remember which one and I think I managed to blow it in the right place by using a pin light layer, but again I can't remember. I just like the sort of shimmer.

    Is this too dark?

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    I know what you mean I got a few prints back yesterday which on screen are blue (not just a blue cast, but blue as main colour, due to the lights), on paper they are a kind of grayish blue and way too dark Correcting a cast on an average consumer's image is one thing, but an option to stop their 'optimisations' and that is respected would be nice...

    Remco

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi John,


    So I think a team effort is the way to go (which for me - being a small operator - is thankfully pretty easy to do). I think I'd have a nervous breakdown if I had to print images day in and day out without contact with the original artist ... it's just too darn hard to know how they want to interpret the image.
    Exactly the point I was trying to make, the printer cannot in all cases interpret the image. Some knowledge of the photographer's tastes and feelings are required to make adjustments to their works.

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    I just found out that fujifilm crystal archive paper is C-type paper, and that is the old sort of processing using a chemical bath on light sensitive paper. Or it is on another site and that could make a difference that was not explained. It is bound to not overexpose in a machine so could not possibly work.

    An ink based method should be used. What is that called? Giclee and it cost more for some crazy reason maybe because I can only find top shops.
    Last edited by arith; 12th September 2010 at 03:34 PM.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Is this too dark?

    I do not know what you can see now; I had the test strip back and it looks about -2.5 ev out but how could that be. I looked again at my green tram pic which did turn out done at the same time and set it at -2.5 ev and it doesn't look a whole lot different.

    I had about 20 portraits done by fotki which all turned out ok, and I've adjusted the brightness on my monitor according to instructions in tutorials here. I can't see how to increase brightness without blowing something so maybe I have no choice but to do it myself.

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    It looks like I'm talking to myself at the moment. But what if I take my print to a local printer and say I want it like that. seems a good idea until I found my local printer wants 60 for an A3. It is just silly, I think it would be good if clubs could offer the photoshop profiled printer that could be booked, in much the same way a library book is booked, you pay monthly and a bit for ink and paper as you use it, and there is a time limit if others want to use it.

    Mmm just thinking

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    It looks like I'm talking to myself at the moment.
    I find that's the only way I get any sense (read that as "the answers I want")

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I think it would be good if clubs could offer the photoshop profiled printer that could be booked, in much the same way a library book is booked, you pay monthly and a bit for ink and paper as you use it, and there is a time limit if others want to use it.
    Good idea, are you going to start a camera club?

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Exactly the point I was trying to make, the printer cannot in all cases interpret the image. Some knowledge of the photographer's tastes and feelings are required to make adjustments to their works.
    Pppppppossibly. For the kind of stuff we do, for sure - but for the average point and shoot / holiday snap I'd say that 99.9% of the time the printers corrections to levels and colour casts is going to produce a result that the photograper would prefer. Probably it all comes down to servicing different markets; those who address a "snap-shot" market can't afford to liase with folks when printing (automatically) several thousand shots a day, whereas on the other hand, the printer who takes the time to liaise with the photographer HAS to charge a LOT more for what he does if he wants to stay in business.

    Personally I avoid snapshop printing like the plague - it's a dog-eat-dog market with low margins, and it's easy to lose your reputation.

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I think it would be good if clubs could offer the photoshop profiled printer that could be booked, in much the same way a library book is booked, you pay monthly and a bit for ink and paper as you use it, and there is a time limit if others want to use it.

    Mmm just thinking
    Hi Steve,

    I think that what you're after is a professional result, but at amateur pricing. The problem is though that professional photographers who have invested lots of money into getting professional results are out reaping the rewards of their investment (ie they usually don't spend a lot of time with clubs unless it's for self-serving reasons), whereas clubs usually don't have a lot of money because members aren't "doing their thing" on a professional or commercial basis, and nobody wants to dig-deep in their pocket to meet with the initial outlay.

    Additionally, if you form a club then you have the additional responsibilities for premesis / security / insurance / record keeping etc.

  17. #17
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Yes that is probably right. I think.

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Pppppppossibly. For the kind of stuff we do, for sure - but for the average point and shoot / holiday snap I'd say that 99.9% of the time the printers corrections to levels and colour casts is going to produce a result that the photograper would prefer. Probably it all comes down to servicing different markets; those who address a "snap-shot" market can't afford to liase with folks when printing (automatically) several thousand shots a day, whereas on the other hand, the printer who takes the time to liaise with the photographer HAS to charge a LOT more for what he does if he wants to stay in business.

    Personally I avoid snapshop printing like the plague - it's a dog-eat-dog market with low margins, and it's easy to lose your reputation.
    Just wondering how many point and shooters come in and do they print anything larger than 4"x6". Anyone shooting digital usually has their own printer, they even have those nifty ones that do not require a computer. I would think the only people using some kind of printing service either have a film camera or have maybe one or two shots they want enlarged.

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Just wondering how many point and shooters come in and do they print anything larger than 4"x6". Anyone shooting digital usually has their own printer, they even have those nifty ones that do not require a computer. I would think the only people using some kind of printing service either have a film camera or have maybe one or two shots they want enlarged.
    I don't have many, but then again, (a) that's not my market and (b) I don't work from a retail premesis. So it's normally either existing customers and/or referrals. For the P&S shots that I do print I have to say that often they're quite hard work ... obviously we're looking for the best image possible and obviouosly there is a world of difference between something taken on an SLR that's accurately focused and has plenty of MP -v- something that's sometimes very low resolution (even though many cameras have high MP counts, a lot of folks have them set to low quality so they get more images on a card) and often has lighting and or focusing issues. So we do the best we can with varied results".

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    Re: Is this too dark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I don't have many, but then again, (a) that's not my market and (b) I don't work from a retail premesis. So it's normally either existing customers and/or referrals. For the P&S shots that I do print I have to say that often they're quite hard work ... obviously we're looking for the best image possible and obviouosly there is a world of difference between something taken on an SLR that's accurately focused and has plenty of MP -v- something that's sometimes very low resolution (even though many cameras have high MP counts, a lot of folks have them set to low quality so they get more images on a card) and often has lighting and or focusing issues. So we do the best we can with varied results".
    Here's my take on the professional printing enterprise, and it might not relate to your organization or the one Steve frequents. Like I said, I have my own photo printer and I can print an 8"x11" photo on quality photo paper with pretty good results. When I get a photo that just begs to be enlarged I will take to the camera store where I purchased my camera. I have yet to use this service and have not read the fine print on how they process photos but I am guessing that they will print my image, allow me to come in and evaluate, and depending on my response to the image, assuming they have not done any editing, either sell me the image outright because it is not in need of any further editing, point out any blemishes and offer to retouch then sell me the image, or point out the blemishes and offer me a class or two in the correct way to take the photograph and post edit. I state the last option because I know the camera store/professional printing service offers the classes, I just haven't had time to attend, they are usually scheduled when I have other obligations. I see the last option as the most beneficial to an amateur photograph but it may not be the most feasible for either the photographer or the printer/processor.

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