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Calibrating problems

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by Crum, Jul 5, 2017.

  1. Crum

    Crum New Member


    Very new to calibrating and have hit a wall with what to do.

    Bought a Spyder Pro 5, calibrated as per the instructions, sent a batch of photos to a professional print lab and they look completely different to what I see on my screen. They are much less vibrant and dull!

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can ensure an accurate calibration please?

    Thanks in advance
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    There are two things here. One is calibrating your screen. The second preparing pictures for printing. The print lab will expect sRGB jpgs unless it specifies otherwise and it may provide a softproofing profile. If you have a high contrast screen and process in a wide colour space then you do need to softproof to assess what the print will look like. The difference can be quite large as the print has a smaller contrast ratio than the monitor and the printer may not be able to recover some colours. If you processing in adobe RGB and not attaching a profile (or the print company not using it) then the colours will look flat. I was quite annoyed when I started printing from Lightroom as I was spending a lot of effort getting an image nice on the monitor then spending more time getting the softproof copy right. Another aspect is the lighting under which you view the prints. Look at them in fairly bright daylight and be surprised how different they look to under artificial light.
    EightBitTony likes this.
  3. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    One thing to remember is that images printed on paper will ALWAYS look somewhat flatter and duller than images viewed on a screen because the screen is backlit and paper...isn't. The colour and texture of the paper you choose can have an affect too - matte paper will look less 'vibrant' than lustre or gloss paper.
  4. GlennH

    GlennH Well-Known Member

    Most likely answer is that you sent the lab photos in the wrong colour space.

    You generally have to send files in an sRGB colour space because the vast majority of labs are not colour managed, hence they can't handle anything else. Their front end is set up to accept only sRGB. Send them Adobe RGB or ProPhoto RGB (default Lightroom output) and you'll end up with muted colours, irrespective of whether or not you embed the profile.

    Very few labs offer genuine colour management, so softproofing is pretty much pointless. sRGB does not represent the printer output; it's a theoretical CRT monitor output that is being funnelled into the final colour space. Even if the printer is capable of colours outside of sRGB, those colours are obviously lost as soon as you convert your photos down into that space.

    The only exception I can think of to this general trend is ProAm Imaging, which allows its customers to convert to an actual printer profile. When that is the case, you have more hope of precisely previewing print colours on your screen. You can mitigate somewhat for the reduced dynamic range in a print by "simulating paper and ink" when you softproof.

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