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Thread: Printed photos' color - too red

  1. #1

    Default Printed photos' color - too red

    Hi,

    I need some advise.

    I have been taking photos for some small scale events (with Nikon D80) and have been post-processing those shots using Photoshop CS3 (Levels, noise, color adjustment etc). I will give the digital proofs (JPEG formats) to the organisers and their publicity material designers. Though the shots looks ok on my Monitor, but whenever they printed them onto paper, it always turns out "Reddish" (too red).

    I aware of the CMYK format on most printers and I have set my photoshop processing environment to Adobe RGB as advised by Kelby's Photoshop book (can't seems to find the RGB setting in my D80 though advised to do so too), but it still does not really help.

    Is it something wrong with my Monitor calibration or do I need to go to all the printers to set their profile settings correctly (as I have read in other threads) including the publicity material designer's or is there a fool-proof setting in photoshop that will help ensure that the color of the photos printed out are balanced? Pls advise.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    sorry to hijack the thread but i have similar problems as well. am using iphoto with a canon inkjet printer. for some reasons, the photos always appear warmer than they look on screen. anyway to calibrate the printer?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by StanleyC View Post
    sorry to hijack the thread but i have similar problems as well. am using iphoto with a canon inkjet printer. for some reasons, the photos always appear warmer than they look on screen. anyway to calibrate the printer?
    Hi StanleyC, no prob, we are all here to learn.

    Yup, you got the term "warmer"! I was trying to find the right word to describe what I saw on the printed materials. But at least you still have a printer to calibrate while I'm trying to find a generic setting in my photoshop that will help to mitigate or minimize the issue.

    Printer/Photoshop experts out there, any advise?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    A printed image's color can never be 100% similar to that of your monitor's - a monitor uses RGB while prints are CMYK. The best scenario is a close approximation.

    Now, if the output is reddish (assuming that monitor is properly calibrated), then the issue should be that of the printer.

    On what media is your image being printed on? Most professional printers tweak the image's color to suit the printer and paper profile so the output should match the image.

    As an aside, are you color-correcting using a laptop? Under what lighting conditions did you correct your color? This will have an impact to your color even if your monitor is calibrated.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    A printed image's color can never be 100% similar to that of your monitor's - a monitor uses RGB while prints are CMYK. The best scenario is a close approximation.
    That's the pain-point. This incompatibility makes it rather difficult to set the right RGB for the printers (or even any printers). So what is the best setting to overcome this gap between differing formats?


    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    On what media is your image being printed on? Most professional printers tweak the image's color to suit the printer and paper profile so the output should match the image.
    The images are printed on flyers and poster for their publicity, some glossy and some matt.

    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    As an aside, are you color-correcting using a laptop? Under what lighting conditions did you correct your color? This will have an impact to your color even if your monitor is calibrated
    I use Computer with LCD monitor under Flourecent light (just normal Flourecent light, not those specified for Studio work). So there is a chance that the color I see on my monitor is not that correct too?

    Thanks.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by BMPhoto View Post
    That's the pain-point. This incompatibility makes it rather difficult to set the right RGB for the printers (or even any printers). So what is the best setting to overcome this gap between differing formats?

    The images are printed on flyers and poster for their publicity, some glossy and some matt.

    I use Computer with LCD monitor under Flourecent light (just normal Flourecent light, not those specified for Studio work). So there is a chance that the color I see on my monitor is not that correct too?

    Thanks.
    I've had my images printed on magazines and the colors come out right. I shoot in Adobe RGB, my PS profile is in Pro Photo (which has a wider color gamut) and submit it as such. Lately, I'm doing my own printing using fine art paper and it's a different discipline altogether - as in, I have a lot to learn. My point is, if your printer is a professional (knows what he's doing) and you post-process your images properly, you should be getting the correct color output.

    I asked about your environment as this has an impact on your color correction. Fluorescent light is acceptable as long as all your light sources are of the same kind and there is no ambient light which can vary depending on time of day (color temperature). Also, make sure that your LCD screen has achieved 100% brightness when you correct - it takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to do this. (As an aside, this is why Apple is rolling out LED screens which achieve 100% upon powering up, but I digress). This is also the cause of over/under-exposed prints - as the temperature is low, most have the tendency to adjust the brightness of the screen. Doing so would render your calibration useless as your white and black points are thrown off.

    Also, if you're correcting your image visually, avoid color contamination from your environment - from your computer's wallpaper to the color of the walls. (Any chance your work area is predominantly cyan?)

    I know there are color management experts lurking in CS. I've met a few of them. Hope they can chime in as well.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Which printer are you using?
    Your application here appears to be submitting a proof to your customer. Ideally, your printer should be capable of performing close loop color calibration. This is a critical step.

    If the printer is not capable of that, then you'll need to do that via an external spectrophotometer.
    You can generate an ICC profile for your printer.
    Load it into photoshop under View->proof colors to simulate what you get with the media/ink/printer combination.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    I've had my images printed on magazines and the colors come out right. I shoot in Adobe RGB, my PS profile is in Pro Photo (which has a wider color gamut) and submit it as such. Lately, I'm doing my own printing using fine art paper and it's a different discipline altogether - as in, I have a lot to learn. My point is, if your printer is a professional (knows what he's doing) and you post-process your images properly, you should be getting the correct color output.
    Understand. But I don't seems to be able to find the RGB setting in my D80, I have wanted to set it to Adobe RGB too. Ok, will dig deeper into that. Thanks. I will check out my PS profile too. Guess, I need to engage the printer personally to sort this out too instead of leaving it to the organiser.


    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    I asked about your environment as this has an impact on your color correction. Fluorescent light is acceptable as long as all your light sources are of the same kind and there is no ambient light which can vary depending on time of day (color temperature). Also, make sure that your LCD screen has achieved 100% brightness when you correct - it takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to do this. (As an aside, this is why Apple is rolling out LED screens which achieve 100% upon powering up, but I digress). This is also the cause of over/under-exposed prints - as the temperature is low, most have the tendency to adjust the brightness of the screen. Doing so would render your calibration useless as your white and black points are thrown off.
    Sorry, how do I know if the LCD has reached 100% brightness? Using calibration tool or via any of the LCD setting panel?


    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    Also, if you're correcting your image visually, avoid color contamination from your environment - from your computer's wallpaper to the color of the walls. (Any chance your work area is predominantly cyan?)
    Noted. Yes, mine is possibly predominantly cyan. Seems that there is a lot more to watch than just setting up my computer for post-processing. Thanks for pointing this out.


    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    I know there are color management experts lurking in CS. I've met a few of them. Hope they can chime in as well.
    Yes, I'm here to learn from these experts. Thanks and hope to learn more along the way. Appreciate your comment.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmelo View Post
    Which printer are you using?
    Your application here appears to be submitting a proof to your customer. Ideally, your printer should be capable of performing close loop color calibration. This is a critical step.
    Noted. Will check with customer and possibly engage the printer. I really don't want all the effort of shooting and post-processing to be wasted in this final step.

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmelo View Post
    If the printer is not capable of that, then you'll need to do that via an external spectrophotometer.
    You can generate an ICC profile for your printer.
    Load it into photoshop under View->proof colors to simulate what you get with the media/ink/printer combination.
    What is this spectrophotometer? Is it a device, software or a service that I can engage. Pardon me, still new to some of these terms. Thanks.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by BMPhoto View Post
    Understand. But I don't seems to be able to find the RGB setting in my D80, I have wanted to set it to Adobe RGB too.
    I had a D70 before. Try this on your D80 to change colour space in the camera:
    Shooting Menu, Optimize image, Custom, colour Mode

  11. #11

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by BMPhoto View Post
    Sorry, how do I know if the LCD has reached 100% brightness? Using calibration tool or via any of the LCD setting panel?

    Noted. Yes, mine is possibly predominantly cyan. Seems that there is a lot more to watch than just setting up my computer for post-processing. Thanks for pointing this out.
    Not sure if there's an indicator for it, but the important thing here is not to process your images immediately from a monitor that has just been powered-up.

    In addition to the things I've mentioned, my PS and color management mentor goes as far as painting his walls medium gray and wearing a black shirt when doing serious color correction. The gray walls addresses potential color casts in the image and the black shirt doesn't reflect any color to his monitor.

    It may seem extreme, but his job depends on it.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by lightbrush View Post
    I had a D70 before. Try this on your D80 to change colour space in the camera:
    Shooting Menu, Optimize image, Custom, colour Mode
    Thanks lightbrush. Will check it up tonight. Else will dig into the manual again.

    Quote Originally Posted by jssales View Post
    Not sure if there's an indicator for it, but the important thing here is not to process your images immediately from a monitor that has just been powered-up.

    In addition to the things I've mentioned, my PS and color management mentor goes as far as painting his walls medium gray and wearing a black shirt when doing serious color correction. The gray walls addresses potential color casts in the image and the black shirt doesn't reflect any color to his monitor.

    It may seem extreme, but his job depends on it.
    Noted. Seems that there are lots of consideration into colour correction and that there are lots more to learn if I am venturing seriously into this work. Thanks for the sharing.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by BMPhoto View Post
    What is this spectrophotometer? Is it a device, software or a service that I can engage. Pardon me, still new to some of these terms. Thanks.
    To put it simply, these are devices to read color. And they are not cheap (in the range of several thousand S$)
    They are typically bundled with software to create ICC profiles for your printer. There are many in the market. An example is this one by Xrite http://www.xrite.com/product_overview.aspx?ID=969

    Similar to profiling your monitor, you can do the same with a printed sample from your printer by using a spectrophotometer. So if you profile your monitor AND your printer, then "what you see is really what you get". There should be some companies that provide this service.

    Of course, higher end printers come with built in spectrophotometers.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by Montmelo View Post
    To put it simply, these are devices to read color. And they are not cheap (in the range of several thousand S$)
    They are typically bundled with software to create ICC profiles for your printer. There are many in the market. An example is this one by Xrite http://www.xrite.com/product_overview.aspx?ID=969

    Similar to profiling your monitor, you can do the same with a printed sample from your printer by using a spectrophotometer. So if you profile your monitor AND your printer, then "what you see is really what you get". There should be some companies that provide this service.

    Of course, higher end printers come with built in spectrophotometers.
    Hi Montmelo, thanks for the info. Will take note.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    to TS,

    basically, get a decent desktop printer, print a colour proof, and if the colour proof matches your screen, give the colour proof along with the image files to the printer and make sure they correct for any difference in their printouts versus your printed colour proofs... there are many printers in Singapore who heck care about colour management on the printing side and adjust colours manually as they see their prints come out... you shouldn't need to go there and adjust the printing company's colour workflow for them... its their job and they get paid for it...

    if you are concerned about colour, should try to shoot in RAW... do note that RAW does not have a colour profile "stamped" onto it (ie. you don't shoot an Adobe RGB RAW image cause RAW is the digitized readout from the sensor before it is further processed)... a colour profile only gets applied to the image when it is processed on a computer... and you can choose to apply any colour profile you see fit when you process the file...

    one note: if you want to use wider gamut profiles like ProPhoto or even Adobe RGB, do try to use 16bit editing mode... reason here

  16. #16

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by theRBK View Post
    to TS,

    basically, get a decent desktop printer, print a colour proof, and if the colour proof matches your screen, give the colour proof along with the image files to the printer and make sure they correct for any difference in their printouts versus your printed colour proofs... there are many printers in Singapore who heck care about colour management on the printing side and adjust colours manually as they see their prints come out... you shouldn't need to go there and adjust the printing company's colour workflow for them... its their job and they get paid for it...

    if you are concerned about colour, should try to shoot in RAW... do note that RAW does not have a colour profile "stamped" onto it (ie. you don't shoot an Adobe RGB RAW image cause RAW is the digitized readout from the sensor before it is further processed)... a colour profile only gets applied to the image when it is processed on a computer... and you can choose to apply any colour profile you see fit when you process the file...

    one note: if you want to use wider gamut profiles like ProPhoto or even Adobe RGB, do try to use 16bit editing mode... reason here
    Thanks for the valuable advise and information.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    I'm facing a very similar problem. I want to get a decent print of this picture:

    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=7044004

    Which is quite overexposed -- the edges are pure white (#FFFFFF) -- and has a lot of red/magenta in it.

    At the local Harvey Norman print shop, which uses a Fujifilm Frontier 500 minilab to do their printing, the picture looks fine on their screen but comes out with a strong pink tint for everything, including the pure white, when printed. They first told me that my picture was pink from the beginning, and when I showed them in MS Paint on their own PC that no, it's not, they then showed me that they're not doing any correction in their software, and claimed that the reason it's coming out pink is that I don't know how to take pictures.

    There's obviously something funny going on between their PC and the printer, but I don't think it's just a RGB-CMYK issue, because pure white should render just fine in CMYK. Any ideas what's wrong, or recommendations for photo labs with a clue?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    A reply to myself: went to Colourlab Photofinishing at Adelphi today and tried again, and surprise surprise, the print came out pure white, just like on the monitor.

    And now of course it turns out that the pink-tinted one actually looks a little better...

  19. #19

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatokal View Post
    I'm facing a very similar problem. I want to get a decent print of this picture:

    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=7044004

    ..... claimed that the reason it's coming out pink is that I don't know how to take pictures.
    This does not sound right, but you cant blame them since Harvey Norman is not specialised in prints. How one takes pictures and how one post process are two different things. Colourlab @ Adelphi is very good, but they charge a high fee for walk in customers. Maybe you had found the right printer.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Printed photos' color - too red

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatokal View Post
    I'm facing a very similar problem. I want to get a decent print of this picture:

    http://photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=7044004

    Which is quite overexposed -- the edges are pure white (#FFFFFF) -- and has a lot of red/magenta in it.

    At the local Harvey Norman print shop, which uses a Fujifilm Frontier 500 minilab to do their printing, the picture looks fine on their screen but comes out with a strong pink tint for everything, including the pure white, when printed. They first told me that my picture was pink from the beginning, and when I showed them in MS Paint on their own PC that no, it's not, they then showed me that they're not doing any correction in their software, and claimed that the reason it's coming out pink is that I don't know how to take pictures.

    There's obviously something funny going on between their PC and the printer, but I don't think it's just a RGB-CMYK issue, because pure white should render just fine in CMYK. Any ideas what's wrong, or recommendations for photo labs with a clue?
    tell them you want your money back... instead of solving the problem on their side, they blame you for the way you take pictures when clearly they are at fault... the image is white on their screen but prints pink on their printer, obviously the fault lies with them...

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