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Thread started 05 Nov 2010 (Friday) 10:38
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Calibration and web use

 
*Jayrou
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Nov 05, 2010 10:38 |  #1

Good day all

18 months ago at the grand age of 39 I became serious about photography, Things started off great and within a few months I'd had images appear in Photography Monthly (Uk photography mag) and local lifestyle magazines.

What I did notice was my images appeared darker in the magazines, I actually thought nothing of it until I sent images to the printers, when they arrived I was hugely disappointed to find the prints REALLY dark.

The printing company said my monitor needed calibrating, so I get a calibration card from them, I scour the internet regarding calibration, Gamma etc and get my monitor (Calibrated) to the best of my knowledge/ability.

What I then found was every image I'd processed and/or uploaded to the web etc was WAY too dark, when I upload an image processed with my calibrated monitor, it looks great to me, but if I view on an uncalibrated monitor (Which I think 80% of the world must use), the images looked washed out.

I recently done a wedding and the prints turned out fantastic , so don't want to touch my monitor again regarding calibrating but I suppose what I'm asking is.., how do you balance having great prints and great web images?... should mine be so different? are yours?

I would appreciate some guidance on what you guy n gals do regarding this situation.

I'm not sure if you will notice differences in the following images and if you have or don't have calibrated monitors but any help would be gratefully received.
I feel the whole year has been wasted processing images that look OK on un-calibrated monitors, but complete C**p on calibrated monitors and in print.

Image 1 (Processed before monitor calibration)

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE


Rocks are darkish here, but still distinguishable (but not on my calibrated monitor ....really dark)

Image 2 from the same outing (Processed on my supposedly calibrated monitor)... this looks washed out on my work monitor now , but at home looks OK (Excuse facebook, they seem to ruin photos)

IMAGE NOT FOUND
IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE


Thanks for your time

James...:oops:

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René ­ Damkot
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Nov 05, 2010 11:00 |  #2

Calibrate your monitor.
If your prints are darker then your screen, 99% chance is your screen is too bright.

http://www.getcolorman​aged.com/color-management/cmintro/ (external link)
http://www.getcolorman​aged.com/color-management/saveforweb/ (external link)
http://www.getcolorman​aged.com/color-management/testprint/ (external link)

And also have a look in the links from my sig...


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*Jayrou
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Nov 05, 2010 11:05 |  #3

Thanks Rene , I don't think you read my post correctly.

I've calibrated it to the point where I'm happy with the prints but, for general web use, on uncalibrated monitors they look washed out, as most monitors out there are un calibrated, is there a balance?


Also

I presume your monitor is calibrated?.... how do both images compare to you?


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René ­ Damkot
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Nov 05, 2010 11:17 |  #4

I think I did: You calibrated using a "calibration card", to " the best of your knowledge/ability." Not the best way.

May get you in the ballpark, might even get you close, but a hardware calibration device is a better bet IMO.

That's why I said "Calibrate your monitor" (i.e.: Use a calibration device. An iOneDisplay 2 for instance)

If an uncalibrated screen shows the image too bright: Figures: All LCD screens are *way* too bright out of the box: Some as high as 300Cd/m^2 or more.

Recommendation for a good screen to print match is somewhere along the lines of 90 to 120 Cd/m^2.
Again: "Calibrate your screen".

The links explain:


  1. Color management in general.
  2. The different preview options you get in the "Save for Web" dialog box in PS. Which also explains *why* an image looks different in a non color managed application such as a browser.
  3. How to pake a test print and compare it to the softproof, so you know what you will get.


Bottom line: If a monitor is not calibrated, it's anybodys guess how your image will look.
All you can do:

  • Make sure your screen is spot on,
  • Use color management throughout,
  • Use sRGB for web images,
  • Embed the profile for those people using Safari or FF in "default" color management mode,
  • Post a "reference" on your site (greyscale bar: "all steps should be visible")
  • Hope for the best.



Edit:
Yes, my screen is calibrated and I use Safari.

First is a bit too dark in the shadow areas (dark rocks around your watermark probably won't show enough detail in print). Second is better in that regard.
Both have blown out sky in (small) parts. Second could use a bit of saturation.

All a matter of taste of course, since I don't know how you intended them. ;)

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RDKirk
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Nov 05, 2010 11:19 as a reply to  @ René Damkot's post |  #5

If an uncalibrated screen shows the image too bright: Figures: All LCD screens are *way* too bright out of the box: Some as high as 300Cd/m^2 or more.

This is about all you can presume.


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EL_PIC
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Nov 05, 2010 11:21 |  #6
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Calibrated monitors arre greatly over rated !!!
Esp by those who sell calibration software and support.

Its all what looks good and its often better to cook with out a formal recipe.
Example - some web sites will use dark, colored, bright, white backgrounds, etc. and etc.
These backgrounds will effect your photo as much as viewing light on monitors and prints.
Sure you can cal your monitor to your printer but then it can change with viewing
conditions and ink and type / age of materials. It also will change with temperature and %RH.
Mags and outside print services have there own secret sauce and that can translate
to 1000's of secret sauces.

It's often left to individual tastes like cooking with spices.
Start with cal monitior if you wish but finish with seasoning suited to the taste of the viewer.


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*Jayrou
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Nov 05, 2010 11:27 |  #7

René Damkot wrote in post #11230252 (external link)
I think I did: You calibrated using a "calibration card", to " the best of your knowledge/ability." Not the best way.

May get you in the ballpark, might even get you close, but a hardware calibration device is a better bet IMO.

That's why I said "Calibrate your monitor" (i.e.: Use a calibration device. An iOneDisplay 2 for instance)

If an uncalibrated screen shows the image too bright: Figures: All LCD screens are *way* too bright out of the box: Some as high as 300Cd/m^2 or more.

Recommendation for a good screen to print match is somewhere along the lines of 90 to 120 Cd/m^2.
Again: "Calibrate your screen".

The links explain:

  1. Color management in general.
  2. The different preview options you get in the "Save for Web" dialog box in PS. Which also explains *why* an image looks different in a non color managed application such as a browser.
  3. How to pake a test print and compare it to the softproof, so you know what you will get.

Bottom line: If a monitor is not calibrated, it's anybodys guess how your image will look.
All you can do:
  • Make sure your screen is spot on,
  • Use color management throughout,
  • Use sRGB for web images,
  • Embed the profile for those people using Safari or FF in "default" color management mode,
  • Post a "reference" on your site (greyscale bar: "all steps should be visible")
  • Hope for the best.

My apologies, I suppose its back to square one then....,I presumed that If I was happy with my prints it was the end of it.

Thanks for your thorough post, its given me a lot to think about.


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*Jayrou
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Nov 05, 2010 11:33 |  #8

EL_PIC wrote in post #11230284 (external link)
Calibrated monitors arre greatly over rated !!!
Esp by those who sell calibration software and support.

Its all what looks good and its often better to cook with out a formal recipe.
Example - some web sites will use dark, colored, bright, white backgrounds, etc. and etc.
These backgrounds will effect your photo as much as viewing light on monitors and prints.
Sure you can cal your monitor to your printer but then it can change with viewing
conditions and ink and type / age of materials. It also will change with temperature and %RH.
Mags and outside print services have there own secret sauce and that can translate
to 1000's of secret sauces.

It's often left to individual tastes like cooking with spices.
Start with cal monitior if you wish but finish with seasoning suited to the taste of the viewer.

That's an interesting theory, why can't there be a standard where all monitors leave the factory calibrated equally, with a lock on the brightness and only one colour profile needed!

Life would be simpler...I was happy before I learnt it all existed..:cry:


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*Jayrou
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Nov 05, 2010 11:44 |  #9

Edit:
Yes, my screen is calibrated and I use Safari.

First is a bit too dark in the shadow areas (dark rocks around your watermark probably won't show enough detail in print). Second is better in that regard.
Both have blown out sky in (small) parts. Second could use a bit of saturation.

All a matter of taste of course, since I don't know how you intended them.

Thanks Rene, yeah , the first one did return no details in the rocks when printed which is what prompted me to look into it, I struggled with the skys trying to expose the foreground, I used a 2 stop ND grad but think I need more .


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tonylong
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Nov 05, 2010 11:46 |  #10

Your concern about the brightness issue is because, as has been noted, consmer monitors are set way too bright for photo processing. Your observation that on a "stock" monitor your images seem too bright is, in this light, understandable. The prints are the "acid test" here -- if the prints are too dark, and if those who have properly calibrated/adjusted monitors see your images as too dark, well, what do you do? Your first image above shows the foreground dark, almost as dark as a silhouette -- is that how the scene was to your eyes? My guess is no, you saw more like the second image, with a fair amount of light and detail.

But, like you said, someone on a consumer monitor will see the second one as "bright" but then ask yourself, is it better to have say a discerning viewer see an image that is too dark so you can please the multitudes? Your magazine publications should hit the mark, shouldn't they? To me I'd want images on the Web that will not be dark to the seasoned photo viewers but may be bright to those who are just casual viewers, and that will produce great prints without having to re-process them.


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René ­ Damkot
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Nov 05, 2010 11:48 |  #11

*Jayrou wrote in post #11230373 (external link)
Life would be simpler...

Life would be dull without a challenge ;)


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Nov 05, 2010 11:49 |  #12

"why can't there be a standard where all monitors leave the factory calibrated equally"

Agreed, in a perfect world thats exactly what would happen, but sadly we live in the real world, flaws and all.

And much of what El_Pic says makes sense to me. However before one can start getting artsy, we do need a standardised starting point. A bit like making sure the food is actually cooked before its served, never mind the spices.


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*Jayrou
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Nov 05, 2010 11:56 |  #13

tonylong wrote in post #11230462 (external link)
Your concern about the brightness issue is because, as has been noted, consmer monitors are set way too bright for photo processing. Your observation that on a "stock" monitor your images seem too bright is, in this light, understandable. The prints are the "acid test" here -- if the prints are too dark, and if those who have properly calibrated/adjusted monitors see your images as too dark, well, what do you do? Your first image above shows the foreground dark, almost as dark as a silhouette -- is that how the scene was to your eyes? My guess is no, you saw more like the second image, with a fair amount of light and detail.

But, like you said, someone on a consumer monitor will see the second one as "bright" but then ask yourself, is it better to have say a discerning viewer see an image that is too dark so you can please the multitudes? Your magazine publications should hit the mark, shouldn't they? To me I'd want images on the Web that will not be dark to the seasoned photo viewers but may be bright to those who are just casual viewers, and that will produce great prints without having to re-process them.

That's a great post Tony.

And you're correct, I shouldn't care what it looks like for the casual browser with their un calibrated monitors,but in one instance,
I sent a link to a password protected gallery for proofing to the couple who's wedding I shot and they were slightly unnerved the images didn't look as they did when I showed them a preview on my monitor.... which led to a bit of explaining, I don't want that every time I shoot, maybe that's how it has to be?


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René ­ Damkot
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Nov 05, 2010 12:00 |  #14

That's why I said "Post a "reference" on your site (greyscale bar: "all steps should be visible")" ;)

I have one on mine: http://damkot.com/ (external link)


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PERSONAL MESSAGING REGARDING SELLING OR BUYING ITEMS WITH MEMBERS WHO HAVE NO POSTS IN FORUMS AND/OR WHO YOU DO NOT KNOW FROM FORUMS IS HEREBY DECLARED STRICTLY STUPID AND YOU WILL GET BURNED.

  
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Nov 05, 2010 12:20 |  #15

*Jayrou wrote in post #11230526 (external link)
That's a great post Tony.

And you're correct, I shouldn't care what it looks like for the casual browser with their un calibrated monitors,but in one instance,
I sent a link to a password protected gallery for proofing to the couple who's wedding I shot and they were slightly unnerved the images didn't look as they did when I showed them a preview on my monitor.... which led to a bit of explaining, I don't want that every time I shoot, maybe that's how it has to be?

Yeah, that's something you will have to deal with. I'd say you have two choices: post images that are darker than they should be, or explain to your clients/viewers that an image will produce a great print even though it appears "bright" to them. In the case of a dedicated gallery, sure, you could post the darker version but explain that they would need the "proper" version to print. That's OK, it's up to you, and a tad more work but if it satisfies the client then all is good!

So, you could have some automated process here -- an action in Photoshop or a preset in a Raw processor to produce a set in each tonality -- but if I were doing that I'd want to make very sure that the "darker" image showed well across a wide range of monitors, and that the "brighter" image really was accurate for printing.


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