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Archive 2012 · Help With Printing Problem Please
  
 
Ken_K
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Help With Printing Problem Please


I recently picked up some photos processed by Costco. I immediately noticed that the images were very dark and underexposed. It was difficult to evaluate white balance and colors with the image this dark. The first image below was without color correction. I tried one with color correction but skin tones were green, reds were orange although the exposure was better.
I recently calibrated my monitor (Apple iMac) using my Spyder Pro 3. Gamma = 2.2 White Point 6500K and native brightness. The original image was a raw file imported into Lightroom 4.1. Minor changes to exposure, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpening were made. I then exported it as a jpeg with Adobe RGB color space.
The first image is a 300 dpi scan of the photo print I received from Costco. The other one is the file I uploaded to Costco that they used for the print.
Could you please give me a bit of advice to help troubleshoot this problem?
Thanks for your help.







Dec 01, 2012 at 03:57 PM
BobCollette
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Help With Printing Problem Please


Ken, most consumer image printing services such as Costco & Walmart assume that the image is in sRGB color space. Your images are in AdobeRGB color space, which is a wider gamut space than is sRGB. As a result, the resulting prints will be flat and desaturated. However, in looking at your images, the scan looks even more desaturated than I would have expected for AdobeRGB. On a hunch, I downloaded your "good" image (actualjpgimage.jpg) and opened it in Photoshop. As I suspected, the image is actually in ProPhotoRGB which is an extremely wide gamut color space and is the native working space in LR. Your original image looks very good in PS, virtually identical to what you posted. However, if (in PS) I assign an sRGB profile to it (what would happen if printed with an assumed sRGB profile), the image looks very dark, flat and desaturated (very close to your scanned print image).

You need to figure out how to convert your images to sRGB color space and save, then send the sRGB images to be printed. I suspect that you'll be happy with the resulting prints. Unfortunately, I don't use LR, so I can't tell you how to do this.



Dec 01, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Ken_K
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Help With Printing Problem Please


Bob, I called Costco's photo tech support and they had no idea what color space meant or which they used. I just got back some other prints from Mpix that were PP exactly like the image above and they were superb and dead on.
I did find some references on the net to support that Costco expects sRGB. If I didn't have the prints from Mpix, I would also conclude that color space was my problem. I'll try re-doing them at Costco with sRGB and see what happens. When I export files from LR, I can select either sRGB or AdobeRGB so conversion is no problem.
Thanks for your feedback.
Ken



Dec 02, 2012 at 06:05 PM
 

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BobCollette
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Help With Printing Problem Please


Ken, while I don't use any photo printing services (I print my own), I believe that Mpix is considered a "Pro Lab". Pro labs are generally more sophisticated than consumer labs and are more likely to use color management. If Mpix reads the embedded color space profile (which I suspect they do based on your results), then I would expect good results.

I think the problem lies with Costco and other consumer print labs in that they don't read the embedded profile (or don't know how to handle it if they do read it). They treat everything as if it's in sRGB color space. I think if you convert your images to sRGB color space and resend them to Costco, you'll get better results. Before sending your images to Costco, you might want to confirm that they are actually in sRGB. The image that you exported as AdobeRGB was actually ProPhotoRGB.
Bob



Dec 02, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Whaler
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Help With Printing Problem Please


Ken,

Go here http://www.drycreekphoto.com/ and download the ICC profile for your Costco store printer. At least you will be able to soft proof your work before sending it to Costco. Also, when soft proofed make sure you you turn off the auto color management before sending. Good luck.



Dec 02, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Ken_K
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Help With Printing Problem Please


Whaler - thanks for the suggestion RE: ICC profiles & soft proofing. I downloaded and installed the Costco profile. I didn't see much difference before or after adding the profile. I just sent the image using sRGB to another Costco that uses a different Noritsu printer. We'll see what happens.
BTW, this photo is just a Christmas card stuffer. I wanted the quick turn around and (other than this time) fairly decent results that I have gotten from Costco in the past. Otherwise I would have sent it to someone like Mpix.
Thanks again for your input.



Dec 03, 2012 at 12:33 AM





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