Dark Prints?

A lot of times when you look at a picture on your screen it looks great, but then when you send it out to be printed, or print it out, it is really dark and the colors are dingy. Why? Keep in mind that your monitor is lighted, so that compensates for the darkness of your pictures, and different monitors are calibrated differently... or not calibrated at all. If the pictures you print out don't look like what you saw on your screen, first look critically at your picture on the screen and see if it's really so. Often times we see what we want to see, or think is there until we get critcal. That's why proofreaders often proofread a document backwards, because often that's the only way you catch the missing words and misspellings. We do the same thing with our images. Compare the printed image with the on-screen image and see if your colors match or if you need to calibrate your monitor. There are built in software programs under 'appearance' in your Windows control panel to do so, and some good online tutorials. There are also actual tools you can buy to do so that physically measure your monitor's output, color, and appearance, and professionals spend a lot of money on those tools and high-end monitors. But most easily, if your pictures are turning out consistently dingy, you need to take a look at your histograms. If the hump of the histogram is consistently to the left, especially if there are no true blacks in the picture, then it is dark, no matter what your monitor wants you to believe. First of all, make a copy of your image to play with. (I know, I nag about that just a bit) 😉 You need to balance that histogram out by pushing and pulling the sliders underneath. If your picture is very dark, and the 'heap' of information is all to the right with nothing on the left, first try sliding the arrow at the left side over until it reaches the start of the rise, where there is information. Take a look and see what you see. You can also slide the middle slider around to move the midpoint (or medium colored) pixels, brightening them. It goes without saying that if you are using a RAW file you are going to have more flexibility in correcting your image than with a jpeg, as there's just more information available. There are no right or wrong settings, you just have to play with this and figure it out. It's art, have fun. 🙂 Cheryl