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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:00 am 
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I've been shooting in RAW and processing in Lightroom 2.6. I really like Lightroom, but the JPG images I've been exporting seem to be substantially darker than the processed RAW image in Lightroom. At least it's appearing to be the case when opening a photo in Windows Photo Gallery. Anyone else having this problem?

Also, I don't print my own photos. I've been uploading them to a processing center to be printed, and they are also coming out much darker than anticipated.

Any suggestions? I realize that it's impossible for me to synchronize my screen with the processing center's printer. Would I be any better off putting my JPG's on a thumb drive and using their computers to again adjust brightness? I'm not too keen on making adjustments on JPG's.

I'm far from a pro, but I want to make sure I'm getting the best output possible considering the time I spend processing in Lightroom.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:41 pm 
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I'm in no way an expert, but I have found that if I set my camera to use Adobe RGB 1998 and set my monitors colourspace to the same I get a better match. I use both Lightroom and Photoshop elements 8. In PSE8 I can set the colour settings to "optimise for printing", which also uses Adobe RGB 1998. I can't find that option in Lightroom though.

I don't use online printing services for the very reason that you don't know what they'll come back like. My ancient Epson R300 on its highest settings is a bit slow, but with it set to use the Adobe RGB 1998 profile also I find I get very acceptable results.

I thought, though, that using a professional service would mean that the lab would check the images and ensure that they were printed looking there best, as the old film labs used to do.

Doesn't explain why the jpgs are coming out darker than the adjusted RAW files though. I remember when I used XP's photoviewer that images always looked darker than in Photoshop, and would print dark too if I did it through the XP viewer, so I got into the habit of using Photoshop for printing. I seem to remember something about the default gamma that Windows uses was not the same as the default on a Mac which was why pros preferred Macs...I'm using Windows 7 now though and it seems much better.

Sorry, that was a lot of words without a real answer!

EDIT: have you thought about converting to a 16bit Tiff instead of jpeg? Or even a .DNG file? Does your online printing service only accept jpegs or will they do these other formats?

EDIT 2: Just had a look around, www.theprintspace.co.uk will do Tiff

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:38 pm 
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mikek75 wrote:

I thought, though, that using a professional service would mean that the lab would check the images and ensure that they were printed looking there best, as the old film labs used to do.

Doesn't explain why the jpgs are coming out darker than the adjusted RAW files though. I remember when I used XP's photoviewer that images always looked darker than in Photoshop, and would print dark too if I did it through the XP viewer, so I got into the habit of using Photoshop for printing. I seem to remember something about the default gamma that Windows uses was not the same as the default on a Mac which was why pros preferred Macs...I'm using Windows 7 now though and it seems much better.

Sorry, that was a lot of words without a real answer!

EDIT: have you thought about converting to a 16bit Tiff instead of jpeg? Or even a .DNG file? Does your online printing service only accept jpegs or will they do these other formats?

EDIT 2: Just had a look around, www.theprintspace.co.uk will do Tiff

It's making me have to guess. I'm having to leave an image a tad brighter than what looks best in order to convert it to JPG. What I haven't tried is importing the JPG into Lightroom to see how it appears there compared to the RAW. I haven't heard others complain about Lightroom's JPG conversion, so it doesn't seem likely to be inherent to the software.

Good idea about finding a someone who can print Tiff or DNG. Of course, I could always home print, but my experience with that hasn't been the greatest. One problem is the cost of home printing. I've found it to be 2-3 times more expensive. The prints look good, but they don't seem to hold up over time. I can't beat the professional finisher.

Another option for me is to just take my JPEG to the photo finisher and use their kiosk (rather than uploading via internet) to brighten JPEG's that appear too dark. I assume their kiosks are optimized to match their printers.

I just wish I could figure out why my Lightroom isn't making the greatest JPG's.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:33 pm 
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Yeah, home printing is expensive compared to the cheaper online labs, but the beauty is you get used to your equipment and after 6 years I can pretty much be sure of the result. Another thing I like about DIY is that you can print direct from the RAW files through the Canon software (don't know Sony's Raw software though). Maybe they get converted to Tiff on the way to the printer,dunno, but the result is very faithful.

As for longevity, I only use genuine Epson ink on either Epson or Fuji premium glossy paper. I've got prints that have been stuck on the wall for six years (not even behind glass!) and they still look good. Only trouble is I'm a smoker so some have a bit of residue on them...

If I'm printing 6x4 I have a portable Sony dye-sub printer which does even more durable prints. After the three colour passes it lays a clear laquer film over them. You can even splash water on them they are that tough! You can get a 120 sheet paper+ink pack for about £27 off Amazon which works out at 22.5p per print, not too bad really.

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