Oct 1, 2009

The Problem with Prints: Part 1

Yesterday I decided to have a few wallets printed up of our son. As much as I love getting prints from pro labs, I also love getting one-hour prints from Walgreens. Their color (at least the one I use) is excellent; the online ordering site is simple, and the prints aren't that expensive.

But there's a problem with prints -- or at least a translation error when it comes to printing something you see on the screen. You see, images on the computer are made up of bits of colored light. Images in print are made up of colored ink. That can create huge discrepancies when it comes to printing (color matching, sharpness, resolution, etc.) but one of the most apparent is the difference in brightness.

Here is the original image I submitted to the printer:

I know; the image looks a little overexposed, and the colors are a bit brighter than you might actually want, but here's the reason why. The print came back looking like this:

A beautiful photo of a beautiful boy, but definitely not as bright and vibrant as I was seeing on screen. Fortunately, the color is very close and the image retains the character of the original screen version. In all, I'm pleased. To finish them off, I borrowed my sister's idea of laminating the wallets so they wouldn't fray. Thanks, girl!

Remember, what you see on screen does not equal what you get in a print, especially when it comes to brightness. Brighten and saturate your image a little more than you think will be necessary to avoid getting a photo that is too dark. If you get a print you are pleased with, don't worry if it doesn't match your monitor in brightness. No one will notice if you have a darling little boy like mine looking back at you from the photo (grin).

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