The thing I really like about digital photography is the fact that I'm totally in control of every step of the process.
The thing I hate about digital photography is the fact that I have to do everything myself, all I really want to do is take the pictures.
Contradictory? Well yes, but both are true.
Been an interesting couple of weeks here in the lightroom of the Today's Image World HQ. What with a new computer, tranfering all filles to new machine, getting scanners and printers hooked into the new system and then attempting to get everything working together.
This last week began with the arrival of inkjet photographic paper. This marked the return of the matching of computer screen to printed photograph.
While waiting for the paper, several e-mails and telphone calls to computer and printer support tech's suggested several possible solutions to the problem. The problem - simply stated - was the prints were much darker than the screen image. Or, in other words, the screen was brighter than the prints.
Now I had been trying to solve the first problem - prints darker than the screen - by changing the way the printer worked and leaving the computer screen fixed. Printers were profiled again -several times - with no change. The prints continued to be too dark. This plan did not work.
As several folks pointed out, the printer - once profiled - simply takes what it "gets" from the computer and always prints it in the same way. "Garbage in Garbage out" still holds true.
On to the second problem - the screen was brighter than the prints. After a long phone conversation with a computer tech, the computer was re-profiled - several times - using a couple of different "black boxes". Same results, screen and print do not match.
After a couple of cups of coffee and a walk around with the dog, a possible solution. O.K., the printer is fixed and the computer must change. If the screen image is too bright then make it not so bright - simple solution.
Off into the inner workings of the computer. Solution - locate the brightness control and turn it down and re-profile the computer. A bit later discovered the problem. The brightness control is not a continuous variable. It is a descrete variable. The brightness moves in fixed units. That is, for example, from a level 3 to a level 4. No 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4,......3.9. Just 3 to 4. Problem found.
Much more coffee and a lot of looking out the window - my way of solving problems. O.K., printer has fixed output and because of the way the brightness control is designed, the computer is also "fixed". Need a work around this problem.
Workflow solution. Use editing program - Photoshop - to obtain a screen image that is what is wanted. Now if that image is printed, the print will be too dark. Now make the screen image even brighter and print. The resulting print will not be too dark. Only question remainding is - how much brighter?
Photography is not all science. Personal choices enable photography to be an art form. Machines can only produce so much, the rest is up to the individual. My brighter may not be your brighter and my photograph is not your photograph. Each of us has to find their own "brighter".
A couple of images to end the post-