Color cast from print processor?

eschickeschick Big grinsPosts: 11Registered Users Big grins
edited April 15, 2004 in Technique
I have a question that is probably related to the dreaded color management issue.

I have been using a Canon S30 for about a year now and am having some problems related to printing. I have taken many photos and have been pleased with the results on the computer screen. Also, I do some occassional printing on a rather old, HP Deskjet 722C inket printer (haven't upgraded to a photo printer yet) using Kodak Premium Picture Paper. The results from this are surprisingly good.

However, when I have a photo printed thru a processor, it always seems to come back with a color cast. I've used Ofoto and Smugmug (back when they were using Shutterfly and now when they are using EZPrints). The photos seem to either come back with a blue cast or a red cast. In fact, the colors from my old injet printer are better than from these pro labs.

Additionally, it seems to happen for photos which I've done no post processing work at all.

I've done some reading on monitor calibration and color management, but still don't understand where the problem is. Is this a camera problem, a monitor problem, or a lab processing problem?

Thanks for any help.

Comments

  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 13, 2004
    Lots of times photos look good on the monitor and bad when printed. This is true even when both are color managed. Even an inexpensive monitor can reproduce a much wider range of colors than any printer.

    See my post on a related issue. If learning to color correct by the numbers seems overwhelming (it was for me in the beginning) , you can try icorrect, which will help you with simple cast removals and help you get started in understanding the problem.
    If not now, when?
  • eschickeschick Big grins Posts: 11Registered Users Big grins
    edited April 13, 2004
    Thanks for the reply.

    I understand the difficulty in "matching" colors between a computer monitor and a printer. However, in this case, what I don't understand is why the photos look good when printed on my laserjet, but have a color cast when I send them out for professional processing. The color cast is not present when viewing in camera, on the pc or when printed on my laserjet.

    Remember, this happens for pics that I have made no post processing changes to.

    Thanks for the link to iCorrect - I'll be sure to check it out.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,458Super Moderators moderator
    edited April 13, 2004
    eschick wrote:
    I have a question that is probably related to the dreaded color management issue.

    I have been using a Canon S30 for about a year now and am having some problems related to printing. I have taken many photos and have been pleased with the results on the computer screen. Also, I do some occassional printing on a rather old, HP Deskjet 722C inket printer (haven't upgraded to a photo printer yet) using Kodak Premium Picture Paper. The results from this are surprisingly good.

    However, when I have a photo printed thru a processor, it always seems to come back with a color cast. I've used Ofoto and Smugmug (back when they were using Shutterfly and now when they are using EZPrints). The photos seem to either come back with a blue cast or a red cast. In fact, the colors from my old injet printer are better than from these pro labs.


    Additionally, it seems to happen for photos which I've done no post processing work at all.

    I've done some reading on monitor calibration and color management, but still don't understand where the problem is. Is this a camera problem, a monitor problem, or a lab processing problem?

    Thanks for any help.
    If files directly from your camera are printed too blue by EZPrints - my first question would be - how is the color balance/white balance on your camera set?

    Too blue sounds like your camera might be set for tungsten lighting - this would explain why they are printed too blue - just like using tungsten film in daylight. Too red -orange or yellow perhaps ? - might suggest daylight setting on the camera and a subject illuminated by tungsten light. I doubt that EZPrints is adding a color cast - my first response is that they are printing accurately what they are being sent, particularly since your monitor and printer havenot been calibrated.

    Monitor and printer calibration have nothing to do with files taken directly from your camera and sent to EZPrint. I think something more fundamental is going on here. Check your camera white balance settings. Camera settings seem particularly suspicious because you say this happens whether you use Ofoto or EZPrints or other vendors. Its got to be the file you send them and that came from your camera and its settings.
    Please let us know what you discover and if this has helped resolve your color cast. Once your pictures work well with Ofoto or EZPrints, we can help get your system straightened out - but that should be after your files print true by the better online vendors.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • eschickeschick Big grins Posts: 11Registered Users Big grins
    edited April 13, 2004
    pathfinder wrote:
    If files directly from your camera are printed too blue by EZPrints - my first question would be - how is the color balance/white balance on your camera set?

    Too blue sounds like your camera might be set for tungsten lighting - this would explain why they are printed too blue - just like using tungsten film in daylight. Too red -orange or yellow perhaps ? - might suggest daylight setting on the camera and a subject illuminated by tungsten light. I doubt that EZPrints is adding a color cast - my first response is that they are printing accurately what they are being sent, particularly since your monitor and printer havenot been calibrated.

    Monitor and printer calibration have nothing to do with files taken directly from your camera and sent to EZPrint. I think something more fundamental is going on here. Check your camera white balance settings. Camera settings seem particularly suspicious because you say this happens whether you use Ofoto or EZPrints or other vendors. Its got to be the file you send them and that came from your camera and its settings.
    Please let us know what you discover and if this has helped resolve your color cast. Once your pictures work well with Ofoto or EZPrints, we can help get your system straightened out - but that should be after your files print true by the better online vendors.
    Thanks for the response. It seemed to me also, that the labs should not have been introducing a color cast. But, being somewhat new to this, I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something.

    I'll check into the white balance, but I believe they are set correctly. I'm going to try a number of test prints (thru Smugmug) of photos I know I've had problems with in the past as well as a number of photos under different lighting conditions.

    Hopefully that should show me if there is something wrong with my camera or whether it may have problems in certain lighting conditions (I have to admit, that for most shots I use AWB).

    Thanks again.
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 13, 2004
    Why not post a couple of these (or their URLs)?
    If not now, when?
  • Shay StephensShay Stephens Artist in Residence Posts: 3,165Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 13, 2004
    eschick wrote:
    I have a question that is probably related to the dreaded color management issue.

    I have been using a Canon S30 for about a year now and am having some problems related to printing. I have taken many photos and have been pleased with the results on the computer screen. Also, I do some occassional printing on a rather old, HP Deskjet 722C inket printer (haven't upgraded to a photo printer yet) using Kodak Premium Picture Paper. The results from this are surprisingly good.

    However, when I have a photo printed thru a processor, it always seems to come back with a color cast. I've used Ofoto and Smugmug (back when they were using Shutterfly and now when they are using EZPrints). The photos seem to either come back with a blue cast or a red cast. In fact, the colors from my old injet printer are better than from these pro labs.

    Additionally, it seems to happen for photos which I've done no post processing work at all.

    I've done some reading on monitor calibration and color management, but still don't understand where the problem is. Is this a camera problem, a monitor problem, or a lab processing problem?

    Thanks for any help.
    Every lab I have used has a color peculiariity unique to itself. What I do is send a sample print with color bars and various adjustments applied to them (gamma, hue). When I get the print back, I check to see what color look good and which ones are off. By checking my alternate color patches I can determine how much of an adjustment I need to apply to get back what I want.

    The trick to color management is to just make adjustments to the image destined to be printed by a certain printer.or lab. There is no one universal file that will look good printed from any and all printers or labs. Each one needs it's own treatment.

    One lab I use has good color, but comes back too dark, so I need to brighten the gamma 1.4 before sending the file to them. Antother lab has good brightness, but the yellow and magenta is off, so I have to give the image a -10 hue adjustment for yellow and +10 for magenta. Ofoto is dark and has an orange cast, ezprints comes back with good brightness but has a yellow cast. For each printer or lab, you need to determine a way to correct and get back what you need.

    Some people ave good results using profiles, I don't, for some reason, profiles do nothing for me, and so I do my own adjustments. Figure out a system that works effeciently and consistantly for you and stick with it. It will take time, effort, and some amount of money, but once done, you are on easy street.
    Creator of Dgrin's "Last Photographer Standing" contest
    "Failure is feedback. And feedback is the breakfast of champions." - fortune cookie
  • ruttrutt Cave canem! Posts: 6,511Registered Users Major grins
    edited April 14, 2004
    Dan Margulis trained me to use CMYK SWOP. My experience with this has been good with the best labs and also with printing on my Epson 2200 (using Epson's own mac driver.) I guess Dan's position is that this is as close to a universal format as there is.
    I'm really no expert on this (but Dan is.)
    If not now, when?
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Administrators moderator
    edited April 15, 2004
    Every lab I have used has a color peculiariity unique to itself. What I do is send a sample print with color bars and various adjustments applied to them (gamma, hue).
    I agree with this completely. I sent 26 prints to a dozen labs repeatedly when smugmug was trying to decide which lab to use. Then I went to 30 of our customers separately and asked which prints did they like best and least, and why (the test prints were chosen from some of those customers, so they frequently knew the people and scenes in them).

    Here are the results (qualitative, of course, because my scans and your monitor introduce two other variables): http://cmac.smugmug.com/gallery/36620

    Ofoto is a consumer printer and their target customers are largely fair-skinned caucasians who'd like to look like Indiana Jones, so they tend to shift towards yellow and desaturate the red channel.

    Shutterfly also tends to shift yellow, but not to the degree Ofoto does.

    EZprints attempts to hit the color you submit, but when we hear complaints about them, it's usually "too red," and the shots are almost always of a reddish-skinned person taken with flash on the camera.

    I made my own calibration prints from EZprints from shots of people I know and see often and given what I see, I tend to add a little warmth to people shots before sending them to EZprints (sometimes I do this via the camera, by setting my 10D on the cloudy white balance setting).
Sign In or Register to comment.