AdoramaPix Forums/Solutions Library/Preparing digital photos for printing

Color calibration and custom correction

Al Escudero
posted this on August 02, 2010 01:47 PM

Our Corrections System

AdoramaPix technicians enhance every image in your print order by fixing some common photographic snafus like exposure and color correction. How do they know what color your photos are supposed to be? They know what they’re doing. Our technicians aren’t short term employees who are working part time while they focus on something else, they are professionally trained photographers whose job is to make sure every print that leaves our hands looks great. We use state-of-the-art equipment and software, and have the advantage of color-calibrated monitors/displays for consistently performing color and brightness correction. AdoramaPix strongly suggests that you upload the original images right from your camera and leave it to our trained tech to adjust the image spatially if you don't have a properly color calibrated monitor. Color changes made by you may look good on your monitor but the actual print won’t look the same. Even cropping should be done through our website after uploading.

Custom image corrections

For professionals or advanced amateurs who would like to have total control over the color and the density of the final prints, you can do so by telling us not to change anything in your image, so that AdoramaPix technicians do not overwrite the color correction you've applied to the photos in your order. If you decide to choose this option make sure that your monitor is properly color corrected. You may ask, how do I calibrate my monitor? It’s easier than it sounds. Check out the tutorial at  http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/monitor_calibration.htm

You’ll also want to download the Adorama ICC printer profile here: (Updated 31-Mar-2011)

For Regular Prints:

For Metal Prints:

  • Coming soon

For Posters (16x20 and up):

For Photo Books:


Where to store the downloaded profiles:

Mac OS X:

  • Storing profiles in /Library/ColorSync/Profiles allows all users to use them. An alternative area, for users without Admin privileges, is /Users//Library/ColorSync/Profiles — any profiles stored here are available only to the current user. The ColorSync Utility gives access to the details of individual profiles, shows gamut plots, can rename profiles, validates profile structure, among other useful tasks.

Mac OS 9.x:

  • System Folder:ColorSync Profiles
  • Mac OS 9.x users who have difficulty loading profiles in Photoshop, please read this note.

Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7:

  • \Windows\system32\spool\drivers\color
  • Microsoft has a Control Panel Applet that emulates some of the functionality of Apple's ColorSync utility. It allows easy installation and removal of profiles, editing of internal and external names, viewing 3-D gamut plots, comparing two different profiles, and much more.
  • If you do not use the Color Applet, the easiest way to install a profile in Windows XP is to right click on the profile in Windows Explorer and select "install profile". Windows copies the profile to the correct directory automatically.
  • Important note: If you are replacing a profile in Windows XP, the above shortcut does not work. The profiles must be manually copied to the correct directory for the original profile to be replaced.

Windows NT/2000:

  • \Winnt\system32\spool\drivers\color
  • See above note on installing profiles in Windows XP. The same technique works in Windows 2000.

Windows 98/ME:

  • \Windows\System\Colo

 

ICC Profiles explained:

http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Learn/profiles.htm

 

Comments

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Jason Waltman

Which rendering intent should be used in Photoshop when soft proofing?

August 09, 2011 02:52 AM
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Al Escudero
AdorPix LLC

Keep it to “relative color metric“ and you should be ok.

August 10, 2011 03:41 PM
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Daniel Fugaciu
So if I have a soft calibrated monitor I should choose to have you guys do the calibration? I love how they look on my monitor now.
August 29, 2011 09:34 PM
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Leda Robertson

I've corrected my image using the icc profile for the paper - when I save the image, should I convert the image to the output color profile?

September 06, 2011 09:27 AM
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jose anzueto

do i have to check on simulate paper color on photoshop?

November 15, 2011 02:23 PM
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Jason Waltman

@ Daniel:  If you're sure that your monitor is calibrated correctly, and you're saving the images in sRGB space to sent to Adorama then you probably don't need to have them do any color corrections.  You should make sure your monitor is set to the right brightness.  Most of the time monitors for home use are set too bright and your prints will come back too dark.

@ Leda: When you save images, you should just save with the sRGB profile.  Use the ICC printer profiles for soft proofing only to get an idea of how your images' colors will change when printed on a specific paper. 

@ Jose: The "simulate paper color" option in Photoshop isn't great--it'll usually make your onscreen images a bit duller than they would actually appear in the final print.  I don't use that, and most books I've read on soft proofing suggest not using it either.  You should realize that a print will never have the pop that an onscreen backlit image has, but  "simulate paper color" takes it a bit too far IMO.

November 15, 2011 02:35 PM
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caroline wu

follow-up question from Leda Robertson (above):  how do I know what is the "right brightness" which my monitor should be set to to ensure that my prints don't come back to me too dark? I use a Dell laptop. 

January 07, 2012 11:41 PM
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Jason Waltman

Setting the correct brightness is a bit difficult and a bit subjective depending on the conditions you'll view the final print in (your print will look brighter in sunlight than it will under normal home lighting at night).  Most recommendations I've seen suggest monitor intensity be between 90-120 cd/m^2, but you'll need a way to measure that and the "best" value will change depending on the lighting in the room with your monitor.  The Spyder Elite software can measure your ambient room temperature, suggest a brightness value, and help you get there, but you'll have to adjust the brightness of the monitor on your own.  Other color profiling packages maybe be able to do the same, I've just not used them.  Lower-end monitors (this probably includes laptop screens) may not be able to get as low as 90 cd/m^2 and still produce accurate colors.  Some high end monitors with their own colorimeters and software can adjust screen brightness automatically to a value you set (some of the NEC MultiSync line, for example).

If you don't have calibration software or the ability to measure screen brightness, the only thing I can suggest is to make a few prints on your own printer or from Adorama and adjust your monitor brightness to try to match the print.  If your prints are too dark, try lowering the monitor brightness to make the image on screen look as dark as your print.  Re-edit those photos to make them brighter and try printing again to see if the on screen match is closer.

I use an NEC MultiSync 2690WUXi2 and NEC's SpectraView II software.  I've calibrated to D65, gamma 2.2, and intensity 110.0 cd/m^2.  Viewed near a bright window I'd say my prints match the brightness of my screen when viewed in dimly lit (not black) room.  Viewing at night with typical home lighting my prints appear darker (as one would expect) to the point where monitor intensity of 100 cd/m^2 or lower would probably be more appropriate, but a compromise has to be made somewhere.

Hope this information helps.

January 08, 2012 01:28 PM
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Sylvia Sheh

I always save with the profile after I color correct a photo. but I just read this in the icc profile page from Adoramzpix "Save this proof setup for future use, naming it AdoramaPixBook, or something to let you know what type of printing it is to be used for. You can view and edit the image while in the "proof" mode and see immediately how your corrections will be reflected in the final print. Once you're satisfied with your images, save them, but do NOT embed the profile in the image file."

If I do not embed the color profile, there is a chance end up with different color profile by mistake. Please help!

March 04, 2012 03:53 PM
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James Minervini

What is the best way to soft proof for Aluminyzed Prints?  There don't seem to be any ICC profiles available

November 22, 2012 08:47 PM
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Philip Baltar

There's contradictory information on this page so I'm still unclear on how to use the provided ICC profiles.  It is clear that the customer can ask that Adorama not make any color/brightness corrections to the image.  But what about the color space?  If the customer does the color space conversion on their own, can they ask that Adorama not (re)apply the ICC profile when printing?

 

The referenced pages from Dry Creek Photo say to convert to the provided profiles but not embed the profile.  That makes sense and I understand how to do that.  However, the above comments seem to contradict that by saying the customer should send the file as sRGB and should NOT do the color space conversion themselves.  If the customer is NOT to do the color space conversion themselves, this implies that Adorama will do it.  If this is the case, the customer must be told which rendering intent Adorama will use when printing.

 

At some point in the workflow, a color space conversion MUST happen.  It is either done in software (by a person or automatically by the printer manufacturer's software) or forced by the printer's physical limits.  If it is done in software (which it should be), the only way soft proofing is useful is to know which rendering intent is used to do the color space conversion during printing.  The print will NOT match the soft proof unless the same rendering intent is used for both.  A second issue is that different rendering intents produce different results.  Some images can have drastic differences between different rendering intents.  

December 22, 2012 12:40 PM
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Lee Berg

After a delay of many years, I recently decided to print some (a couple of dozen) of my photos (10x15 and larger). I started by submitting a "test" order with only 3 prints to get an idea how the color would turn out. And, having had good results in the past, I checked that box which instructs the printing technician to adjust the color.

The results were not what I expected - low saturation. However, I did notice that the colors looked almost identical to the image when viewed on my standard uncalibrated monitor as opposed to my RGB-LED backlit monitor, calibrated for sRGB.

So I bumped the saturation, making the images look good on the substandard monitor, thinking that when I placed my final order, again, requesting that the technician perform color correction. Lo and behold, this order arrived yesterday and the prints look exactly the same! Obviously, I need to stop checking that particular box.

However, this would lead me to believe that there is some sort of auto-correction going on here and/or the technician is making a subjective (albeit consistent) judgment on the final color balance.

In the future, I will not request that the technician apply color correction. However, even in a substandard monitor, the images look decidedly more saturated than the final prints. Can anyone explain this?

January 06, 2013 08:24 AM
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Rakefet Zehavi

I have been getting consistently good color and density for year.. Following the drycreekphoto instructions: first converting the prints to the adorama profile but saving the print without any profile.   It worked for 5 years. However... With the my last order.. The prints are WAY off.. First time in 5 years. I checked and double-checked on my monitor it looks perfect ( NEC calibrated with spectra view monitor).  The images where sent to adorama first converted to the profile but saved without any profile  I requested NO color correction,  the back of the prints marking in NNNN.  Are the prints converted srgb?   (fyi; Intent was set by lightroom- no idea what  it was- my guess is -relative colorimetric which is my default setting)

Can you please give a clear set of instructions for professionals working with in a calibrated space and wanting to use the  profile you provide? 

Thank you

 

January 06, 2013 09:35 AM
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Lee Berg

Executive Summary:

  • Make sure that the image files you submit for printing at Adorama are stored with the sRGB color profile.
  • Forget about Adorama's printer color profiles. They have virtually nothing to do with ensuring that your prints look like you expect.
  • Make sure you have a decent color-calibrated monitor and software that is color profile-aware.
  • Make sure you know how to set up your color-calibrated monitor and your software. It's simpler than you think, even if you have a mediocre display.

I think I know what happened with my prints. And I am resubmitting a set of test 10x15 prints to see if I am correct. To make a long story short, I strongly suspect it is my mistake, not Adorama's.

Adorama clearly states that they only support the sRGB (presumably, "sRGB IEC61966-2.1") color profile on customer's image files. Most of mine were set to Adobe RGB ("Adobe RGB (1998)"). I have set my camera to store its RAW images with the "Adobe RGB" color profile, thinking that it would prevent me from capturing the full color gamut. While doing this is not bad in itself, I should have, before submitting my photos to Adorama, selected "Convert to Profile..." and set the Destination Space to sRGB. Of course, if I set my camera to record images with the sRGB color space, I wouldn't even have to think about it.

How do I know this was the problem with my under-saturated prints? There were some which actually looked OK. They were from a mix of recent photos (from the same camera) and some ancient photos from an old point-and-shoot film camera. Every one of the JPEG files I submitted to Adorama which ended up looking OK were stored with the sRGB color profile. And all of the ones stored with Adobe RGB looked under-saturated.

Of course, you also need a good calibrated monitor and some decent software which understands color profile translation, not to mention knowing how to actually use said software. I highly recommend this link. It really helped me understand the whole color space game.

http://www.gballard.net/psd/cmstheory.html

Conclusion: It would be great if Adorama's printing workstations could deal with some of the more common color profiles such as Adobe sRGB, Apple RGB, etc.

January 06, 2013 07:29 PM
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nick baker

In the past I've used Adoramapix without much drama, but recently I've found my prints' colors are way, way off.  I have downloaded your color profiles, calibrated my MacBook monitor using Supercal (which seems OK using the criteria on the DryCreek page), and select 'no adjustments' on my prints, but the print colors are way off.  I have been proofing my prints using 'Proof Setup' and 'Simulate paper color' in Photoshop CS5 extended.  Today I noticed that my image onscreen seems closer to the prints received if I also assign your profile to the file under the Edit>Assign Profiles menu rather than the sRGB working profile.  Should I be doing this additional step to edit my images, as I cannot find any instruction to this effect? 

May 19, 2013 05:12 PM
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Al Escudero
AdorPix LLC

Hi Nick. Files need to be converted to sRGB profile first. If you're soft proofing photo with our ICC profile, you need to modify the file with the changes shown on  simulation and save the file.

May 21, 2013 01:55 PM
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nick baker

I'm sorry I don't understand your response.  My files are sRGB (Edit>Color settings>working spaces>RGB:sRGB).  I am soft-proofing on screen using View>Custom>adorama_standard_lustre_0311.  The files do not appear similar to the print results using Edit>assign profile>working RGB:sRGB.  The files resemble the prints more if I select Edit>assign profile>profile:adorama_standard_lustre_0311.  Am I to understand your response that I should not have to do this?  If not, what further can I do to color proof my prints correctly?  Otherwise I may have to give up.  As noted above, my monitor is calibrated to the  est of my ability.

May 22, 2013 10:24 AM
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Al Escudero
AdorPix LLC

Step 1: File should not be assigned or working srgb, CONVERT to sRGB IEC61966-2.1 ( It is Edit>convert to profile>choose destination profile to sRGB IEC61966-2.1)

pic1.jpg

Step 2: If you want to soft proof using our Adoramapix ICC profile, you need to do the following steps; ( view>proof setup> custom> simulate paper color> preview)

  Pic2.png

 

Please note, it is not required to soft proof each time, you can convert files to srgb profile, compensate on a calibrated monitor and save the file before upload. Place order with no correction. Please make few test prints before making large order. Thank you.

If you need further clarification please give customer service a call and we'd be happy to explain further.

 

May 22, 2013 11:47 PM
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nick baker

Thanks.  You are still not addressing the 'Assign Profile' menu, but since I have asked you twice without a response, I have to assume I should not be using your profile there.

May 23, 2013 09:54 AM
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Lee Berg

I have also struggled with this. It's actually simpler than you think. After reading (many times) the following tutorial, I was able to match what I saw on my display with the prints, at least color-wise.

http://www.gballard.net/psd/cmstheory.htm

May 25, 2013 08:59 PM
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carlos cintron

 Hello, I have a problem with my prints  I've print 2 times my photos and still little dark, I bought a spyder 4 to calibrate my monitor and now the colors are good but still a little bit dark, I use a sRGB IEC61966-2.1 profile and still dark, when I do the proof setup in photoshop with you guys  Kodak endura metallic profile, turn dark but I don't know what to do to fix that. any help will be appreciate. thank you.

June 17, 2013 06:20 PM
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Lee Berg

Carlos, did you choose the option to allow Adorama technicians to adjust your photos? Under "Color Corrections" is the "Apply Image Corrections" option. The other option is "No. Thanks, Don't Touch My Images." I have also had trouble with the dark areas of my prints coming out especially dark. I have always chosen the second option (i.e., "Don't touch my images...") because I like to control the color space of my images. Regardless, there is always that last step of printing.

I have no idea what goes into the technician changing the appearance of my print. Is it purely a subjective thing? Or is it some separate software system? As long as I get something that looks like what I see on my calibrated monitor, I'm OK. But for my images with darker areas, this has not been the case. I am currently deciding whether I should explore other printing vendors or submit a test image (with dark areas) and choose the "Apply Image Corrections" option.

June 17, 2013 06:49 PM
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carlos cintron

Yes Lee, I  choosed  that option and I really disappointed with this, I'm not blame at all Adorama maybe it's me, but they don't help to resolve this situation, I'll give one more try with the option " do not touch my image" and small print to see, if not, I going to try another company.

June 17, 2013 08:27 PM
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Sameer Mundkur

Al Escudero - Could you provide the ICC printer color  profile for Aluminyzed Metal Prints. This page still says "Coming soon (Q1 2013)". Its now half way through 2013.

I recently got a 24x36 Metal Print done and I find that the colors are completely different from what I see on my calibrated monitor. I have had consistent results before while using the color profile ICC soft proof for Kodak Endura while printing on paper

July 12, 2013 02:13 PM
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Brian Coutermarsh

How do I use these profiles with a Windows 7 system? I don't see it listed above?

 

August 08, 2013 06:38 PM
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Al Escudero
AdorPix LLC

Use the profile for Vista on Windows 7.

August 12, 2013 02:38 AM
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Michael McCue

Have there been any updates to making profiles available for the Metallic Prints? I have been ordering 16x24 prints on white gloss aluminum and they print darker than I hope for. I'd like to get better at anticipating what you need for us to work together more effectively.

 

The metal print order option doesn't have a place to choose how they are printed so I place a note in the comments that I would like the lab techs to adjust as required but I don't know if anyone reads it or makes the adjustments.

 

 

November 27, 2013 12:43 PM
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Eva Baide

Hi,

I have been a customer for a while and in two orders I have made in printing, I cannot complain. Both orders came out beautiful. But for some reason, I ordered 56 prints, all 8 x 10, and most were of very colorful sunsets. I was soooo very disappointed for getting the worst prints ever. The colors were muddy, darker than the display. Now, I don't know much of how to calibrate my Macbook display. I don't touch it because the screen displays my photos beautifully. I can understand that the prints may not come out exactly like how I see them on the screen because I understand that there is light coming out of the pictures, but why are the bright blues in my pictures looking grey, my bright firey oranges look almost brown. I just don't get it. I even put the setting to be corrected by adoramapix if they saw that some correction was needed. It was like if they sabotaged my work on purpose. I spent almost $100 for pictures that were supposed to be for my portfolio and now they are useless. I'm about to be contracted to sell a few of these pictures and have them enlarged. They want color and I afraid they are not going to get it if I print them here. How can you reassure me that this won't happen again?

 

March 10, 2014 03:59 PM
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Al Escudero
AdorPix LLC

Hi Eva, if there was a problem with the printing, please contact customer support and you should be able to get them reprinted.

March 11, 2014 04:06 PM
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Marshall sdsds

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September 11, 2014 06:19 AM
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Carol Lahnum

Hi - I wish you guys would fix the calibration for metals - I just got five metals and the whites are blown out on all of them. They were also saturated or desaturated. I need to fix this. I left comments in the directions for a tech to look at the images before shipping to and it would have been apparent that they were washed out had someone looked. I live in Alaska, so the shipping is as much as the prints. These were Christmas gifts, there is NO WAY I'm putting my name on these! How do we fix this?

December 18, 2014 06:35 AM