Digital prints that look like what you see on your monitor:

If you would like us to make prints from your digital files after you have manipulated them in Adobe Photo Shop, it’s extremely important that you calibrate your monitor. That way the prints will look much the way the images do on your monitor.

If you don’t have a monitor calibrator such as a Spyder, ask us for a print made from the DIMA color control image. Our reference print will be made using no color corrections at all. You can pick up a reference print at the store and it's free.

Download this file:

Open the test file on your computer and adjust the color of your monitor to match the control print.

Leave the monitor set that way. Now when you adjust your prints to look good on the calibrated monitor, what you see will look very close to what the lab’s printer produces – but not exactly the same. You view prints by reflected light, instead of seeing the illuminated dots of the monitor.

When manipulating your images in Photo Shop, be sure to use the sRGB color space.

Save your images in RGB color mode, 8 bits per channel jpg files, with a quality setting of 9 or higher.

The color of light changes as the day progresses. At high noon, and in shade, light is more blue than at other times. High elevations and snow have more blue tints because the atmosphere doesn’t filter out the UV light.

Additional things you should be aware of:

Monitors and TV sets, like slide film, can display a much higher dynamic range (range of brightness) than any paper print. A good monitor has a brightness range or dynamic range of about 500:1. Pure white is 500 times brighter than pure black.

RA color paper has a dynamic range of about 30:1. That means pure white reflects 30 times as much light as the blackest tone possible. Glossy paper has a higher dynamic range than matte paper.

If you lighten your prints to include shadow detail, the highlights may be “blown out.” That means the brighter areas are so bright that they merge together as paper white. If the image is printed dark enough to show detail in the brighter areas, the shadows may be blocked up. Everything that is dark blends together, although you were able to see differences on your monitor.

In our lab, which is primarily a "people" lab, we make manual adjustments assuming that the faces of people are your most important photo element. If you prefer we make no adjustments at all, just tell us so.