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I photograph and colour correct oil painting photographs

I shoot in Adobe RGB and print on a latex printer with the company's ICC profile (I don't know if I have to embed it into my photos or the print software, ONYX, converts it). The image is darker than my image. I realize I shouldn't be basing my corrections off the monitor but comparing sample to piece just makes it into guess work at this point. It's driving me insane because I know I've properly white balanced my photos and even calibrated a colour checker for my images. My boss assures me the latex printers are calibrated correctly but I seem to be constantly wrestling with magenta (most egregiously in my highlights) and darker overall tones in my prints compared to my image.

Why are my images constantly plagued by magenta? How can I use a more calculated approach to my print prep? Do I need to convert/embed anything into my images or does the print software take care of that for me?

I'm lost. Maybe I'm not good enough for this job.

  • Is your monitor calibrated and do you preview the print color? – joojaa Jul 28 at 16:40
  • Your title & question body appear unrelated. Anyway, welcome to the 'fun' world of colour matching. You say you are using a colour checker… but is your screen properly calibrated too? To truly match screen to print you would need not only a colorimeter but also a spectrophotometer. See xrite.com/blog/colorimeter-vs-spectrophotometer – Tetsujin Jul 28 at 16:40
  • Monitors are not calibrated. Director has no plans of spending anymore money on gear (had to fight tooth and nail for the tripod and colorchecker). @joojaa Are you refering to previewing the colour digitally or printing samples? Because I print 12x24' samples to compare. – Eric from Toronto Jul 28 at 16:49
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    If you can not calibrate your monitor then andy adjustmen you do is just guessing. A hardware calibrator is cheap compared tp several misprints. YOu can try to lend one for now. – joojaa Jul 28 at 16:52
  • I'd be looking for another job - one where management will support your endeavours, not make your task impossible then blame you. – Tetsujin Jul 28 at 17:13
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Maybe I'm not good enough for this job.

Probably the ones not good enough are the printing company you choosed.

My boss assures me the latex printers are calibrated correctly

Is your boss, your boss, or the boss of the printing company? Any printer that wants to deliver a professional output must be calibrated, any monitor must. And it must be calibrated for the specific conditions the work is facing.

Make a simple test. Prepare a grayscale gradient on RGB color mode and send a print. Drop any color profile embedded. You can also send another test using adobe 1998 profile.

If it turns magenta there is no doubt. The printer is NOT calibrated.


What can you do?

Make sure your own monitor is actually calibrated, and the only way to do it is... actually calibrating it.

You have two brands, Xrite and Data color, and several models to choose from.

Then:

  1. Show the tests to the printing company. But to someone in charge, not the cashier.

The process of calibrating needs a series of print and measure cycles, but each correction must be installed on the computer managing the printer, so they can apply it. This is primordial on printers that primarily uses an RGB file. Most digital printers do this.

  1. You could prepare an "inversed" curves to counter the exceed magenta, but if you try to make a professional workflow this is not the way to do it.

  2. Change to a more serious provider that actually has the printer calibrated and tells the customers what profiles to use.

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