One thing I still struggle with is using night photos in advertisements. I tend to avoid it but sometimes its necessary or requested.

I find it difficult on glossy and even worse on a newsprint to work with any sort of night photo.

What kind of prep and/or adjustments can be taken to a night shot to make sure it doesn't come out looking too dark, flat, hard to see, kinda lost on the paper.

Say something like this using a photo from Unsplash for a quick example, no affiliation at all with Milwaukee.

enter image description here

Or again with a photo from Unsplash:

enter image description here

When actually printing these can quickly look overly dark and muddy.

  • Can you post a photo that is representative of the ones that are troubling you? As it stands, there's any number of things to watch out for. Also B&W and/or color? Dec 10, 2015 at 18:15
  • @FirstDraft edited some quick mock ups
    – Ryan
    Dec 10, 2015 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


As all printing issues.

a) The first step is to calibrate your monitor.

b) Use the apropiate color prifile. Do not use other that is not suitable for the type of paper or system.

When actually printing these can quickly look overly dark and muddy.

Here are two different issues here.

  • Dark: Correct it with curves.

  • Muddy: Correct them with saturation and contrast.

As an aditional note, be sure you have a White point. There are some photos that could not have a real white point, but in general terms you should look for one on this images, to asure you have contrast, then you need to decide to what part of the sky you want to see as daylight and where your deep night black starts.

This is a matter of taste, but you need to learn to read the RGB values and the CMYK values and then decide if you need to adjust a bit more the curves.


It sounds like the problem may lie with the printing. You may need to seek a vendor with a higher-quality printer. Good quality printing on glossy paper should not result in images that are dull and low-contrast. You may need to find a commercial printer that can print at a higher density.

In the mean time, verify that your image is CMYK and not RGB. This can make a significant impact on printing.

Use photoshop to tweak the image (higher contrast, brighter, levels, etc.) to get the ideal look - bright screens tend to show up details better than prints, so keep that in mind when editing.

  • 1
    Thanks for the contribution and welcome to GraphicDesign! Let us know if you have any questions about how the site works Mar 29, 2016 at 19:04

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