After a print review, all my pictures turned out to be too dark and dull. How should such a picture be edited, say on a picture editing software like Lightroom?

These are images that have been already edited to look almost right atleast on screen. I'm not sure but do I need to further increase the blacks, shadows and vibrance so that the pictures look better on print (this is what I think)?

  • This is really difficult to answer because it is so broad, job dependent, and printer dependent. What works for one print provider may be horribly wrong for another print provider. In short, you adjust based on the proof you got....
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


All you need to do to preview your photos correctly on your screen is use a print profile.

I have always done this in Photoshop (and if you have Lightroom, you probably have Photoshop too).

Step 1: Choose your Paper

You need to know exactly what paper you're going to be printing on (brand, style, thickness....everything).

Here's the paper I use to print my photos.

choose your photo paper

Step 2: Download the ICC (or profile) for that paper

Usually, the manufacturer's website will have ICC downloads available for each of their products.

Here's what that looks like for the Ilford paper that I selected.

Note: You need to know what exact printer your photos are going to be printed on.

Choose paper and printer

Step 3: In Photoshop, Assign a Profile to your Image

With your photo open, go to edit > assign profile.

Now from the dropdown, choose the ICC profile that you downloaded.

Note: You need to install the ICC profile on your computer before you will see it in the dropdown. If you have installed the ICC and still don't see it, restart your Adobe Application.

choose your profile

The Result

Here's my image before the profile is applied.

before color profile

And here's the same image after my profile is applied.

after profile applied

As you can see, with my profile applied, my image has become very dark and the coloring looks odd. When you apply your profile to your images, you'll probably notice the same thing.

Once you have this preview on, you'll be able to make the adjustments you need to get the print that you want. :)

  • 1
    Thanks! There happens to be a similar option on Lightroom too!
    – Polisetty
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 20:10
  • @Polisetty oh good! I thought there might be. Glad you found it. :) Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 21:03
  • 6
    Note that the printer profile will correct for the quirks of the printer & paper but not for your screen. Unless your monitor is calibrated, your screen is likely to be bright and blue compared to a neutral device, so you might still see some discrepancies in printed proofs (likely, they will be a bit too dark and too yellow compared to your screen). Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 23:57

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