High contrast prints from Frontier

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Nov 10, 2008
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I did a party open house and took 50 photos under deplorable conditions. Crowded, noisy, green fluorescents in ceiling, and just the pop up flash on my D750. They looked acceptable in Capture one, but my local photofinisher tried two times and the prints look dark and contrasty. He sent them to another store with same results.
I redid the processing and brightened the image until the faces were as bright as possible, then did levels and no other "tricks like curves" or clarity. Printed the fourth try and got acceptable but not great results. Low tones and low middle still crushed, but white clothing was proper. Something is not translating to prints properly for pro looking results.
Thinking today I figured they are using high contrast consumer paper rather than pro paper. Now the question is how to manipulate the photo to lower contrast so they look like they are professional photos. Has someone come up with a way like reverse curve or raising the lower left end of the curve straight up? Or do I just go back to my pro lab which is a longer drive and costs twice as much.
 
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Paper type may make a difference, for instance mat surfaces will generally have a lower D max and less contrast than photo glossy types.

But your description sounds like something other than paper is the problem.
Are you shooting raw?
If so are you able to upload to Dropbox or similar and send me a link and I will have a look?

If you only shot JPEG then recovery may be less than stellar, but may be possible. There are some tricks to taming high contrast that you could try, but no miracles to recover data lost at time of capture
 
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They are raw only processed in Capture One. I have used this lab for years and always got good results, but this is the first time for Cap One. Previously I used Photoshop not LR. I think I may try to try some in PS + ACR as it seems to have given a more natural and softer image.

The images have always been done on luster finish Fuji. When I printed at home I used Fuji Luster and Kodak RC37 & 74 . I have had this problem for decades when I tried to use consumer labs except for this. The paper was the problem with others. I also used Advanced Imaging in Lisle Illinois and they use pro Kodak paper. I order the economy prints where I match to their published proof corrections, I forget the technical term. Always got great prints.
 
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In the past we’re the files submitted srgb vs rgb? Had a lab try to print some images one time and they were terrible blamed the lab but after a couple reprints discovered that the lab only printed srgb but I had submitted rgb. Once file converted prints were fine.
 
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They are raw only processed in Capture One. I have used this lab for years and always got good results, but this is the first time for Cap One. Previously I used Photoshop not LR. I think I may try to try some in PS + ACR as it seems to have given a more natural and softer image.

The images have always been done on luster finish Fuji. When I printed at home I used Fuji Luster and Kodak RC37 & 74 . I have had this problem for decades when I tried to use consumer labs except for this. The paper was the problem with others. I also used Advanced Imaging in Lisle Illinois and they use pro Kodak paper. I order the economy prints where I match to their published proof corrections, I forget the technical term. Always got great prints.
OK, you may wish to think of it this way. If you are working with a calibrated monitor and you are soft proofing using the correct icc profile then you should get a close print to screen match.

So the problem may be workflow in Capture One, which may become obvious when you try ACR + PS.

I do not give credence to the term Kodak professional paper. It is really just a marketing hype word along with the term giclee printing. Papers and types can be very different of course

A good lab following sound colour management practice would supply and encourage you to use a specific ICC profile for your chosen paper type for their printer. To use this you would soft proof with the profile applied then save the file with the profile embedded to the lab. Other labs may ask you to send sRGB, but this is not colour managed.

If you had sent the lab an image with an incorrect embedded profile e.g. Adobe RGB or Prophoto when they expected sRGB or an embedded ICC profile then this could be the issue you experienced. However the embedded profile type should have been checked and spotted by the lab technician prior to printing
 
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OK, you may wish to think of it this way. If you are working with a calibrated monitor and you are soft proofing using the correct icc profile then you should get a close print to screen match.

So the problem may be workflow in Capture One, which may become obvious when you try ACR + PS.

I do not give credence to the term Kodak professional paper. It is really just a marketing hype word along with the term giclee printing. Papers and types can be very different of course

A good lab following sound colour management practice would supply and encourage you to use a specific ICC profile for your chosen paper type for their printer. To use this you would soft proof with the profile applied then save the file with the profile embedded to the lab. Other labs may ask you to send sRGB, but this is not colour managed.

If you had sent the lab an image with an incorrect embedded profile e.g. Adobe RGB or Prophoto when they expected sRGB or an embedded ICC profile then this could be the issue you experienced. However the embedded profile type should have been checked and spotted by the lab technician prior to printing
Pro paper is lower contrast and saturation, I have used both when I printed color at home. Not marketing hype.
I used to use a a pro lab, ACR + photoshop, and did profiles. Pics were wonderful
 
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Pro paper is lower contrast and saturation, I have used both when I printed color at home. Not marketing hype.
I used to use a a pro lab, ACR + photoshop, and did profiles. Pics were wonderful
Sorry it is really marketing hype. Just because a so-called 'Pro' paper exhibits lower contrast and saturation than others or indeed higher contrast and saturation does not make it professional.

Bear in mind also that papers for digital printing maybe either conventional Ag halide types or designed for Dye or Pigment inks. There are differences and preferences and also claims made about archival permanence that may not hold up in reality. To which paper type are you referring?

Fuji and Kodak both produce "professional quality" papers as do Epson, Canon etc etc. I think Endura and Crystal respectively used by Kodak and Fuji. Should you really wish to delve a little deeper into the claims about longevity etc you could do far worse than look at WIlhelm Research work
http://www.wilhelm-research.com/

Happy to show you why if you care to name the paper from Kodak and as long as access available to the profile.
 
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