Zeinab Hashemi
13th of July

Why printed photos are slightly darker? [A visual guide]

When I was an amateur photographer, once I wanted to print one of my portrait photos. I sent the photo to the lab, and when I received it, what I saw was a total failure. The printed photograph was too dark, although I had consumed so much time editing it.

Have you ever had the same issue?

Read this article to be more prepared for your next print!

First, take a look at this unedited photo:

Original unedited photo

Why are photos darker in print?

Easy. The source of the view is lit from behind when you see the photo on the monitor. So obviously, it is brighter than a picture printed on paper, which is seen with ambient light from surroundings.

If the brightness of your monitor is high, it is more likely to have darker printed photos. So dimming your monitor until it reaches the brightness of paper can be a temporary solution.

But if you have so many photos to print, this simple solution may misguide you sometimes and make you over-brighten your images.

Below you can see a poorly edited photo and how it may look on print:

non=professionally edited
over-edited photo on print

Can you spot the differences in colors and brightness?

So what to do?

You can calibrate your monitor to have the most accurate brightness and colors. See this article about calibrating your monitor and its benefits.

If you don't want to edit your photo so much or don't want it to be artistic, You can always rely on automatic photo enhancement tools. Even if you are a professional photographer you can use them to make your photo editing process faster and more productive.

These tools are growing fast, and they use state-of-the-art methods and algorithms such as AI image processing.

Below you can find the exact unedited photo enhanced by Viesus:

The exact photo enhanced by Viesus

Most of these photo enhancers are planned to improve images just as much as they need.

For example, Viesus Photo enhancer does not over-brighten photos. Instead, the "Global Brightness Correction" slightly elevates the whole photo's brightness. In addition, its "Local Brightness Correction" feature recognizes sky, vegetation, faces and adjusts each of them separately. This is the printed photo which has been enhanced by Viesus:

Viesus enhancement: Before & After

As you see, Viesus algorithm is compatible with print, so use it, print your photos, and don't worry!

Try Viesus online photo enhancer here.

Practice makes perfect!

Printed photographs are valuable and lasting, so don't give up if your first prints turn out not desirable. Just try and practice.

You'll know how to prepare your photos for printing after a few tries. At last, "excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle said.