Prints from respected local shop came out looking like spray tans

Discussion in 'Printing' started by imahawki, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. imahawki

    imahawki Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 12, 2014
    Was hoping to get some feedback before I take some prints back to the retailer.

    I printed several images from this gallery ( at my local camera shop. They are a good shop in my opinion with a lot of tenured professionals working in sales and their photo finishing department. As you can see from the gallery, these were processed for a specific look. They have some split toning and I've clipped the blacks and whites in the tone curve... gives it a bit of a vintage feel IMO. Processing was done on a 27" iMac in Lightroom 5.

    When I got the prints back they were super blotchy. They highlight areas look fine but the other areas of their skin are dark, orangey, and the transition from highlight to skin tone is not smooth. They look like very bad spray tans. The image below is the worst. My daughter looks ill. The undertones are very blue and she looks almost veiny and very blotchy. I'm at work so I can't try to take a picture of an actual print but hopefully I'm describing it well.

    One thing I realized when I saw the prints is they do not have a checkbox on their site to say like "no color correction" but they have a comments box. In the past I've said no color correction (when and my first reaction was maybe they tried to color correct the overall image and it messed up the skin.

    I am going to take the prints and the digital files in to the shop but I wanted a second opinion. When you look at these on your monitors do you see a problem (i.e. are you like, "yeah, I can see why the prints came out bad") or do they look like they should print OK?

  2. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014

    To be honest comparing the picture here and the same one in the link you provided they both look about the same on my Calibrated monitor, although it is a Samsung Monitor and it only just covers sRGB, could it be your System is using a much wider colour space so you are seeing more than your printing service can print, because most printing services also only use sRGB, unless they claim different.

  3. m43happy

    m43happy Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2012
    That images looks fine to me. :confused:
  4. imahawki

    imahawki Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 12, 2014
    The images are the same... what's different is how bad the prints look. I was just wondering if someone might look at it and say one way or the other if they thought the images looked splotchy in digital form.
  5. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Real Name:
    Prints and color monitors are 2 different display mediums; paper print uses reflective light to show the image to the viewer which is subjected to metamarism, while your computer color monitor uses transmissive light to show the image which may look more vibrant and have more fidelity. Ask your printer what type of light source will this print be used to be shown with for public display? For example; a print might look fine under incandescant light, but look blotchy under different types of flourescent lighting especially those energy efficient ones that replaces the older type incandescant light which while look similar in color temperature through your naked eyes can cause wierd banding effects on prints.
  6. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    looks fine on my retina mbp
    take yer laptop in and show them it and the print
  7. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    are you using Profoto rgb color space? that can through a wrench in printing. You'll see reds, magenta's and yellows especially if you ask for no color correction.
  8. imahawki

    imahawki Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 12, 2014
    I'm not using any custom color space but as mentioned I didn't ask for no color correction, which I usually would. I've called the shop and they said bring the prints in and the digital files on a memory card. So they are willing to help. I just thought it might be worth asking...
  9. jonbrisbincreative

    jonbrisbincreative Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 30, 2014
    I've also had some issues with a respected printer sending me prints that had an unhealthy-looking pall in the skin tones. In one case it was so bad I had to do some re-touching and send them another set of prints. I also have been telling them no color correction but I'm thinking that the next batch I will not do that and let them color-correct it how they see fit. Other than that I don't know what to do about it, really.

    I've been using all the different color spaces to try and "fix" it. The printer uses sRGB, I know that. I've been using Adobe or ProPhoto locally and converting to sRGB before uploading through ROES. Maybe I should set the camera to sRGB to being with? I've been using a wider color space because I generally like to use B&W if I have a choice. Sadly many people expect their portraits to be in color these days and I can't get away with simply ditching the color altogether. :)
  10. imahawki

    imahawki Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 12, 2014
    This is the only issue I've had with this printer, even with portraits. I'll let you know what they say
  11. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Well, you have to use a color space. And if you ask for no correction and you have your final files in profoto rgb (I've switched it myself by accident), and ask for no correction you will gets some strange colors, most labs don't print from photoshop they have other programs they use specifically for their printers some which can not print higher gamuts. Even if you do ask for correction sometimes they don't check the output vs input as well as they should at busy times of year.

    I keep everything set at Adobe RGB, all labs I use take that color space, almost none will bother with profoto rgb, some will bring it into PS to fix it, but at busy seasons don't expect that. You should even make sure all your programs are using the same color space, sometimes when you update a program a color space preference will get reset too.
  12. imahawki

    imahawki Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 12, 2014
    My color space is whatever Lightroom defaults to. Likely Adobe RGB. I'll check when I get home later this weekend. I appreciate all the information and sharing of experience. Should help troubleshoot.
  13. imahawki

    imahawki Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 12, 2014
    In Lightroom I only see two places to set color space. One is for external editing (which is set to ProPhoto RGB) and the other is in the export dialog which is set to sRGB. But neither of those settings impacts what I see on my screen. Is there something else I should look for?
  14. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    I've always had variations when printing in a lab but somehow my uncalibrated Epson seems to do just fine, and the prints are sharper. True they won't last as long, but I guess I can always reprint.
  15. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    What's your camera's color space? I suggest you get those all to match ASAP, in camera, and all your software. If you do any editing outside of LR, including plug-ins it will change the embedded color space to profoto rgb, then if you export the file out as a jpeg to be printed it will change it again to srgb. Your computer will see the file as intended as it can read the embedded color space and will correct what you see(although most monitors can't even see the color gamut of profoto, so once again, turn that off it's useless for us at this point in time), a print won't do that. Although if you used a plug in, and printed right from the LR file without exporting to a hard disk published collection which what I expect happened, you sent the lab a profoto file which most labs can't read correctly onto their printers which usually gives a weird red, orange magenta shift.

    I'm guessing the back of your paper on the print says Kodak :) I know for sure that Kodak machines won't correctly print a profoto file.

    My suggestion is when using a lab, use adobe rgb.
  16. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Real Name:
    Bruce Foreman
    Well, all of my monitors are "eyeball" calibrated using a few calibration images with both greyscales and color scales. The lab I use is MPIX (, as Millers Professional Color Service they once turned me down for an account in the 1980's because my studio lab sales were not high enough. They were very selective. When labs were falling like leaves, they made the necessary changes and began accepting work from everyone.

    But the amazing thing is they have not dropped their standards and I get excellent prints from them with beautiful skin tones.

    They do operate Millers Professional Color Service as a professional division but these days (being retired) I just upload to My main need these days is occasional display prints, I order 16x20 mounted on board. They often print the same day the files are uploaded and prints are usually shipped the next day or the day after by FedEX.

    They do have a "do not color correct" box but I just leave that unchecked and let their techs have full rein. All my color spaces from camera to PhotoShop Elements are sRGB.

    I used to have Wallace Studios of San Angelo which started a chain of 38 studios and a lab (Wallace Color Labs) so when I acquired the studio I also inherited account #1 with Wallace Labs. After just a few orders, their chief color tech knew just what I wanted in my prints and even after I went from the studio to a staff position as a civilian photographer for the air force I kept that account #1. Wallace Labs could not make a graceful transition to the digital age and went under.

    I get as good or better prints from MPIX.