Is it my Photoshop settings ? PBox dark images

grahamab 14 183 England
4 Apr 2009 8:00PM
For a while I have been having issues with 'dark' images from Photobox, despite having the calibriation print, and the images looking great on screen, they arrived dark, so i created an action on F3 so I can use the curves tool to increase the brightness of the images, a little better, but the images seemed to have a darkish cast or just looked drab.
Having read many entries on the forum in regard to calibrations, issues with dark images from PB, (I have 2 laptops and a pc all with the same adobe software) I got thinking about possibly the settings within Photoshop, namely the color mode. Can someone advise me about the following.
The settings are as follows.
Mode : RGB
When I look at the profile 'assign profile' working RGB is selected and also clarifies as sRGB IEC61966-2.1
The profile option is not selected but in the white box its states Adobe RGB (1998)
When I look at the convert to profile tab its says profile is sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Destination space says profile : Working CMYK - U.S. Web coated (Swap) v2

I read that PBox needs sRGB, so should the destination space also be sRGB options ?

Sorry its going on so long, but I recieved 55 prints for an album, and was so disappointed that after all my care in processing, the prints are just too dark and drap looking and I popped to tescos and got three test prints and they were much more sparkling and lighter.
Can anyone shed any light on these profile setting, and indeed should they all be set to sRGB ?

Thanks for having the patience to read this and any help is appreciated.


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Morpyre Plus
15 1.6k 8 Wales
4 Apr 2009 8:20PM
unfortunatly i don't have a cure but i will be interested to see any help you get because i am having similar problems too. my monitors are calibrated properly and in most programs images look fine but in recent weeks i have noticed that when i bring my photo's into photoshop everything looks wrong - the colours look over saturated especially pinks, reds, light green. i also have the dark problem - i set levels, curves etc and have an image i am pleased with but when i do "save for web" option the image looks different to the one on the working space area - can be same when printing; usually have to set printer option to one step brighter than normal.
i have all my adobe settings the same as you - before a month or two ago every image looked fine so gosh only knows what has happened.

peter "morpyre" turner
GlennH 14 1.9k 1 France
4 Apr 2009 8:30PM
The destination space in 'convert to profile' doesn't matter - unless you go ahead and convert to profile. If you're already in the sRGB working space you're okay.

You could really do with a lab that will supply you with a colour profile - then you'd be able to softproof in Photoshop. Without that it's a matter of trial and error (and I've also noticed dark prints from Photobox).
cattyal Plus
14 8.9k 6 England
4 Apr 2009 8:33PM
I can't really help much apart from commenting that I always brighten my images before sending to Photobox - if I don't they come back dark - always have and probably always will.
Kris_Dutson 17 8.2k 1 England
4 Apr 2009 8:36PM
Me too odd the odd occasion I used to use them.
mlewis 15 1.5k United Kingdom
4 Apr 2009 8:56PM
If the prints are too dark then it is likely that your monitor is too bright. My prints from Photobox are fine and I have my monitor brightness set at 120cd/m2.
Kris_Dutson 17 8.2k 1 England
4 Apr 2009 8:59PM
My Spyder must be duff then....

hellsbells8868 11 151 2 Wales
4 Apr 2009 9:36PM
I have issues with my printer, and photobox, we even had the spyder do the calibration and i still have to up the brightness for printing by 15-30 points...

In Novemeber i used Photobox for cards and noticed that there was a greyish cast and they were darker, so for the next batch i lightened them up and although better still that greyish cast, i haven't tried them since..and i haven't tried them for printing other than cards.

My printer (epson r285) also prints slightly dark, i have calibrated my monitor and it but that didnt help the printing issues, still had to tinker with the brightness.
When uploaded to epz, i have the opposite problem, everything is too much lighter than ps, so i really don't know why or what for, i just have to have different versions for web and printing.....i too hope to get an answer lol.....
4 Apr 2009 9:51PM
I have had the same problem with Photobox - yet the same images were fine when printed in a photobook (from - although they are actually in Berlin!) or on my own Epson R265 printer. The next batch, processed in exactly the same way went to Snapfish, mainly because of an introductory offer. Back came bright, high contrast, though perhaps over saturated prints - very clean and sharp. Interestingly Snapfish are part of HP whereas Photobox use, I think, Fuji printers.

bppowell 17 2.2k 2 England
4 Apr 2009 10:05PM
I am another who has had the dark images problem with PhotoBox, we can't all be wrong. If I email or ring they will reprint but it would be better if they had it right in the first place.

When you upload to PB you can preview the image before you order but even if it looks ok on the preview there is still the possibility that it will come back dark.

Making the image a little brighter than you really want is one I will try.

grahamab 14 183 England
4 Apr 2009 10:16PM
Saxon, I take it snapfish is the one used by Truprint ? if so I have sent off for a couple of test prints from them.

Barry, I have already done the brightening bit, having had problems with dark prints before, I sent a few test prints having brightened them using the curve tool I thought I had cracked it, but yet I send of another batch having brighten them, they come back very disappointing, some are so much darker than the upload, but not just that, just dull and drab, this was proved when I popped up to tesco and had 3 images printed from the same images that had been uploaded to Photobox and suprise suprise, much nearer the original and the sparkle was there.
So brightening doesnt seem to cure the problem with every batch.
I have had a lot of people tell me Pbox has deterioriated over the past 6 months image quality wise, but I will await the return of the test prints and make decisions from there.
GlennH 14 1.9k 1 France
5 Apr 2009 6:13AM

Quote: i set levels, curves etc and have an image i am pleased with but when i do "save for web" option the image looks different to the one on the working space area
peter "morpyre" turner

This is because the preview in save for web is not colour-managed - it simulates what the average user will see. Except if you have a particularly wide gamut monitor - in which case the picture will typically look over-saturated, whereas in Photoshop the colour is mapped to your monitor profile.

Graham - sounds like Tescos may be the answer, but soft-proofing is generally the way to get predictable results (you can only do it in the full version of PS AFAIK). It's pretty straightforward if you haven't done it before - a good article here. It refers to PS7, but is still current.
agoreira 16 6.0k Wales
5 Apr 2009 8:39AM

Quote:I am another who has had the dark images problem with PhotoBox, we can't all be wrong.

Agree, it's probably all us that have never have a problem with Photobox that must be wrong! Wink
Strobekid 13 369 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2009 9:48AM
Sorry to hijack the thread, but do the back of their prints come with their watermark, or are they all plain? Thanks
Moey 13 14 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2009 10:29AM
I've had this problem with Photobox too on many occasions... i'm actually looking to order a large Photobook off Blurb at the moment... photographs from a recent wedding... anyone used them before and if so, would you recommend them? Sorry to wander off topic...


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