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You work hard and photograph your favorite subject…you’re now ready to print so you google “photo printers” to print your pictures, mugs, maybe a tote bag or two. You send the photo off to the printer only to find in the mail your picture is not the color you saw on your monitor and/or darker than what you wanted. Oh yeah…it’s happened to me too!

I read from PPA that at least 42 percent of people do not print their photographs. Ouch! I want to help you change that if you’re one of the statistics. I also figured this would be a good article to write about to save you money and frustration.

All it takes is two steps to get you going…maybe even one!

  • 1. Calibrate the monitor that you’re using to work on to send your pictures to the print shop. If you change your lighting area where your monitor is, you’ll need to calibrate for each lighting situation. Watch the video from the link below, it’s pretty good.

If you’re only using a commercial printer and not printing from home, this is an awesome calibrator. Nowadays it’s the cost of two going out to a nice dinner with drinks and dessert!

If you have a printer and want to print from that, you’ll need more calibration tools like this so you can perfectly match your printer, paper, and monitor. But that’s for another post.



  • 2.  Download Printer Profiles from your printer companies.

Below is Costco’s information, this is a cheap and easy way to print in the US.   These types of companies only print in a smaller color space srgb.  I do have to admit that I’ve had great results just by calibrating my monitor and sending it out to a printer as an srgb. But if I’m printing a professional image or a high-quality print then I download the company’s printer profiles.

Costco’s info:

For a more professional printer you’ll have more to do, but once you get the ball rolling it will be so easy to upload and send out to print.

Here is WhiteWall’s info:

If you don’t understand the online information call them. Most printing companies love to chat (and if they don’t, it’s time to find another company) with you about printing with them.   Usually, the specifications will be about:

File size –  Resolution

File formating

and Color management



Calibrating your monitor is seriously the best thing to do. Now don’t cringe and say, “Hello Janice! I don’t have time for this and it’s too much work!”. If all you’re doing is printing to a commercial printer, then just purchase a calibrator for your monitor.

A tip… if you’re shooting jpg, then your files are usually srgb unless you have changed that setting on your camera. Now for those of you who have more knowledge of file formatting, if you find a company that prints ProPhoto or Adobe RGB then definitely try them out! These profiles have a lot more color to them.  If you’re using a program like Lightroom and Photoshop, definitely download their printer profiles! Just think…once you have them you won’t need to worry about it next time you print.

Here are some companies that I have used and like for those special prints:

White Wall

Black River Imaging

Adorama Pix

If you don’t calibrate your monitor you not only take a chance on color change but also how light or dark the photograph will be. I’m hoping this helps you if you are frustrated with your prints. If you have questions please ask me below.

Cheers to commercial printing,

PS. If you would like to learn how to print from home check out this short video for more details.

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