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Epson Stylus Photo color problem
To answer the first question, no the monitor is not calibrated, but I don't think that is the issue. I just printed a test of the same photo from Windows Photo Gallery, and the brightness was much better. Not perfect, but I can see that being a monitor calibration issue. In order to get similar prints out of PSE, I had to adjust the brightness of the image but about +45. The on-screen image looks hideous, but the print in much better.
I think that I have some sort of color management issues, but I am stumped. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Each time I print, I go into the printer settings and turn off all printer color management, so that PSE is doing it, and they are not arguing with each other. I also make sure that the paper type is set correctly, etc.
Re: Epson Stylus Photo color problem
Unfortunately, Elements is a bit different than Photoshop CSx, in that it will only allow working in sRGB or Adobe RGB. Hence, you cannot convert an image to a printer profile prior to printing. This creates some limitations not found in applications with better color management. However, your workflow can provide a good match if you can determine the normal differences between the color gamut of your printer vs sRGB or AdobeRGB. What do I mean? You will end up always correcting certain elements of the image prior to printing. For example, if your prints are always darker and less saturated, then you will always save a final image (renamed of course) for printing that is lighter and more saturated. That is basically all you can do... unless you want to use different software to print.
All of this also works better if you will calibrate your monitor. For $60 you can buy a simple but effective calibration tool, i.e. Spyder 3 Express. It installs in 1 minute and only takes 4 minutes to calibrate and store the new monitor profile. The tool should last the life of your monitor. That's pretty cheap per year.
Another idea is to experiment with the printers' built-in color correction. (This is not standard color management of course, but does work when stuck with no alternative) Often, you can get good results letting the printer make corrections, as the manufacturer has done a good job comparing standard sRGB inputs to output and made very good corrections. They often throw in fixes to known problems that they cannot correct prior to manufacture. Just try it and see what happens.
I recently helped a family member with the same problem. Calibration helped get rid of 75% of the problem. What they were seeing on screen was not even close to reality. Then, they only had to make very small adjustments for the print.
Best of luck !
Re: Epson Stylus Photo color problem
It is not always possible to properly calibrate certain monitors for darkness. For example, if you use DVI on my old Dell monitor, then the Image settings are disabled.
This was a major problem for me with Photoshop CS2, and I also had to up the brightness about 24%. My new monitor is an Eizo ColorEdge CS241W. Many bucks, but makes me much happier. We all need all the happiness we can get before we die.
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