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How to Avoid Dark Print: Using the Mac Extension

How to Avoid Dark Print: Dark print/photos can be a result of several different factors, including: Photographic Lighting, Monitor Brightness, Contrasting Backgrounds, and More. We're here to help you achieve beautifully printed photos!


Avoiding dark print is important for both novice photographers and experts. Having the knowledge on how dark prints occur will help users create successful and beautiful projects you can be proud of!


There are three main reasons your photobook can have the appearance of being printed dark:

1) Monitor brightness, retina displays, and calibration

Dark prints, overall, are mostly due to perception caused by the brightness and the color profile of all monitors. Especially retina monitors that come with brighter screens out of the box. Most monitors are set up to 300 cd/m2 in brightness, which means that images will look brilliant on screen, but will actually be printed darker in the physical product.

When the monitor is bright, the dark areas are brighter too, resulting in the subjective effect of opening up the shadows. 

Monitors also emit an RGB light that has an additive color model. This will give greater dynamic range, but, luminously also impedes our perception of true color representation. 

In simple and direct terms, monitors are intentionally making images more pretty so it looks better to us. Comparing a physical print directly with your monitor will result in misinterpreted color/exposure differences..

How do I fix this?

Calibrating your monitor, turning down the brightness and ensuring that you're using a more applicable color profile will improve your true tone and color match to the physical print. 


2) Photographic lighting

Photographic lighting plays a big part in perception in printed photos. Backlit, toplit, overcast and even snow/clouds will catch the light and focus of your camera if it uses auto-focus.

When not focused properly, the photo itself will be dark. If using an iPhone, you can see how it attempts to focus in more light driven areas. Intentionally focusing it back to a face by touching the screen, for example, will improve your lighting.

Additionally, if you're using a brighter display, it will enhance shadows and create a misrepresentation of the lighting in the photo itself.

How do I fix this?

Compare photos to other photos you're using in your book. Do they appear darker? If so, that same appearance will print. Try reviewing pages to other pages to see if the change in pages didn't result in multiple darker photos next to each other because they all looked the same.

How do you get the same effect? Use Apple's Round Trip Editing to improve brightness and tone with Apple's Photo Editor, or even more efficiently, edit the photos prior to importing them into your project. This will reduce your project having to update each time you leave Mimeo Photos to edit.


3) Using dark backgrounds in your photobook, cards, or calendars

Dark backgrounds cause our eyes to perceive anything on top of them to be darker, . 

How do I fix this?

Avoid darker backgrounds or lighten your photos accordingly to make up for the change in perception.

For more, review on how to Use Round Trip Editing 


If you are using Mimeo Photos through the web, and not through our Mac extension, these editing applications are a great alternative:

  1. VSCO - Check out our blog on how to edit using VSCO

  2. Fotor

  3. Pixlr

  4. GIMP

Click here for even more editing apps on your phone


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