Printing poor quality with HP

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Cheryl

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I really hope someone can help me. This issue has me going crazy. I have imported my photos to Lightroom, I have selected a photo without making any changes, I print this photo on an HP C728' Photosmart printer (Windows Vista os), and my photos are dark and do not match what shows on the screen at all. I print the same picture using Adobe Photoshop elements 6.' and the color is great and matches what is on my monitor so it has something to do with Lightroom.

I have tried everything, called all support help and they just keep blaming each other. I will be forever indebted if someone could help me with this.

Thanks!!!!!
 

billg71

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Cheryl, I still have the driver installed for my HP 736' so I'll take a stab at your problem. Hopefully, there's not too much difference in the two so what I'm relating will make sense. If I'm repeating stuff you're already aware of, I apologize in advance but I just want to make this a thorough explanation. I went through a lot of hair-pulling getting prints from my HP and want to make sure I pass on all the info I learned during the painful process....

You didn't mention what paper you're using so for simplicity I'll assume it's an HP paper. When you installed your printer, it installed profiles for the HP papers and associated them with the printer. If you go to the Printers and Faxes folder, right-click on your printer and choose Properties, you'll get a dialog box for your printer. At the top it'll say something like HP Photosmart D72'' series Properties. Click on the Color Management tab, it'll show you a list of profiles associated with your printer. Your paper profiles will be named something like HP PS D61''_71''_73''-Advanced Photo. Don't worry about the names or selecting them, as long as they're listed you're OK. If they're not listed you'll need to re-install your printer software. Close the Properties box and the Printer and Faxes window.

Now go to LR, select your photo and go to the Print module. Scroll down the right panel until you get to the Print Job Header at the bottom. If you don't see any choices, click the triangle and open it up. Uncheck Draft Mode Printing and Print Resolution. Under Color management, click the triangles to the right of Profile:. This will open up a list of all paper profiles visible under LR. If you don't see your HP paper profile, click Other and it will list all the paper profiles on your system. Find your HP paper profiles and click the box next to each, this will make them visible in the LR drop-down. Hit Close and select the profile for the paper you're using.

Now click the Page Setup button, that will bring you to a dialog box where you can select your printer, page size and layout. Make these choices and then click on the Properties tab for your printer.

Now things get a little sticky... The HP driver has an infuriating habit of changing settings you've already made when you change something else. You'll come up in the Printing Shortcuts tab, ignore this and click on the Features tab. It's been quite a while since I used this printer so I may be wrong about the right order to do things, but here's what I remember: First, select your paper size. Click the Borderless box if that's how you want to print or uncheck it if not. Your Paper Source should be Main Tray for 5x7 or larger, Automatically Select for 4x6's that go in the top holder. Select Best or Maximum dpi for Print quality, then choose Paper Type, set it for Other Photo Papers since you'll be selecting the paper profile from LR. Hit the radio button for Print At Actual Size, go to the bottom and turn Photofix off.

Now go back to the top and click on the Color tab, select Print In Color and under Color Management, select Application Managed Colors.

Now go back to the Features tab and make sure nothing has changed. If it has, reset it, check the Color settings again, check the Features settings one last time. Then hit OK and you're back in LR.

Before you print, go over to the left panel and hit the Add button at the bottom. This will save all your settings and lots of time and aggravation by not having to go through the whole process again next time you want to print something. Name your profile with at least the size, layout and paper type you've set up and it will show up under User Templates. Then the next time you want to print on the same paper at this size, you just have to select this template.

Now hold down the Alt key, hit Print, say a little prayer and wait a while...... :cheesy:

Just to repeat, I found the HP driver notorious and infuriating for changing other settings when you change paper type, size or quality. It seems Hellbent on making you use Photofix and ColorSmart if you make any changes to any of the other driver settings. So you'll be doing some back and forth between the tabs until you get it set where it should be. Just be sure to make that one last check before hitting OK and you'll be fine.

Best of luck! Let us know how you do....
 
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Cheryl

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Thank you so much for spending your time to help me resolve this issue. I really appreciate it.

Here is what I have come up with:

When I go to the Color Management for my HP 728' Photosmart Printer I get these Color Management choices: Colorsmart/sRGB; Adobe RGB (1998). That is it, only two choices. I am using Vista and still getting used to it. I was unable to find my printer folder through control panel or explorer so I came up with this information through the HP Solution Center which I believe you are familiar with since you have used HP. If going through the folder is the only way to come up with these paper options you mention, would you be able to walk me through how to find my printer folder through explorer in Vista. So for now, all I have found are the two color management options I mentioned above.

After going to Lightroom I only have the Manage by Printer profile option, clicking on other I have no options there. Again, after contacting HP support, they say there is no way of being able to pull up the profiles for paper individually since their software takes care of that for you.

In the Page Setup dialogue box, under Color, I selected Print in Color but I do not have the option to select Application Managed Colors. I have Photofix turned off, as well as everything else you mentioned. After printing my picture again, it still came out the same; dark and lifeless.

I have tried redownloaded the drivers from the HP site, but the separate paper profiles still do not show up anywhere that I can find.

What now? Thanks again for your time. I really appreciate this and hope we are able to resolve this frustrating issue. I really would like to be able to use Lightroom.
 

Microscopia

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Cheryl,

Usually when prints turn out dark as you stated, it's because they are being double managed /processed, once by the application (in this case Lightroom) and also by the printer itself. You did not state whether the Manage by Printer option in the LR panel was actually ticked. If not, then tick it, and set the resolution option to something like 3''dpi and let the printer manage the profile and see what happens.
 

Microscopia

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Cheryl,
I forgot to mention in my last reply that the printer properties may also be accessed from the LR Print Settings tab next to the Page Setup tab you mentioned, but you may have already tried that to access the printer properties, which in turn should give you the choice between the different types of colour management, but make certain one of those is selected. You should also be able to see a selection for Application Managed Colours if you want to go down that route.
 
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Cheryl

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Lawrence,
Thanks for your help on this issue. I do have the choice of color management being the 'Manage by Printer', however, I do not see a tick to check. I have the resolution checked but can you tell me where to place a check for the color management.

Also, I have tried everything I can think of in the Print and Page settings. The 'Application Managed Color', I don't have this option. I have Colorsmart/sRGB selected in the color management of my printer settings. I only have two options, this one and Adobe RBW (1998). I have tried printing with both selections.

Any other ideas? I do think you have something there about the pictures being dark because both softwares are trying to manage the color. Do you know how to turn off the color management on a new HP printer and let lightroom do the color managing. This would be my preference.
 

billg71

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Cheryl, if the printer driver doesn't install the profiles on the system you're not going to be able to color manage outside the printer. HP doesn't make its consumer printers photographer-friendly, they're designed for the average user who just wants to pop in a CD, plug in a printer and print a 4x6 or 5x7.

Since you only have Managed by Printer showing in LR's Profile list, that's what you'll use. Use the Page Setup tab in LR to set paper size and layout, click on Properties for the printer and use the Colorsmart/sRGB option. Set your paper type in the same window, select Best Quality or Maximum DPI, turn Photo Fix off and you're set to go.

If you're serious about printing you'll want to consider adding a good photo printer. That will come with drivers to accommodate advanced printing options and color management. But for now it looks like you're stuck with letting the printer take its best shot.
 
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Cheryl

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Bill,
Thanks for the input. I shoot with a Nikon D2''. What printer would you suggest I purchase to give me the absolute best possible prints.
 

billg71

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Cheryl;6'14 said:
Bill,
Thanks for the input. I shoot with a Nikon D2''. What printer would you suggest I purchase to give me the absolute best possible prints.

The answer is, as usual, "it all depends". ;)

How much do you want to spend? How big a print do you want to make? How many? Do you want to make prints longer than standard sheet papers? Will you use it every day, once a week, or a few times a year? Do you want to print primarily color or black and white?

There are lots of really good photo printers available right now from $5''-6'' to the home-equity-line-of-credit price range but choosing which one depends a lot on what you need and how much you'll use it.

So you have to do some thinking about what you want to do, then plan your purchase around those goals.

Take a look around the HP, Epson and Canon websites. You'll want a photo or pro quality printer capable of accepting at least 11" wide paper, more likely 13". When you go to the Epson site, check out the Professional Imaging section. I'm sure Canon and HP have something similar. See what's available and how it relates to your needs.

Then get back to us, I'm sure several someones here will own one or two of the models you're interested in and we're always happy to offer free advice! :cheesy: Just remember, you gets what you pays for....;);)

Happy hunting!
 

Microscopia

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Cheryl, I think Bill has answered it well!

With respect to a decent printer, I can certainly recommend the HP Photosmart Pro 918' which works well with the Nikon D2'' NEF Files and prints well direct from Lightroom. I usually let the printer manage the processing as the manufacturers know their own printer and paper profiles better than anyone else. This particular HP printer is also excellent for print permanence with its Vivera pigment-based ink system when used with both their own brand HP advanced photo-papers and other brand art papers like the Hahnemuhle (visit www.wilhelm-research.com). It's also excellent for B&W photo printing with its 2no. blacks & 1 no. Grey cartridges. I have churned thousands of prints out with no problems from this machine.
Happy hunting!
 

lowolf

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Hp normally does not provide ICC paper profiles and one has to Remember LR is using PRO Photo for color management , you have to tell LR to do no color management and it should print fine.
 

Microscopia

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Lowolf,
The HP profiles are provided, at least for the HP Pro B91'' series which I use. These profiles include for both their own paper and those of the compatible Hahnemuhle art papers. These can be accessed from the LR print panel by selecting the other option. As stated previously, I prefer to let the printer software do the management, then you know it's correct; so as we both agree for Cheryl's benefit, make certain that the LR print panel has the Managed by Printer option highlighted.
 

Microscopia

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Thanks Geoff,
That is a useful upgrade. Users were unable to interpret the coded errors and those captioned borderless prints required a small border set to prevent the text overlay being cropped!
 
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Thanks Geoff,
That is a useful upgrade. Users were unable to interpret the coded errors and those captioned borderless prints required a small border set to prevent the text overlay being cropped!
It is a pleasure!! Thanks.:)
 
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ClarkEE

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I have almost exactly the same problem with my epson stylus photo R24'.
When i export to Elements, prints are OK if a little dark. But in Lightroom they are very dark.
In colour management dialogue box my printer is there, but no papers. Nothing but the printer under "other"
If i use manage by printer, should Gamma be the same as monitor 2.2? (Calibrated yesterday with spyder 3.)
 

billg71

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I have almost exactly the same problem with my epson stylus photo R24'.
When i export to Elements, prints are OK if a little dark. But in Lightroom they are very dark.
In colour management dialogue box my printer is there, but no papers. Nothing but the printer under "other"
If i use manage by printer, should Gamma be the same as monitor 2.2? (Calibrated yesterday with spyder 3.)

If you have no paper profiles listed under "Other", then your printer didn't install any with the driver. Most consumer-grade printers don't, so your only option is to let the printer manage colors and select the proper paper in the driver. Or make your own profiles.

The problem is(and someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that Lightroom, when told to let the printer manage the color, sends out a file to the printer in the ProPhotoRGB or AdobeRGB color space. So you have to have the ability in the printer driver to select ProPhoto or Adobe RGB as the profile for the input file. The default in your printer is probably Epson Standard sRGB, so your prints come out dark. See if you have a choice in the driver under Mode(or the equivalent in the R24') for Adobe RGB and try that. That should get you closer. If you don't then you're pretty much stuck with printing from PSE.

The reason your prints are OK from Elements is probably that you're running the default color settings which is most likely sRGB for a working space. The printer is looking for an sRGB file, the program is sending an sRGB file, all's right with the world.

P.S. This is exactly the problem I was describing in This Thread

HTH,
 
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