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    Hi all,

    I am losing my mind and turning to you all to see if you might help me find som answers. I'm a photographer working on a marketing piece in indesign, converted to cmyk, and submitting it to a printer.

    Here's the problem: I have gotten proofs back from 4 different printers and am not happy . My brochure is photo heavy, and I know the cmyk conversion will affect color shifting etc.. but none of the printers gave me, or even had to give me an icc profile. Does that seem strange? Should i from now only work with a printer that has one?

    Secondly , i blew $300 in a rush with one of the printers because it was the best proof out of the 4. Then I did decide to hold off, and once I got the brochures home, was really unhappy with them. Even though I approved the proof, the brochure have a ton of noise in the photos (not evident on other print outs) not sure what that's all about, but overall I should have not approved the color/darkness of the photos. Am I SOL here ? They already hate me because I was rushing them and had so many questions haha, I'm so afraid to say anything and thinking of just eating the cost. 🙁 But it sucks,

    Lastly, I spoke with one other guy who said I should look for a printer who uses an indigo printer, basically a digital offset . Does this sound like the best next step (assuming they actually have an icc profile they can provide?).

    Thanks all, I appreciate any advice!

  • #2
    On the rush print job, If you approved the proof and the prints look like the proof, then you are SOL. The funny thing about some clients who are in a rush...they don't have the time to let the printer do the job right, but they seem to find the time to make them do it over.

    If the printing was done on a digital press, and the quality isn't as good as the proof (ie seems to have a lower line screen) then that is something you can definitely bring up with the printer. The answer still might be, ''You needed this in less than 24 hours so we used the best quality setting that would get it done in that amount of time and still get the finishing done.'' Clients need to understand that printing is still a mechanical process and it can take a lot of time. I do single one-off prints (giant stage drops 16' x 40') that can take 6 to 8 hours each on the press even if run at a reasonably low resolution.

    What it sounds like you need, and don't take this the wrong way, is you need to find a printer willing to work with a photographer. A lot of times photographers tend to expect far better results than some print processes are able to offer. They want superb color control. They want exacting registration. You need to give the printer time to properly balance your photos. An ICC profile is only a starting point and what you see on your monitor, even with the correct profile, is not what you will see in print.

    You might have to be prepared to do multiple proofs at cost. You may want to consider working your images in CMYK if you are seeing drastic changes on conversion from RGB. Personally though, I'd rather a client give me the actual RGB file, so I have a lot more color information when I get it converted to the actual production machine profile. Save as a copy, keeping the original RGB. If you go to a generic or SWOP CMYK, all that color data is gone, never to be found again.

    If you go digital, you may have to pay a premium to run the machine at ultrafine quality (or whatever the highest quality setting is.) The premium is because at such a high quality setting, the machine runs very slowly at a much tighter LPI, taking up a very large slot in the production schedule. As in, it prints so slow, watching grass grow is more exciting.

    As for the Indigo, I've heard rumors that some of the long time photo labs out there are going in that direction, getting rid of silver halide, the quality is that good. That makes me very sad. But it may be a direction for you to explore further. Depending on your brochure though. Make sure any folding you might be doing, on the papers being used, works to your satisfaction.

    Comment


    • #3
      Print driver. Thanks for the reply. And fair enough, I am ready to eat the cost certainly, unfortunate I think I left my proof with them so I can not compare the noise to the prints I received. Ugh.

      I am calling some new places tomorrow. I am not rushing myself this time. I am supposed to be launching a rebrand and wanted to get it out this week, but I definitely need this to be right rather than launch with subpar print materials. Do you know of printers that work with photographers? I did in fact send a couple of the printers RGB files so they could work with them, but my feeling is they didn't really do much to them. Never thought printing could be so complicated!

      Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
      On the rush print job, If you approved the proof and the prints look like the proof, then you are SOL. The funny thing about some clients who are in a rush...they don't have the time to let the printer do the job right, but they seem to find the time to make them do it over.

      If the printing was done on a digital press, and the quality isn't as good as the proof (ie seems to have a lower line screen) then that is something you can definitely bring up with the printer. The answer still might be, ''You needed this in less than 24 hours so we used the best quality setting that would get it done in that amount of time and still get the finishing done.'' Clients need to understand that printing is still a mechanical process and it can take a lot of time. I do single one-off prints (giant stage drops 16' x 40') that can take 6 to 8 hours each on the press even if run at a reasonably low resolution.

      What it sounds like you need, and don't take this the wrong way, is you need to find a printer willing to work with a photographer. A lot of times photographers tend to expect far better results than some print processes are able to offer. They want superb color control. They want exacting registration. You need to give the printer time to properly balance your photos. An ICC profile is only a starting point and what you see on your monitor, even with the correct profile, is not what you will see in print.

      You might have to be prepared to do multiple proofs at cost. You may want to consider working your images in CMYK if you are seeing drastic changes on conversion from RGB. Personally though, I'd rather a client give me the actual RGB file, so I have a lot more color information when I get it converted to the actual production machine profile. Save as a copy, keeping the original RGB. If you go to a generic or SWOP CMYK, all that color data is gone, never to be found again.

      If you go digital, you may have to pay a premium to run the machine at ultrafine quality (or whatever the highest quality setting is.) The premium is because at such a high quality setting, the machine runs very slowly at a much tighter LPI, taking up a very large slot in the production schedule. As in, it prints so slow, watching grass grow is more exciting.

      As for the Indigo, I've heard rumors that some of the long time photo labs out there are going in that direction, getting rid of silver halide, the quality is that good. That makes me very sad. But it may be a direction for you to explore further. Depending on your brochure though. Make sure any folding you might be doing, on the papers being used, works to your satisfaction.

      Comment


      • #4
        Printing photos on digital equipment has been a battle for years. I've been a graphic designer for the print industry specifically for 12 years now. Photo's are often way to dark, skin tones are over saturated with magenta. Its a nightmare. You have to overcompensate your color correction and brightness to the point your photos almost look bad on screen, but the prints actually look pretty decent.

        This grainy-ness or noise you mentioned shouldn't be a problem though. Might you have a sample of the output? I wouldn't mind taking a look. Image clarity shouldn't be an issue, unless maybe you walked into a terribly low end shop like a Staples or Kinkos.

        As mentioned above, the Indigo (and the Kodak Nexpress) produce some visually stunning photos. But they are also the most expensive digital machines on the market. Your average shop isn't going to be running this type of equipment.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Biggs097 and welcome to GDF.

          We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
          Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

          Comment


          • #6
            I didn't see your reply post. This is a worldwide forum so I'm not sure if I know anyone where you are located. Kinda doubtful, unless you happen to be in the Northeast US. Brochure printing is not high on my list of things to do here in my job (I do wide format.)
            On the RGB images and looking like not much was done with them, you may have to actively tell them that it is ok to adjust the imagery to look good on their equipment. The major problem right now, and it's getting worse, is there is a really big hole in the print industry when it comes to color techs that know what they are doing. As the older techs retire, there are no millennials willing to spend their day in the dark doing this kind of thing on a regularly scheduled daily basis. Sounds like you are running into some of that.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't want to say dark room developing is a thing of the past. But the industry has definitely been spoiled by digital photos. Even offset plate making is done digitally these days. There a few pressman and women out there who still chemically develop their plates, but the industry is all about speed these days and less about quality. It's heartbreaking - but what can you do? No one wants to wait for short and mid volume runs to come off a Heidelberg. They order junk from Vista print and Staples, and for reasons unknown, they are happy with them.

              The horror.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm not actually talking about darkroom work. Most of the guys I know doing color/tech aren't working in offices with windows. Usually a dim space with a 5000k color booth. Print is a service industry that requires far more skill than pushing a button. And the skilled are leaving.

                My theory on the acceptance of crap is that we are now about a decade beyond true quality. Most young designers have never even seen what quality looks like.

                Comment

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