Opening the Box

Last week I ordered some prints of my favorite photos to hang in my office. I ordered them on metallic paper from Adoramapix, as I'd had some other prints made in the past on metallic from Adorama and and I absolutely love them. Unfortunately, this batch wasn't quite as fabulous. Well, some of them were, but overall the prints were a bit darker and had a warmed tone that my other metallic prints don't have (and weren't apparent when viewing the photos on my computer). The prints do look cool, but decidedly different than they look on my computer.

Now, I realize there could be a variety of things going on:
  • My monitor is not calibrated, so it's entirely possible that my monitor is brighter and cooler-toned than it should be which is causing me to compensate and adjust my photos to be overly dark and warm.
  • I had Adoramapix do color correction on them (because my monitor isn't calibrated) and maybe I just didn't care for the job that whoever worked on my photos did.
  • Maybe Adoramapix uses a different metallic paper than they did before and the current paper (Kodak Endura Metallic) imparts that look.
It's impossible to tell exactly what caused the problem because there are too many variables. All of this points to the need to calibrate my monitor and get serious about color management. I've been avoiding getting into it because color management is a bit of a Pandora's box - there's a lot to learn and a whole lot of tedious work to get all the tools and workflow set up just right. I've been fortunate in the past that either my photos have printed pretty true to how I see them, or I've not had the discerning eye to be bothered by the differences. But I think I've reached the point in my photography where I need that control and the box needs to be opened.