Match Your Print to a Lab’s Print

February 23, 2010

Photo Tips

Photograph © Rick Sammon.  All rights reserved.

Canon 1D Mark III, Canon 24-105mm IS lens @ f.4.0. ISO 400. 1/80th second shutter speed.

We receive a lot of question for our podcast, and unfortunately, we can’t answer all of ’em on the air.

So from time to time, we’ll answer them here – sometimes with a little help from our friends, as is the case here.

Here’s a good one.


Thanks for the awesome site and fantastic podcast.  Great work, guys.

My question follows up on the Q&A regarding color space.  I understand 100% why Adobe RGB is the way to go, and I calibrate my monitor. However, when upload an image to an on-line printer, what I get back is not what is on my monitor – the photo is much darker.

I know to check the printer’s output preference (sRGB, dpi, etc.), but how do I get my image to come out the way I see it on my calibrated monitor?

Thanks in advance!

A big DPE fan,

Tonya Morgan


In order to coincide what is displayed on your monitor and the final print product, calibration is key.  Display calibration and ICC profiling can only be 100% accurate when using a colorimeter and software.  X-Rite Eye-One Display 2 is one that Nations Photo Lab uses and recommends.

For ICC profiling to function, an image must have a “known color space.”  sRGB is an effective color space for files and one that is standard among most labs, including Nations.

If you are using an RGB color space and your lab is using sRGB, once your order is uploaded for production, your files will automatically convert to sRGB to align with the lab.  Therefore, it is strongly suggested that you use sRGB as your color space to prevent any unplanned adjustments prior to production. This, in conjunction with calibration, will ensure that what you see on your monitor closely resembles your final print product.

Tom Schell,

Lab Manager

Nations Photo Lab

Check this out!

DPE readers can get a free $50 order at Nations Photo Lab,, by using this code upon check out: RICK2.  Hurry,
this offer expires 6.1.10!

This post was written by:

- who has written 171 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon has published 36 books, including Exploring the Light and Digital Photography Secrets.

When asked about his photo specialty, Rick says, “My specialty is not specializing.”

You can follow Rick on twitter at and visit his website at

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2 Responses to “Match Your Print to a Lab’s Print”

  1. Ron lakin Says:

    Will the Xrite CMUNDIS ColorMunki Display do a good enough job of color matching for your lab


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