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Printing Astro Photo Blues

Discuss how you are able to get those fantastic images!!!
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Printing Astro Photo Blues

#1

Post by Juno16 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:21 am

Good Evening!

I am asking for guidance about an issue that I have when printing astrophotography using an online printing service.

I have posted this issue on the old AF forum and got some ideas, but I have failed to improve the quality of my printed astro photos.

My images look nice, bright and colorful on my pc monitor. When I print them with an online service ( I have only tried Walmart and Snapfish), they are washed out , very dim, and generally look like crap. On the pc monitor, the have good “snap”, but in print, they look like they have been left out in the rain.

I have since upgraded my monitor and graphics card (nothing fancy -Acer SB200q/nvidia geforce GT710).
I have only used Windows color calibration along with the Lagom test patterns. I have not purchased a display calibration device.

I am not looking for perfection at all, but I would like to hang a few images on the wall eventually.

I did email an online photo printing service (CG Pro Prints) and the were helpful in telling me the display settings that I needed to use.

“Brightness/luminance – 80 cd/m
Gamma – 2.2
White Point – D50 or 5000k”

The only setting that I can set using the Lagom test patterns is the gamma at 2.2. I have read that the Acer monitor that I have has a default factory brightness setting is >200 cd/m, so I set my brightness to about 30 just to tune it down. I am still not getting anywhere.

Anyone having this issue?

Has anyone here tried printing Astrophotography on metal? I have read that images really pop when printed on metal.

Any ideas welcome!

Thanks,
Jim
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#2

Post by SkyHiker » Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:38 am

I could go on about color spaces - Windows sRGB vs Linux AdobeRGB, several photo printing stations use Linux I am guessing. It really makes a difference. But in the end, calibrate your sRGB monitor then get a small Walgreens print (probably AdobeRGB) then adjust until it looks right. Maybe install a live Linux distribution and see what it looks like to speed it up. Once it looks good get a larger print.
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#3

Post by Juno16 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:04 am

SkyHiker wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:38 am
I could go on about color spaces - Windows sRGB vs Linux AdobeRGB, several photo printing stations use Linux I am guessing. It really makes a difference. But in the end, calibrate your sRGB monitor then get a small Walgreens print (probably AdobeRGB) then adjust until it looks right. Maybe install a live Linux distribution and see what it looks like to speed it up. Once it looks good get a larger print.
Thanks Henk, I Will look into and research your suggestions. I have so much to learn. Seems like I am saying that often!
I appreciate your help.

Jim
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Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
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#4

Post by Thefatkitty » Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:54 am

Hey Jim, I second Henk's advice. Years ago I was trying to print off a collage of the planets, and I couldn't get anything decent from those printing stations. I ended up getting it done at a photo shop, and I remember the guy telling me the stations use Linux as there's no licensing fees. However, seems there some color space quality issues :lol:

This might help: https://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/adobe-rgb.htm

Best of luck getting it done :D
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#5

Post by JayTee » Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:00 am

My last prints were done on glass and plastic and metal. The only way I could make this happen was to find a printing company in town who would actually do the work and work with me. I made two trips down there to speak with the gentleman that was actually responsible for producing the prints. To me this is the only way to get a quality printed Astro photo. Yes it is a little bit expensive to do it this way but you're only making one print per object. Also it didn't hurt that the owner of the company is a close friend.

Cheers,
JT
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#6

Post by Juno16 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:16 pm

SkyHiker wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 3:38 am
I could go on about color spaces - Windows sRGB vs Linux AdobeRGB, several photo printing stations use Linux I am guessing. It really makes a difference. But in the end, calibrate your sRGB monitor then get a small Walgreens print (probably AdobeRGB) then adjust until it looks right. Maybe install a live Linux distribution and see what it looks like to speed it up. Once it looks good get a larger print.
Thefatkitty wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:54 am
Hey Jim, I second Henk's advice. Years ago I was trying to print off a collage of the planets, and I couldn't get anything decent from those printing stations. I ended up getting it done at a photo shop, and I remember the guy telling me the stations use Linux as there's no licensing fees. However, seems there some color space quality issues :lol:

This might help: https://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/adobe-rgb.htm

Best of luck getting it done :D
JayTee wrote:
Fri Nov 15, 2019 6:00 am
My last prints were done on glass and plastic and metal. The only way I could make this happen was to find a printing company in town who would actually do the work and work with me. I made two trips down there to speak with the gentleman that was actually responsible for producing the prints. To me this is the only way to get a quality printed Astro photo. Yes it is a little bit expensive to do it this way but you're only making one print per object. Also it didn't hurt that the owner of the company is a close friend.

Cheers,
JT
You all are ver helpful and I really appreciate it!

I don't remember seeing a post here about this subject, so i guess that not too many folks have this issue or don’t print their astrophotos.

Henk, I am going to look into Linux and AdobeRGB, but i think for now, i will take part of your advice and at least try cranking up the brightness, contrast, and saturation and make some small prints locally to see what i can crudely come up with.

Thanks again!

Jim
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Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
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#7

Post by Bigzmey » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:02 am

I don't know what print size you are looking for, but what about this? :D

https://www.amazon.com/Digital-Andoer-P ... oto&sr=1-7
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#8

Post by Juno16 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:25 am

Bigzmey wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:02 am
I don't know what print size you are looking for, but what about this? :D

https://www.amazon.com/Digital-Andoer-P ... oto&sr=1-7
Hi Bigz and thank you for the suggestion.

I have actually thought about this type of photo presentation. I’m sure that it would take care of my printing issue too!

I really just wanted a few of my best photos to print and hang on the wall in my guest bedroom. The digital display is a great idea and i just might have to go that way.

Thanks,
Jim
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Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
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#9

Post by sdbodin » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:50 am

I posted a wall hanger post back in May and just had all mine done at Costco while I shopped, at a buck and six bits for 8x10, I could afford to toss the ones that didn't come out right. Actually three quarters of the ones submitted came out fine. The frames are another story, some will break the bank!

Good luck,
Steve
wall.jpg
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#10

Post by Juno16 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:03 am

sdbodin wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:50 am
I posted a wall hanger post back in May and just had all mine done at Costco while I shopped, at a buck and six bits for 8x10, I could afford to toss the ones that didn't come out right. Actually three quarters of the ones submitted came out fine. The frames are another story, some will break the bank!

Good luck,
Steve

wall.jpg
Hi Steve,

Your photos look nice and snappy.
My astro photo prints look very dull and lack luster.

Well, what is your secret?

Thanks,
Jim
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Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Camera / Software: Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.6 alpha, PE14
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#11

Post by bobharmony » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:24 am

Being a bit of a control freak, I print my own astro images. I find that giving them a light touch of extra brightness in PhotoShop after finishing post-processing helps bring out the best in them. It isn't the cheapest way to go, but we use the printer for other photos as well, so it was worth it to me and my family.

We settled on the Canon Pixma Pro-100 for the printer, and use the pro Platinum glossy paper for finish prints.

Bob
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#12

Post by Juno16 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:45 am

bobharmony wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:24 am
Being a bit of a control freak, I print my own astro images. I find that giving them a light touch of extra brightness in PhotoShop after finishing post-processing helps bring out the best in them. It isn't the cheapest way to go, but we use the printer for other photos as well, so it was worth it to me and my family.

We settled on the Canon Pixma Pro-100 for the printer, and use the pro Platinum glossy paper for finish prints.

Bob
Thanks Bob!

I did entertain the idea of printing at home too. I don’t have a printer at the same quality level as your Canon, but i might as well play around with it a little.
I’m not shooting for perfection. I just want to get a close printed reproduction of the view of my images with the monitor. Close counts!

Thanks again Bob!

Jim
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Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
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#13

Post by sdbodin » Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:11 am

Juno16 wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:03 am
sdbodin wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:50 am
I posted a wall hanger post back in May and just had all mine done at Costco while I shopped, at a buck and six bits for 8x10, I could afford to toss the ones that didn't come out right. Actually three quarters of the ones submitted came out fine. The frames are another story, some will break the bank!

Good luck,
Steve

wall.jpg
Hi Steve,

Your photos look nice and snappy.
My astro photo prints look very dull and lack luster.

Well, what is your secret?

Thanks,
Jim
No secret, just standard prints from the automatic Costco machine. Same pics as what's in my gallery under "wall hangers".

Steve
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#14

Post by Juno16 » Sat Nov 16, 2019 12:36 pm

sdbodin wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:50 am

No secret, just standard prints from the automatic Costco machine. Same pics as what's in my gallery under "wall hangers".

Steve
Wow, your wall hangers are very beautiful images Steve!

On my ipad, your “wall hangers” images look similar to mine in brightness and pop (yours are better!). But in the printed version (I’ve tried Walmart, Walgreens, and Snapfish), the prints just dont come close to the snappyness or brightness of the same image on the ipad or pc monitor.
Must be something I am doing wrong.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience with me. I will just keep trying.

Jim
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Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Camera / Software: Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.6 alpha, PE14
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#15

Post by STEVE333 » Mon Nov 18, 2019 11:52 pm

Hi Jim - I have been printing many of my images on metal using a company named Bay Photo (link below). These guys really know what they are doing. The images come out sharp and bright. So far I've printed sizes ranging from 12"x12" to 24"x36" and all have come out beautifully.

www.bayphoto.com

Metal is expensive, but, I get them with a wall mount already attached to the back so they can be hung on the wall without any need for frames.

They are easy to work with and very helpful.

Hope this helps.

Steve
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#16

Post by Sea_Change » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:56 pm

Hey, new here.
I didn't see it mentioned in the replies, but I thought I'd add this.
I used to work in a photo lab many moons ago, yet still in the digital age. I did my own professional photography, as well as printed photos for many, many pros...as well as the general public.
One thing you may not know, most modern photo lab machines have a feature called "auto correction". Auto correction "fixes" an image to what the computer thinks it should be.
I found, professionally, that this feature made great photos look like doggie doo doo 98% of the time, no matter the type of photograph submitted. No professional photographer I've known has ever liked that feature.
For astrophotography, it would wash it out, trying to balance between the dark and light areas of the photograph, which is what it sounds like is happening with your photos.
When submitting your images to a printer online, look for a button marked auto correction, and make sure it is unchecked. If you aren't seeing this choice, your best bet would be to bring your images to a pro printer for personalized service.
I have yet to journey into astrophotography, other than moon shots taken with my old Nikon d200 with a 300mm lens, but I printed many great photos for others back in my printing days.
Good luck, and I hope my ramble helps.
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#17

Post by Juno16 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:36 pm

Thanks a bunch Sea_Change!

I will certainly keep my eye out for that selection.

I have found that if I open the image in PS and raise the Brightness and Contrast up to 30 or 40, the printed image is much better.

Thanks again for your insider info!

Jim
Jim

Scopes: Explore Scientific ED102 Triplet APO, Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT.
Mounts: Celestron AVX with Orion MM Autoguider, SLT;
Binoculars: Bushnell 10X50
Camera / Software: Nikon D5300 (Ha mod), Astrophotography Tool, PHD2, SharpCap v3.2, StarTools 1.6 alpha, PE14
Dog: Jack
Sky: Bortle 6
Astro Photos https://flickr.com/photos/157183480@N07 ... 7681236785
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