Why prints seem darker than the image on screen

It’s frustrating when your prints don’t match your monitor but there are a few factors in play when comparing paper to digital screens.

This YouTube video from Todd Dominey explains the limitations of print and the steps you can take to get a result that does your photography justice.

Learn more from Todd Dominey:

Key points from the video:

  • Glossy paper or finishes can appear darker, with greater contrast
  • Matte paper or finishes will be ‘flat’ and may be closer to what you see on screen
  • Your monitor is backlit, this gives a ‘glow’ to highlights that can’t be recreated by light reflected from the surface of paper
  • Print takes on the colour and characteristics of the ambient lighting in a room
  • Your monitor may be poorly configured and struggle to give an accurate representation of printed artwork or photography

Other considerations

  • Our large-format inkjet photo printing offers a wider range of media and is better suited for photographic printing, particularly in black and white
  • Laser printing uses a satin-finish polymer toner that bonds to the top of paper rather than being absorbed by it. This means saturated areas will always appear slightly shiny and the prints generally have more contrast than matte inkjet prints
  • Different print technology will give different results so always arrange to have any samples printed on the equipment that will be used for the final run