The photos on top, photographed in daylight, clearly show the difference of a photo with a correct ICC color profile and respective correction. (quick photos from iPhone just to comparison)
Now I just need to be able to correct the lighting next to the monitor to proper evaluate the prints.
All my room lights are 5000K
#Somebody mention to me once, that ProPhoto is a D50 calibrated, while AdobeRGB is D65. I use ProPhoto but always calibrated as D65; could this make a difference?
I think that I don’t really get what you aim at. Do you want to compare your prints to your monitor? Do you want to hang the prints on the wall, with a specific illuminant? Do you want to prepare your prints for a sale?
Before my retirement I worked many years in R&D of the printing industry. My experience is, that if you want prints that look exactly like the image on your monitor: forget about it. Apart from trivial issues, like monitor colors that cannot be reproduced by the printer, or colors in your photo that cannot be reproduced by the monitor, there is always the fundamental difference between a display that emits light and a print, that reflects ambient light. To come as close as possible (nothing new, I suppose): calibrate your monitor, keep the brightness of your monitor low (say, 80 cd/m2), select the color temperature of the monitor to match that of the light that you use to judge your print (although 5000K and 6500K is not a world of difference), keep the light in the room where your monitor is low (and no direct light on the monitor). But as soon as you switch on the light to evaluate the print, you will probably violate these conditions.
You can use the soft-proof option in Photoshop to get an idea of how your print looks like, if you know the ICC profile of your printer.
If you intend to hang your print on the wall, you could use an application that simulates the ambient conditions. E.g. Picture Window Pro 7 (discontinued and now free to use) has a so-called “mat & frame” transformation that lets you select different light sources in the “wall” menu, to give an indication of the look of the print in daylight, incandescent light etc. You might need to change the colors to make them pleasing under the ambient conditions.
Remember, that modern light sources such as LED lamps have no continuous spectrum. The same holds for fluorescent lamps. Unless they are designed for print judging (and expensive), they have a poor color reproduction. The color index CRI for LED lamps is pretty worthless; it is based on some pastel colors only and even LED lamps with rating >95 can be disappointing.
If you want to sell prints, you don’t know the viewing conditions. So you have to aim at some standard illumination average, e.g. D50 or D65 lighting. D50 and D65 are, however, “laboratory” lights and they don’t exist in the real world. They are just references, to be able to compare prints under agreed conditions in the printing industry. Evaluate your prints in such a lighting booth, don’t try to match them with your monitor.
You are right that the whitepoint in AdobeRGB is D65 and in ProPhoto is D50. If you calibrate your monitor at 6500K and edit in ProPhoto, the white in your photos will be a little bit off the “objective” white of your monitor. No big deal, I guess. I think, that it has no advantage to edit your images in ProPhoto instead of AdobeRGB. ProPhoto is a huge color space, some colors don’t exist in the real world and many can’t be reproduced in print. It is a personal opionion of course, but I don’t think that maximizing the color space is necessary to produce pleasing prints. I still love prints made with traditional wet chemical processes (with digital laser illumination of course), although the color space of the print is even less than sRGB. But I have European eyes , don’t like my TV screen overly saturated or the colors jump out of my digital photographs.
Well, that’s a long story. Hope it can help you a bit, this is complicated matter. If I can bring it down to one simple advice: you mention the lighting next to your monitor. This must be a source with “good” light quality, just knowing it is 5000K or 6500K is not enough. Not a $5 LED lamp.
I recently got a new printer so I was trying to figure out what the best white point on my monitor calibration was to match print and monitor. I calibrated the monitor at 5000k, 5350k, 5500k, 5750k, 6000k, 6250k, and 6500 k and was going crazy trying to figure which produced the closest match. First I thought 5000k did it, but when I rechecked the next day the prints seemed too yellow. Then I tried 6000 k and that seemed perfect, but when I checked it again the next time it seemed the prints were too blue. I finally realized that the monitor setting was way less important that the viewing conditions. Viewing my photo at night with the overhead light on made the print appear less yellow and more blue. If I viewed it during the day with the light off but the curtains open and daylight coming into the room, the print appeared too blue. So I concluded that the monitor white point really didn’t matter as much as I thought, it all depended on the viewing conditions of the print. So, the answer to your question what is the proper light to evaluate prints is that it totally depends on where the print is going to be viewed. If it is going to hang on a wall and viewed via overhead warm light, you will want the white point to be on the warm side; if it is going to be viewed using daylight then it will need to be cooler.
Really interesting questions and answers. Thanks @Han_Schutten, for the detailed look into Lighting. Wow, I had no idea. This really answers a lot of the questions that I’ve always had about the way a print looks vs. the way the image looks on a monitor. I have always wondered why I like a print in the day time and when viewed at night it looks completely different or visa versa. This sorta of makes all that craziness go away. I thank you for putting in the time to answer Joao’s question as I’ve learned so much from this.
As a I mentioned in my previous post, it is interesting to simulate viewing conditions with e.g. Picture Window Pro 7. It can be downloaded for free at dl-c.com. Search in the drop down menu Transformations-Mat & Frame and use the “wall” tab. You will be shocked by the differences.
Fortunately, the human eye adapts more or less to the viewing conditions, since we are trained to believe that a white wall is a white wall, no matter what illumination is used