10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 6, 2008 3:39 AM by suziea
bobgoldstein Level 1 (5 points)
It seems ridiculous that iPhoto does not document whether or not is it color-managed, and how to set up a print dialog to utilize whatever intelligence iPhoto has.

Like many others, I have been reduced to trial and error, looking to produce a print that resembles the one onscreen, in colors, brightness, contrast, etc.

If iPhoto does not ask for the printer profile, I suppose that means that it is not color managed, and one has to use the print dialog color management some way or other. OK. Why doesn't colorsync work? Does iPhoto somehow bypass colorsync?

I have to use the Epson controls for my R800, and adjust the brightness and contrast to get close to the onscreen appearance.

By the way, with the same hardware etc, I can print perfectly well using CS2, and choosing no color management in the print driver.

Questions like mine have been appearing on Apple Support Discussions for years now, and I don't understand why Apple doesn't explain how iPhoto really works.

Can anyone point me to a reliable source? I don't want to hear about how you use some other program to print. I want to print accurately from iPhoto.

iMac most recent model, Mac OS X (10.5.1), 4GB RAM
  • jurplesman Level 1 (0 points)
    I am in the same boat. When i print a photo it comes out in completely differnt colours. I don't know how to correct this.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)

    Does your Photo have a colour profile attached? Is one being attached by iPhoto (iPhoto -> Preferences -> Advanced)?


  • bobgoldstein Level 1 (5 points)
    No, I have not checked that option. But the image files are not leaving iPhoto; they are imported directly from the flash card, and then the photo is printed.

    Is that embedding necessary in order to use the Colorsync color control in the print driver?

    (I must admit that I have been fooling around with image processing and using iPhoto since version 1, and I still don't understand much of this stuff!).
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)
    (I must admit that I have been fooling around with image processing and using iPhoto since version 1, and I still don't understand much of this stuff!).

    Well allow the blind to lead the blind

    The theory (as I understand it) is that the Color Profiles are a way of the various devices - Computer, Camera, Printer - agreeing what 'Red' or 'Blue' is. As you know the colours on your Mac are produced by light, the one's on your Printer by inks, two very different processes. So, by 1. adding a colour profile to the pics and making sure that the apps and printer also use the same profile the colours should match at the output. My guess from your first post

    I can print perfectly well using CS2, and choosing no color management in the print driver.

    is because your photo has a standard profile attached and that's a default on the printer. That could be AdobeRGB or the sRGB profile.

    You can find out the colour profile using Preview (in the Tools menu.)

    Now you know as much as I do.


  • bobgoldstein Level 1 (5 points)
    OK, I exported a photo from iPhoto to the desktop (jpeg, max quality, full size) and opened it in Preview. The colorsync profile as revealed by 'inspector' is 'Camera RGB'. So at least there is one.

    But whether that is relevant to my situation is unknown, and certainly not explained by any iPhoto Help.

    Just to recap, if I print from iPhoto, and tell the printer driver to use Colorsync to determine colors, then the print is much darker and warmer than the image onscreen. I have to use the Epson color controls in the print driver, with altered settings for brightness and contrast to get something close.

    Does this mean my display profile is erroneous? I doubt it and here's why: I profiled it using the tool provided by Apple for 'calibrate' on the system display prefs, and I also used a Spyder 2 to profile it, and using the same image onscreen, I get visually identical images when I switch from one profile to the other.
  • Terence Devlin Level 10 (137,945 points)

    Does your Printer driver give you the option to select a particular profile?


  • bobgoldstein Level 1 (5 points)
    No, it doesn't. This is the standard current Epson driver for the Stylus Photo R800, and it offers the choices: no color management, Colorsync, and Epson controls. which is what I have to use as described above, altering brightness and contrast to match the screen.

    I interpret this to mean that Colorsync is supposed to use both the current display profile and the image color space profile to match up the colors in the print with those on the screen. But that fails.

    No color control means that the image data has already been altered to match the printer/paper combination with the display profile. That's what I use, with greater success, when printing from Photoshop CS. In CS, the print-with-preview dialogue offers the choice 'let the application determine the colors', and one tells CS what printer/paper profile to use.
  • Old Toad Level 10 (135,423 points)
    In the Print window under the Color Management section (change it from iPhoto to Color Management) what is the setting set to. The default is Epson Vivid and many have found setting it to Standard and saving that option has improved their prints considerably.

    TIP: For insurance against the iPhoto database corruption that many users have experienced I recommend making a backup copy of the Library6.iPhoto database file and keep it current. If problems crop up where iPhoto suddenly can't see any photos or thinks there are no photos in the library, replacing the working Library6.iPhoto file with the backup will often get the library back. By keeping it current I mean backup after each import and/or any serious editing or work on books, slideshows, calendars, cards, etc. That insures that if a problem pops up and you do need to replace the database file, you'll retain all those efforts. It doesn't take long to make the backup and it's good insurance.

    I've created an Automator workflow application (requires Tiger), iPhoto dB File Backup, that will copy the selected Library6.iPhoto file from your iPhoto Library folder to the Pictures folder, replacing any previous version of it. It's compatible with iPhoto 08 libraries and Leopard. iPhoto does not have to be closed to run the application, just idle. You can download it at Toad's Cellar. Be sure to read the Read Me pdf file.
  • bobgoldstein Level 1 (5 points)
    Thanks for the advice about using the Epson color controls. As I said earlier, I do get satisfactory results (at least for a few photos), from my trial-and-error selection of settings for that, which do include Epson Standard, plus some adjustments to contrast and brightness.

    But my real question is WHY DOESN'T COLORSYNC Work? If that is the Apple color management system, and iPhoto is Apple too, then what goes on here?

    I have read some very helpful pages on the Epson web site, specifically at

    http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/support/supDetail.jsp?BV_UseBVCookie=yes&info Type=News&oid=30501&prodoid=37472319&noteoid=92205

    These tell me that I need to be using a 'color-managed application'
    in order for the Colorsync choice in the Epson Print dialog to work.

    So is iPhoto an color-managed application? It appears not, and it is somewhat scandalous that Apple doesn't say one way or the other in their documentation. I have wasted so much time on this issue! As I said from version 1 of iPhoto to now.
  • suziea Level 1 (0 points)
    Just to throw my two cents in here and say that I am also having problems printing to an Epsom with my prints coming out darker than on screen. I have mucked around with screen calibration and the same Color Sync setting and this helped improve things but they are still not the same color. I was about to start playing with the Epsom controls as well but thought that there must be a better way.