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Help! My Photo Prints are Too Dark!

The number one mistake

As a printing shop, we've printed lots of photos from our customes. The number one issue is the uploaded images are too dark, especially the ones taken on mobile phone cameras. In this short article, we will show you how to use SnapSeed's Brightness Control feature to instaneously improve the quality of your final prints.

Here is a first-day-in-school photo I took for my friend Rimu. The light wasn't great and I shot it with my iPhone 6. As you can see, there is a significant improvement in the skin colour after a slight brightness change.

First day to school - before and after brightness changes
Notice their faces. Could you see the improvements there?

Histogram is your friend

Don't be scared by the term "histogram". It's one of the secret weapons that every professional photographer use on daily basis. It's very easy to understand and once you know what it means, you will find it much easier to identify potential quality issues.

Let's zoom in and take a closer look.

Histogram guides you to avoid print too dark issues.
The majority of the contents are in the left means that the photo might be too dark and we can improve it by brightening it up. If you would like to learn a bit more on this topic, we recommend how to read and use histogram on DPS.

Histogram shows the brightness of the different parts in a photo. The graph on the left means the contents might be too dark and you want to brighten it up by moving the curve to the right. The contents on the right means the details are probably too bright and making them slightly darker will bring out more details.

Generally speaking, when you edit your photo, your goal is to make the curve distribute evenly in the histogram.

SnapSeed - before and after brightness changes
Using SnapSeed's Brightness Control, we can move the histogram curve to the right. Notice how the image changes as we move the curve to the right.

Video instructions