I recently sent some work to a costco lab that has done good work for me over the years. Once the file is ready and sized and output sharpened, I convert to the custom ICC profile for the lab and machine and paper that I'm using, and softproof for it. this has worked fine for years, just as it works fine for the professional labs I use for my more important professional work. I work with a regularly calibrated system, because i want to be in control of the process from beginning to end.
Costco has always had a checkbox in their upload procedure for the option to have them auto correct the color. I have always opted to turn that off - because I have already made all the adjustments necessary for their machine to translate the photoshop numbers from my machine to theirs correctly -- just hit the print button, please and don't make any changes... It's already been profiled for your machine and I have made all the adjustments I deem necessary, thank you.
They have always agreed with that - until now. the recent images I sent were way off - too light, too green - horrible - I checked the profile - it was the correct new profile - all should have went well.
The Tech Mgr there told me that the problem was that i had used photoshop to prepare the images, and he told me that PS ( I'm on CS5 - and Lightroom 3 - all updated ) by default would strip the exif data from my files. Really? i thought. I've never known that to be true , plus I want all the metadata intact, so my files contain the contact and copyright info, IPTC data and all the exif data. The technician told me that was the problem- since my files DID contain exif info, their computer thought it was just any random file sent in and Costo's machine then- by default - ignored my request to NOT auto correct -- they then auto corrected the file screwing up the color. their computer/printer- a big noritzu unit, apparently ALWAYS auto corrects any files that have exif data, whether you tell it to auto correct or not.
So how does one avoid this? their upload process confirms that i chose to shut down auto correct - yet they auto correct, making things incorrect. So my question to all and anyone out there: is the solution to go into PS preferences in the file handling tab and click on: Ignore EXIF Profile Tag in the file compatibility box? It is currently clicked off. Would that fool their machine? Is that the solution to my problem?
and if I do indeed want to maintain all the exif data in my files but want to strip it just from a file I send to Costco or any lab that hash as similar issue - how would i go about stripping the exif info just from the jpeg I am uploading to them?
Anyone? ( thanks in advance for any knowledgeable answers)
I'm sure that every costco photo lab is not run the same way- I've been told that by one of the lab managers. the results can varty from lab to lab - and there are about 5 different Costco labs in the Portland OR vicinity. I keep up on the ICC profiles for any of the labs I use. Up until my original post i have found my favorite of those labs to be quite accurate.
The only difference in my workflowas opposed to yours, is that Prophoto RGB is my PS and lightroom workspace. If you are working in lightroom with highest quality previews - Lightroom's environment is ProPhoto RGB. I use this huge 16 bit color space because i can then always convert down to a smaller color profile. Much like yourself I softproof and make the necessary changes. My monitor can show about 97% of Adobe RGB'98 and i am in a tightly and regularly calibrated environment in my studio.
You are absolutely right that my lab has been auto correcting something that i told them online to NOT auto correct. they claim that it is part of their system... and when the computer somehow knows that the custom profiled softproofed 8 bit .jpg image i have sent them was generated out of photoshop, they say their computer/printer decides it must auto correct. this is something that makes no sense to me. They claim the only way now for me to actually turn off the auto correct feature, it to upload the order via their inhouse computer and it will then keep the auto-correct feature turned off. I have even compared and made files both in their cutom ICC profile AND the satndard sRGB that most people send them. the results were equally as bad.
I've decided instead to upload the files to my more local professional lab - who's profiles are better and much more accurate on their fuji frontirer machine. Sure the price is more expensive -- so I just raised my retail prices and kissed Costco goodbye. Life is much sweeter now.
I'm an amateur photographer having the same issue. I don't want to lose any ppi to save it for 'web and other devices'. But I want my client to be able to print through whatever business they prefer. Have you found a solution?
Just save the file as a JPG in sRGB colorspace to enable printing by any printing service. You don't need to reduce the image resolution (ppi) to accomplish that. The internet has many explanations of how to accomplish this from whatever software you are using, particularly PS or LR. In other words, you won't use a printer-specific profile to softproof or for converting the file. The "save for web and other devices" is intended as a shortcut for the two steps of decreasing the resolution, then saving under a different filename; not for creating an image file to be printed. If you are still unclear, Google "How to save photo as JPG in sRGB in _____", with _____ being your software. I'm suggesting using a JPG format because not all printer services handle TIFFs or other formats.