Print Compensation Not Visible

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Today’s Question: As I make changes in the Brightness and Contrast adjustments in the Lightroom print module, I don’t see any changes on my actual photo? Do you know why this is happening?

Tim’s Quick Answer: This is by design. The Brightness and Contrast sliders below the Print Adjustment checkbox in the Print module enable you to compensate for a print that is too dark or bright, or that is lacking contrast. The image preview does not update when you adjust these sliders.

More Detail: Of course, the first thing I should point out is that if you have properly calibrated and profiled your monitor display, there is a reasonably good chance you won’t need the Print Adjustment controls at all. For example, I generally recommend the X-Rite ColorMunki Display (https://amzn.to/2y2PpyI) as an excellent tool for display calibration.

Even when you have properly calibrated your display, however, you may see prints that don’t quite match what you’re seeing on the display in terms of overall tonality. A common cause of this issue is a printer that can’t quite produce the full range of shadow values contained within an image.

The Brightness and Contrast controls under the Print Adjustment checkbox in the Print Job section of the right panel in the Print module enable you to compensate for these issues. Start by turning on the Print Adjustment checkbox. Then adjust the sliders for Brightness and Contrast based your anticipation of how much correction is necessary.

Of course, since the image preview won’t update, you’ll be guessing at what value might work based on the initial print. Therefore, some trial and error will be necessary to determine appropriate values. Fortunately, what you’ll generally find is that the same settings will work well for most prints, since the adjustment is typically a matter of compensating for printer behavior. Still, I would love to see an update from Adobe that provides at least an estimated adjustment for the preview image before printing.