Avoid dark images in your printed book

One issue we've encountered with people making their first book is that images print darker than the author expected. What causes this? Here are some common reasons:

  • An image viewed on a screen will always look brighter than the same image printed on a page.
    • Monitors have light shining through them but your printed book will not.
    • If your monitor is set too bright your images will look brighter than they really are, giving a false impression of how bright the image really is.
  • The image may be too dark to print well.
    • The image may be backlit and the subject's face too dark because of the bright light shining from behind them. 
    • The camera's settings may have caused the image to be underexposed.
    • The camera's flash may not have fired when it should have.
    • The result? Lost shadow details, decreased contrast, and faces whose features are hard to discern—all because the original images lacked enough brightness to print well.  

How to avoid dark images in your printed book

  • Shoot your photos with adequate lighting and the proper exposure so your images are bright from the start.
  • We know that taking a perfectly-exposed photo isn't always possible, so you may need to do some post-processing to slightly lighten your images. (And we do mean slightly—too much lightening can make your images look grainy).
  • Lower your monitor brightness. Your images can appear brighter than they really are when viewed on a monitor set to 100% brightness.
    • There's no magic number for this but we suggest keeping your monitor at 70% brightness or less. 
  • Use the automatic image enhancement feature if you're making your book with our BookWright tool. This will slightly lighten and sharpen your images and save you from having to manually lighten all the images.
  • Order a single proof copy of your book to see how the images look in print. Your Blurb-printed book will be the ultimate test of how the images translate to the page.  
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