Lightroom: Print colors do not match screen colors when printing from Lightroom, but do from Reader

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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Running Lightroom 6.5 on new iMac OS X 10.11.4, & Canon MP 495 inkjet printer, the print colors do not match the colors I see on the screen - they are darker & look "muddy".  I have tried using the printer-managed profile option (Canon IJ Color Printer Profile 2005),  & also letting Lightroom manage the color profiles using the following: the Canon profile, the Apple RGB profile, & the Adobe RGB (1998) profile, all with the same result.  

However, if, when the Print dialog box is shown, I save the print as a PDF rather than printing directly, then print that PDF using Acrobat Reader with it's default settings, the color match is very good.  Unfortunately, in this process I am not able to determine what printer settings, particularly the color profile, are used.  The other options in the Lightroom print dialog box are Print Resolution 240 PPI, Print Sharpening Low, Media Type Glossy, Print Adjustment: Print Sharpening -14 & Contrast +38 (I think these last two are defaults because i don't remember setting them).  

Any ideas about the secret sauce used by Reader to produce good-looking prints would be greatly appreciated.
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Bruce Woodford

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Posted 2 years ago

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avinash r, Employee

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Could you provide any more details about the printer like the version of the driver that you are using?

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Bruce Woodford

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The printer information window says Canon MP 495 series driver version (the printer is an MP 495) 
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Jeff Van de Walker, Employee

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Your description of the output sounds like the print is double color managed. When you open click the (Print Settings...) button is color management turned off in the print driver?
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Bruce Woodford

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I have tried it both ways.  

If I set the LR Print module Color Management option to "Managed by printer", then click on Print Settings, the printer option window opens up.  When I select the "Color Matching" option within that window, I see two options: Canon Color Matching, which I assume uses the Canon-provided profile (it doesn't say that specifically), and Color Sync which has an Automatic option (?), the same Canon profile as with Color Matching, or Other, which gives a list of many profiles which can be selected.

If, on the other hand, I select a specific Color Profile in LR (e.g. Adobe RGB 1998), when I look at the printer "Color Management" window, the Color Sync option is checked & can't be changed or even opened to see what color profile, if any, is being used.  According to the printer documentation, this is expected behavior when the color profile is specified by the printing software, so I assume that it does not apply the color profile a second time.  So I guess the short answer to your question is yes, color management is turned off in the print driver, but I have no way of testing that it is truly off.

When I print the picture directly from a PDF using Reader, it automatically determines which color profile to use & even gives a warning message when you try to access the Printer window directly.  The results match what I see on my screen quite well (at least to my untrained eye).  This tells me that Reader somehow knows how to provide the correct color profile, & prevents the printer from double-correcting the color, while LR does not.
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Chris Cox

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You need to chose the profile for your chosen printer and paper, not a generic editing space like AdobeRGB.  When the application is managing color, the printer color settings are supposed to be disabled (but some drivers have problems).

Reader is using printer color management - aka "random, sort of pleasing , but not very accurate or predictable" color.