That is what Scott Kelby has suggested. What is it? An adjustment in the print output module of Lightroom 4.1 that supports luminance adjustment or “matching”. From what I have read from users in web forums it can obtain a corrected print brightness if the image file otherwise produces a color-managed print that is too dark.
Some may think this new tool corrects the problem. But no, it may compensate for the dark print but the cause of prints too dark remains because the LCD display hardware is still too bright. This causes the user to miss-edit the brightness of the file with his software. And even if the user has calibrated and profiled the display, dark prints are only part of the error that results. If the luminance range of the display caused poor imaging editing adjustment with software, calibrating and profiling a too bright display will also produce a display profile that is skewed and will not result in either seeing accurate color reproduction on-screen but also skewed color in resulting prints even if the brightness is adjusted with Lightroom to an acceptable level.
One of the more frequent commentators on color management, the Digital Dog (Andrew Rodney) posted a concluding comment on the discussion of the luminance matching adjustment in Lightroom 4.1, “Title: Re: Luminance matching: Soft Proof vs. Print Adjustment sliders - Post by: digitaldog on April 05, 2012, 08:58:55 AM
Quote from: jeremyrh on Today at 02:44:18 AM
One could argue that using the brightness slider is no more a "hack" than turning down the brightness of the screen ;D
I could argue it easily (want to go there?).
A print is either too dark or it isn’t. Got nothing to do with the screen. A print might match the screen, might not. Different story. One slider affects the output (and only in a single application while leaving the RGB values alone). The other slider affects the display and leaves all files in all applications alone and consistently. So yup, I think the sliders that affect a document that is too dark, solely for a print, in a single application is a hack. People can use it (they can use a preset or adjustment layer in say Photoshop). As long as they understand the causes and effect of the problem, fine with me. Now if you want a print that isn’t too dark and you want it to match the display, the hack isn’t going to help one bit.”
One might ask why, even though Lightroom 4.1 is in public beta, would the company, Adobe, include a fix for “prints too dark” that avoids the basic hardware cause that LCD displays are too bright? Is it because user printing has been adversely affected by photographers just giving up because of frustration with poor printing results? Has the photographer discouragement reduced Lightroom software sales recently? And if the application has a print output luminance fix correcting for dark prints, maybe it will encourage more users to upgrade to Lightroom 4? I really wonder because this fix that does not correct for the LCD display hardware cause, surely could come back on everyone with a sharp sting. The fix has a high price even if it works to obtain better brightness print output, but at what cost to color and image quality?
I don’t have any answer other than to use an LCD display that will adjust to photographic color management requirements. Although there is not a lot to choose from and most pro-graphic displays are costly, a software work-around seems to just delay the inevitable. But in the five years the prints too dark problem has plagued many, many photographers, I have not seen any industry support to encourage people to avoid the cause and use good color-management solutions. For many of us prints too dark is not a problem, and it doesn’t need to be for anyone serious about doing digital photography.