I have just got a 550D and took some shots inhouse during daytime and the light is fairly good. images look good on computer after downloaded. but there is too much green in the prints. i believe there is nothing to do with printer. photos were shot under auto and portrait mode.

Any idea? i am new to photography. thanks heaps.



2 Answers 2


Differences between what you see on screen and in print are most likely due to calibration problems. Not all monitors display the same colour value in an image file the same way! Assuming the printer is not the problem then it is likely that your monitor image has a magenta tint to it which is preventing you from noticing the green shift.

There are tools available to calibrate your monitor so the colours it displays are more consistent, which can help with this sort of problem. See this question:

What is the best equipment for a good (semi-)professional color management?

The second problem is that your images may have a green tint to them. All lightsources emit a slightly different colour light and the eyes adjust to it subconsciously so we don't notice. However the camera simply records the incident light and tries to make sense of it according to the current white balance setting. This tells the camera what colour light source to expect so it can adjust accordingly. Most cameras have an automatic white balance setting which attempts to judge the lightsource, however these settings are rarely accurate in practice.

A green tint suggests the lighting was fluorescent (which is problematic for colour reproduction at the best of times). You can set the camera for a fluorescent white balance, a better approach is to shoot a custom white balance by activating this mode on your camera and shooting a white or neutral coloured object close up so that it fills the frame. However if you have daylight coming in from the windows the lighting colour may vary from shot to shot as you move through the house. In short colour management is hard, ultimately it's best to learn how to correct colour after images have been shot (which is another topic all together).

Are you printing at home or at a lab? The other side of the coin is that the printer could be miscalibrated, putting down too much green.

Ultimately colour reproduction is error prone, even if both screen and printer are calibrated the results wont match perfectly due to differences in the way the devices display colour, and differences in viewing conditions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Most printers don't use green ink, so really the problem with the printer would be a lack of magenta. \$\endgroup\$
    – Evan Krall
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 3:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I know that but printers do print green, as in the colour, and if it's printing too much of that colour it will affect the image so it's not just a lack of magenta that's the problem it could also be a surplus of cyan and yellow. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ i printed photos at home. i don't think there is anything to do with my printer as some photos i took outside, the prints are fine. is there anything to do with the auto setting. what is white balance or contrast? \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 9:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @John I've added a paragraph on the role of white balance in the problems you've been having. If you have any other questions let me know \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 11:24

The problem may be discontinuous-spectrum fluorescents. Without the bother (and expense) of going to a colour meter, try this: get a CD or DVD (as a computer user, you've probably got a bunch of one or the other that's pretty much toast for any real purpose) and look at the "rainbow" it produces in your light. If you can see a complete rainbow (assuming colourblindness isn't a problem), then you'll always be able to correct the colour balance on the workstation, no matter how far off your camera's auto white balance attempt was. If there are gaps in the spectrum, the chances are pretty good that the picture will never be a winner (although it may be a great documentary item). Keep the CD/DVD in your camera bag -- it'll tell you a lot about the lighting that your eyes will not. (And the difference between screen and print is the difference between additive and subtractive colours -- RGB vs CMYK. Even if you think you're working in the CMYK colour space on-screen, what you're seeing is RGB, and that tells you nothing about what will actually happen in print.)


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