Will my images on screen look exactly like they do in print?

Images on screen appear punchy and clean as they are backlit by your screen. Dark images on screen will appear darker when printed on the page, so keep in mind that the photos won’t have light shining through them as is the case on your monitor – please adjust your photos accordingly. You may wish to adjust images using a photo-editing program such as Photoshop.

We recommend calibrating your monitor using a program similar to Coloreyes Display Pro or Spyder4.


Watch the Datacolor / Vanilla Webinar: How to get the colours in your photobooks spot on with Vanilla Photobooks

If your image is dark on screen we recommend you either lighten it or remove it from your book.

We cannot be responsible for problems with your images as we do not and cannot adjust the fully encrypted page files you upload to us.

Image size and resolution can also contribute to a difference in what your image looks like on screen compared to when printed. Your computer’s monitor most likely has a resolution of 72PPI ( pixels per inch) and images will appear sharp and clear. If you use this image in your book it will print out pixelated as the resolution is too low, so don’t be fooled by what looks good on screen.

The ideal resolution for images is 300 PPI ( pixels per inch) at 100% size.

The minimum resolution we recommend is 150PPI at 100%.

If an image is placed in your book at less than our recommended minimum resolution, a warning will appear.

You can still proceed with your order with this image, but the image may appear slightly pixilated when printed, subject to the actual resolution. In many cases an image at 100PPI will be fine but not recommended.

We understand how important your images are to you. Digital printing has advanced considerably over the last year, but still has a way go to match true offset litho and Silver Halide quality. Results can be amazing, but getting an image, from your back-lit RGB monitor to a printed photobook printed in CMYK  can sometimes be a challenge.

Several variables come into play between your monitor and our global print network. In POD, books – covers and pages – are printed on different print devices, which means that even though everything is calibrated variables are a given. Controlling as many variables as possible is what colour management is all about.

A properly calibrated monitor helps you manage colour and balance more accurately. But please set your expectations appropriately. It is simply not possible for our digital presses to duplicate the finely controlled colour management that is possible with offset litho and Silver Halide printing, so some differences may appear from book to book.

Please remember – every image is unique and the information above should only be used as a rough guide. Further adjustments may be required depending on the nature of the image. We would always recommend that adjustments be carried out on a calibrated screen to give the best results.

Adjusting colour images

Please see this information about how to adjust your colour images using Photoshop

Below are some Photoshop action files which may improve some flat or dark images (please note these will not necessarily work for all images – always use a calibrated screen for best results).

photoshop-action-iconPhotoshop action file for basic image adjustment (zipped)

photoshop-action-iconPhotoshop action file for very dark images (zipped)

Adjusting black and white images

Please note:

Images that are in Greyscale colour mode need to be re-saved as RGB Jpegs (with sRGB colour profile) before they can be imported into the Vanilla Photobooks software. This can be achieved by using image editing software, for example Adobe Photoshop.

If you do not have Adobe Photoshop, you can download a free version of Photoshop CS2 from www.techspot.com

If a black and white photograph is appearing flat (lacking in contrast) – the following levels settings can be applied in Photoshop which should improve the contrast of the image.


If a B&W photograph is appearing a bit dark then applying the following settings for shadows and highlights in Photoshop may help improve it.