Your images on screen vs in print

We love print, no surprises there. As publishers, we’d take the real thing over the “digital version” any day. Yes, technology is brilliant; it has allowed us to connect across oceans, given us the freedom to work from wherever we want and it has even breathed new life into our publishing house. But at the end of the day, for us there is nothing like sitting down with a good book; a real-life, hold in your hands, smells like book, book.

There are obvious differences between your physical custom photo book and the digital version, the weight of it, the feeling of turning the pages, but also, the way your photos look will change once they’re in printed in a photo book. Regardless of how great your computer monitor is, your printed photos will always look different to how they will appear on screen.

The difference between your images on screen and in print
As every photographer knows, lighting is everything. The main difference between “on screen” and “in print” images is exactly that: the lighting. Every digital monitor contains a light which shines through pixels. This backlight helps your image to appear brighter and more detailed; once you take those images off your device, you also lose the artificial back-light and with that, the shadows in your photos appear darker and your subtle details less visible.

My photo in the MILK Editor Tool

Above you can see that I’ve uploaded photos into our editor tool, creating a book. The images appear fully backlit; the shadows, while dark, are still moderate in tone. When printing your photo book, you need to be aware that while a shadow appears moderate on screen, it will appear darker once printed.

My photos printed in a MILK Medium Landscape Photo Book 

As you can see, the printed result in a MILK Photo Book takes on a slightly different color tone because of the lack of artificial backlight; the shadows are darker and the details are more subtle.

The Difference in Print between formats
Not only is there a difference between on screen images and image in a printed photo book, there are also variables between papers. Depending on which paper or format you choose, your images can appear warmer or cooler, textured or smooth. Below I’ve included a Print Results Checksheet to help you choose a paper and format that will result in the best photo book for your printing images.

Print Results Checksheet

MILK Photo Books and Albums 

On screen                                                                                                            MILK 157gsm satin paper
Printed on 157gsm satin paper.
Shadows appear darker.
Details are subtle.
Works best with higher resolution, lighter photos.

All Moleskine Photos Books and Albums except the Moleskine Leather Album 

On screen                                                                                                            Moleskine 135gsm ivory paper
Printed on 135 gsm ivory-colored matt Moleskine paper.
Image appears softer.
Highlight appears warmer.
Textured print appearance.
Works best for vintage photos, Instagram effects and illustration/sketches/artwork.

CREAM and Moleskine Leather Album Tintoretto Paper
 On screen                                                                                                            Fedrigoni Tintoretto paper
Printed on Italian Fedrigoni Art Tintoretto paper.
Soft felt marked texture and chalk-white shade.
Images appear softer and warmer.
Paper is uncoated and therefore more coarse than our other papers.
Art paper appears similar to watercolor paper.

CREAM and Moleskine Leather Album Mohawk proPhoto Paper
On screen                                                                                                            Mohawk pro-Photo lustre
Printed on 190 gsm Mohawk proPhoto lustre paper.
Semi gloss lustre finish that does have a slightly glossy finish.
Images print crisp and sharp.
Excellent colour saturation which makes images appear dark and rich.

Photo Credit: Geoff Duncan. Website: