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How to BRIGHTEN images after turning down monitor

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So I needed to get a new computer because mine was having issues. We ordered the iMac with the 5K retina display. After setting it all up, I calibrated using the Spyder4Elite HD. The monitor calibrated at much brighter than my old one. I figured with the 5K display, that had something to do with it. I turned down the brightness by a notch or two anyway, as it was just too bright for my eyes. 

I began editing away and loving the results. I finished a few sessions and before I order my clients' prints, I decided to order a few test prints. I ordered form ProDPI, my normal lab (I also ordered from Miller's & Artsy Couture just to see their results), but ProDPI is my go-to lab for most prints and products. 

The test prints just came back and they are dark and dull. So I turned down my monitor brightness to match. But now the images on the screen are also dark and dull, naturally. 

When I bring the monitor brightness back up, they are bring and full of light (and yes, I understand the difference between the LCD monitor and a print) but now I'm trying to adjust my already edited images to have the brightness and luminosity they had before I turned down the monitor. What is the best approach to BRIGHTEN the images, without washing them out?? I'm trying all sorts of adjustment layers and various actions for brightening and bringing up mid-tones, but I feel like everything just looks too washed out or too warm. I don't want to simply lighten them up or warm them up, but want them to have the BRIGHTNESS they do when the monitor is turned up. 


Edited by PeanutPip
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Right. So now that I turned down the brightness to match my prints, how to I know make my already-edited images have the brightness and luminosity they did when the screen was brighter? I feel like just raising the exposure or brightness just washes them out, instead of living them the life they had before turning down the screen brightness. 

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You're living in a dreamland, Jennifer.  Your photos can't EVER look the way they looked on your stupidly bright screen.  You have to work within the bounds of reality, no matter how little you like it.

The good news is, it will only take you a day or two to be used to your proper-brightness screen, and everything will look fine again.

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What's frustrating is that it was only 2 bars brighter before and my images looked marvelous. I suppose you are right though, my eyes will adjust. I'm just worried about the consistency of the session I'm currently editing. 

I want everything bright and beautiful. Wahh! 

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