Image differences between books and prints ordered in Photos for OS X and iPhoto

When you order a photo print or a photo book through Photos for OS X and iPhoto, we use different processes depending on the product you order. Learn about the processes and how they can result in slight variations between prints and books.

Because of a difference in the printing processes used for printing photos and printing books, you might notice slight variations in color, contrast, and glossiness in a picture ordered as both a print and as a picture in a book.

Prints use a three-color process

Prints you order through Photos or iPhoto are printed using a silver halide process. We develop the prints in the same way a traditional photo is developed, except the imaging is done with a laser instead of being projected through a negative. All colors, including black, are created with combinations of cyan, magenta, and yellow colorants.

Because of the difference between white on your screen and the white of the paper, prints might appear slightly darker than on screen. Some photos might have slight color variations, including:

  • Black and white prints have a slight pinkish hue.
  • Some whites might have blue undertones.

Books use a four-color process

Books you order through Photos or iPhoto are printed using a four-color process similar to traditional book printing. Colors are created with combinations of cyan, magenta and yellow, with black added to enhance contrast. This process differs from the silver halide process described above, and might cause an image printed in a photo book to look different than the same image as a print. 

You are also likely to see color variations between prints you order through Photos or iPhoto and those you print using your own color printer. This is because colorants and processes vary among different printer models and vendors.

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