David Brooks wrote an article for Shutterbug on why prints tend to be too dark:
Prints Too Dark
Brooks hasn’t got a clue here (at least in terms of his original article on the subject). I’ve told him so but he’s in denial. He’d prefer to come up with some color management conspiracy theories rather than just use those tools properly.
The first issue is, do you have your display calibration luminance set to match the viewing conditions of the print next to the display? Prints too “dark”? Maybe but 99 times out of 100, its just the prints are darker
than the display because either the viewing booth is too low (assuming it can be adjusted which many allow) OR the display calibration luminance is too high.
Some LCD displays provide little (not enough) provisions for dialing down luminance. jjlphoto’s post is spot on. That’s a problem. The alternative, other than getting a decent display system is to raise the viewing conditions of the print viewing booth. The idea is to produce a match at this location only. Moving the print outside this environment, using differing illuminants in terms of color and intensity isn’t an issue, you simply can’t run back into the digital darkroom and look at the display, hoping for a match. If you dial in the digital darkroom conditions to produce a match, I can assure you that short of viewing the prints under some really odd conditions, you’ll like what you see (you’ll adapt to the environment).
lastly, its super critical to have an output profile for the print conditions, one that’s not only being used properly for soft proofing (using full screen mode and the simulate check boxes for comparing print to screen) but also being used for output. A lot of labs use this silly, half baked “color management” workflow where they provide a profile for soft proofing but demand you send the document for output in sRGB. If you can’t use the profile for conversions, control the rendering intent, pre or post edit the data based on that exact conversion, you’re fooling yourself into getting the much desired screen to print match.