Printing night photo

To keep a night photo from printing dark as opposed to what I see on my monitor, I have heard photographers say they increase luminance by 10% or so.
In Photoshop what is this luminance adjustment they are speaking of?
Is it exposure, or the brightness/contrast , or what.
I don’t have the best monitor, and my computer is an older model, so purchasing new monitor adjustment tools won’t work for me. I have a spider express 2 that a friend gave me so fancy monitor adjustments are a bit out of my league right now.
I was hoping for a tip on a quick tweak I could do before I send it to be printed.

Without calibrating your monitor you’re really shooting in the dark (excuse the unintentional pun). If you can, try calibrating your monitor luminance to 80 (for print) and then adjust your image to look the proper brightness. If you can’t calibrate then I would use a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and take the brightness up about 25 points depending on how dark the image is while watching the histogram and hope for the best!


If you have Lightroom you may want to try printing from it. There’s a brightness and contrast output adjustment that has no affect on your image, only what goes to the printer.

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Even using a great monitor, well calibrated to 80 cd/m2, perfect color management and using soft proofing before printing using Lightroom and my Epson 3880, I rarely get it right the first print. I entered a print recently in a juried show and made 10 letter sized prints before being satisfied and moving on to a bigger print. As I have joked many times, photography is God’s gift to obsessive compulsives.

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I’ve never printed an Astro photo before and am scared to think about how it would come out in print. Dark subject matter is tough to make look good in print in my opinion since if you do lighten you might not like how the details looks when enlarged.

Does anyone know of any software where you can precisely adjust monitor brightness? Maybe an open source?
I had tried installing Spyder pro 5 about a year ago and my computer wouldn’t install it.

For calibrating/measuring brightness I would highly recommend DisplayCal, it’s a free open source software that is light years better than what comes with the calibrator. It won’t adjust brightness for you (none of them do), it just measures it and then you manually change your screen brightness until you reach the desired value.