Color Management for Digital Photographers | An Introduction
by Brenda K. Hipsher – July 5th, 2012
It’s time we stopped asking the questions “are you using color management” and started asking the question “are you using color management properly” We are long past the point where there’s any reason anyone can come up with for NOT color managing our digital color workflow. Any serious photographer, whether professional or amateur, understands that without color management there’s just no way to control or predict what the file will look like when it’s on screen or in a print.
So let’s look at all the moving parts we need to control to get the image that is the largest color gamut and the truest reproduction of the scene that we visualized in our mind’s eye.
- Monitor – if we’re not calibrating and profiling our monitor we just simply have no idea if what we’re seeing on the screen bears any resemblance to what is actually in the file.
- Camera calibration – by using a custom camera profile we can characterize the particular sensor in our camera so that colors reproduce more exactly in the file.
- Printer profiles -whether we’re downloading profiles from the paper manufacturer’s site or making custom profiles, we need to know HOW to use them in connection with Photoshop and our printer driver.
- Projectors – How many times have you heard someone apologize for how bad an image looks on a screen from a digital projector? There is something you can do to make sure that your images project more closely to what you’re seeing on your laptop screen.
Before we go any farther in this discussion let’s be clear about what we’re talking about. To do color management in digital photography you need an instrument and software. The software analyzes color, luminance, and contrast that the instrument measures. So no matter where you enter the color management loop above, you’ll need an instrument and software to run it in order to accomplish the goal of calibrating and profiling the device in question.
Over the next few days we’ll be publishing blogs on each of the four areas above to help you understand why it’s important to color manage all parts of your color workflow and we’ll give you some overviews of options available for each of the areas.
Whatever your level of expertise you need color management so you can accurately predict and repeat what you want to capture, show on a monitor or projector, or print. Stop guessing. Start knowing. Color management solutions from X-Rite let your inner color perfectionist out and give you the control you need.
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