Better Color Better Perception – John Paul Caponigro

     

by Sandra Kehoe – July 18th, 2017

Great Tools for Great Color – Guest blog by John Paul Caponigro

Good tools get the job done well; great tools change the way I see. I’ve found it extremely valuable to consider how each tool I use in my workflow affects my perception. My free Gear Guide surveys all of the tools I use in my digital photography workflow. Here, I expand on the color management tools I use.

great color John Paul Caponigro

Image by John Paul Caponigro

Good tools get the job done well; great tools change the way I see. I’ve found it extremely valuable to consider how each tool I use in my workflow affects my perception. My free Gear Guide surveys all of the tools I use in my digital photography workflow. Here, I expand on the color management tools I use.

Color management is about much more than consistency, which is important. Color management is all about perception. How can I work if I can’t trust that what I’m seeing is really there?

Once I can trust the color I see, I begin to look more carefully and train my eyes to achieve new levels of sensitivity and precision.

I literally start seeing subtleties in color that I wouldn’t have noticed before. And I start visualizing new possibilities that wouldn’t have occurred to me otherwise. After I achieve color accuracy I can be confident that the pleasing color effects I produce will be faithfully reproduced.

Getting great color starts with profiling my camera. Every individual camera differs, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Using X-Rite’s ColorChecker Passport Photo I see clearer more saturated color when I first look at my images in a Raw processor like Lightroom. (Of course, good color management settings are needed with the software you use; Lightroom does this automatically; Photoshop can be set in less than a minute.) Some of the differences are subtle, but that doesn’t mean they’re insignificant. Some of the differences a camera profile makes are substantial. I’m always impressed at how much better the rendition of blues are when I use profiles for my Canon cameras. After getting set up for using camera profiles once, I haven’t had to do anything more to get better color – I get it every time I look at my files. Camera profiles lay the foundation for all of my image editing.

Great Color with John Paul Caponigro

Getting great color continues with profiling my monitor. A monitor profile is probably the most important profile in my workflow. I’m lost if I can’t see what my color really looks like. X-Rite’s i1Display Pro does an excellent job profiling my monitor. Unlike profiling a camera, which is a one time affair, monitors benefit from monthly profiling. Thankfully this only takes a few minutes. We need a good monitor (a related aside, I use NEC’s) with the ability to precisely set brightness and white point and capable of a wide color gamut approximating Adobe RGB offers real benefits. Today we can print some colors that most monitors can’t display. This trend begs for future advances in monitors.

X-RiteToolsX-RiteToolsgreat color with X-RiteTools
Getting great color culminates with profiling my printers. It’s really the combination of ink and paper that’s profiled, so I need a profile for every paper I use. Making printer profiles isn’t rocket science though the technology behind today’s easy to use tools is advanced. Using my own printer profiles I’ve been able to get better neutrals and more saturated color. I’ve always said, “It’s the last 10% in quality that separates good prints from great prints.” Color management is essential for getting the very best prints of my images.

Great Color withi1Photo Pro 2 Print profiling

 

I’m also careful to control the light in which my prints are displayed. I use full spectrum Solux 3500K.

To see, we need light – and color is our response to light. What could be more important to visual artists than accurately reproducing the color in their images? Anyone working digitally, who cares about color, needs color management. From capture to final print, color management is essential at every stage of my imaging workflow.

Artist, author, educator John Paul Caponigro is an X-Rite Coloratti whose clients include Adobe, Apple, Canon, and Epson. Download John Paul’s free Gear Guide and get access to more resources in his online library.

Learn more about X-Rite Photo and Video color management solutions at XRitePhoto.com

Categories: Camera Profile, Color Balance, Color Management, Coloratti, ColorChecker, Displays, Guest Blog, i1Display Pro, Monitor Calibration, Perception, Printer Profiling, Profiles, workflow | Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply