Why Color Manage?
by Dave Mobbs – February 27th, 2015
Given that you’re already on the X-Rite website, and that you may have come to this page through one of our social media channels around the world this question may already be answered. That said, many of the customers we speak to feel like they should be using color management tools, but they haven’t got it 100% clear as to what the main benefit they derive is.
‘So what?’ you say. ‘If I’m doing it, why does it matter whether I know what the key benefits are, so long as I have an accurate screen?’ In truth though, if we don’t fully buy into something, then it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll fully commit to doing it well and consistently – meaning we won’t actually get the best results.
So, now that we’ve justified the reason for the blog… phew, we can get on with answering the question.
We could probably summarise the answer to this question, with a quote from one of X-Rite’s Coloratti Masters, Adrian Weinbrecht:
“Would a concert pianist perform on a piano that wasn’t tuned?
Would a F1 racer race in a car that wasn’t tuned?
Would a serious photographer view a monitor that wasn’t calibrated?
Without Calibration how do you confidently know what you’re looking at? Calibration is tuning for your monitor. If you don’t calibrate you might as well shoot blindfolded. Good Calibration shows you exactly what you’ve got. It’s even critical with Black and White, as calibration isn’t just about color – it’s about all the tones from the lightest white to the darkest black.“
We genuinely couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
In talking with our customers, there are four key benefits which consistently come across.
This is a big one, and it starts from when we take our first shot. A basic white balance in the camera gives us confidence that we have an accurate image to work from. Better still, capturing the ColorChecker Passport before shooting gives us even more control across a full range of color.
Once on screen, the ability to edit and adjust images, knowing that you are accurately seeing the slight adjustments you make, means you can feel free to edit (or not) as you feel.
Finally, when you hit the print button, knowing that the printed image will look like what you’re seeing on screen and the image you first shot is a great feeling.
More time to shoot
For most photographers, both professional and amateur, what they truly love is actually taking photographs; the creative process of composing and capturing a great shot. The editing process is also enjoyable, but only when it’s seamless and you’re getting the results you really want.
A quick, easy-to-use and color accurate workflow streamlines that editing process, enabling many photographers to get back to what they love doing: taking photographs!
Producing great photos, whether that’s the time to shoot and edit, or the costs involved in ink and paper to print your images, can be an expensive exercise.
If you earn money from your photography, then editing time wasted because you’re not looking at the right colors on screen is time lost. Clients won’t pay for that time, and you can’t be doing another job if you’re sitting in front of a computer.
If you send an image to print, whether at home or through a lab, and it doesn’t come back the way you want it, each print can be pretty expensive. Good color management prevents wasted time and repeated printing, saving ink and paper.
When you’re putting your name to a photo, whether on screen or in print, the standards you set for that work come across. For many photographers, a color managed workflow is about ensuring that whether it’s a piece of work produced at the beginning of the month or the end, the quality of the final result is the same. The regular calibration of your workflow ensures that the ‘drift’ which our devices suffer from doesn’t impact our results.
By controlling the color in our workflow, we remove the variables. We allow ourselves to focus on the craft of our photography, and we give ourselves confidence. Why color manage? Because color management is like tuning for our workflow, and no one wants to be singing out of tune.
If you want to learn about how color management can help you get more from your photography, keep an eye out for our free webinars, delve into our extensive video archive, come and see us at an event or just get in