Two Keys to Accurate Prints with Tim Grey
by Sandra Kehoe – July 7th, 2016
There’s no question that color management is a somewhat complicated topic. But as photographers, we don’t need to fully understand all of the complexity of color management in order to produce prints with consistent and predictable color. In fact, there two critically important keys that form the foundation of what photographers need to know about color management.
First, there is display calibration. What this really boils down to is that you want to make sure that what you see on your monitor display is an accurate reflection of the information in your image files. The process of display calibration is made easy with tools such as the ColorMunki Display or the i1Display Pro, both from X-Rite.
These tools guide you through the process of calibrating and profiling your display, guiding you through the process and enabling the software to build a display profile, so that your display will be as accurate as possible.
Today’s displays are incredibly advanced, and reasonably accurate right out of the box. But don’t let that lead to complacency. Calibrating your display is the first step to success in a color-managed workflow.
Manage your Printing
The second key to accurate prints is to employ proper color management when printing. Fortunately, this aspect of your workflow is easier than ever.
To begin with, for most printers and third-party papers you can now obtain profiles that are quite accurate and completely free. In addition, there are a variety of tools, such as the ColorMunki Photo package that enable you to build your own highly accurate custom printer profiles.
What you want is a high-quality profile for the specific printer, ink, and paper combination you will use to print a photo. Then make sure to set that profile as the output profile in the software you’re using to print your photos. Finally, make sure that the printer settings are established correctly, and that additional color adjustment is turned off. In other words, you want the profile for the current print conditions to control how the color information in your photo is sent to the printer.
Want to Learn More?
With a properly calibrated monitor display and a high-quality profile used with appropriate software settings, you’ll be well on your way to consistently producing prints that put a smile on your face.
Want to take the next step toward better understanding color management? Get a free article from Pixology magazine.
You can get a free issue of Pixology magazine that features an in-depth article titled “Color Management Overview” that will provide more detail about implementing a color-managed workflow. Get this article (and other articles in the same issue) by signing up here.