agement because we don’t realize how
much better the results can be, or we
use a color shotgun approach and then
end up printing something over and over
again. There are, however, simple steps to
enabling color management to work.
1. CALIBRATE YOUR CAMERA
Camera calibration is a simple matter of
white balancing. Sometimes auto can work
against you, so use either a preset or custom white balance for camera calibration.
2. CALIBRATE YOUR MONITOR
No monitor is calibrated to a photographer’s specifications out of the box. Yes,
your images may look great on screen,
but you are actually viewing erroneous
assumptions with your files’ color and tonal
data. Using a monitor calibration device
(such as the X-rite i1Display Pro or Data-color Spyder 4) to measure the color and
contrast ratio of your display will change
the way you process your images (for the
better). To calibrate your monitor, select
a White Point (D65 is recommended), a
Luminance value (Native) and a Contrast
Ratio (also Native). Your device will give
you easy step-by-step instructions with
these settings in place.
3. WORK IN THE LARGEST COLOR
SPACE YOU CAN WITH RAW FILES
ProPhotoRGB is the most common
wide-gamut color space, and it is deep-
seated within a 16-bit working file. Adobe
Lightroom automatically takes advantage
of ProPhotoRGB/16 bit; in Photoshop, you
must establish these parameters in Adobe
Camera Raw because the default raw
workflow is sRGB and 8 bit. In most cases,
a color space is not embedded within
a raw file from the camera, only when
it is within your workflow.
4. EXPORT FILES IN sRGB
When you export your files for your lab or
printer (especially images that will appear
online), make sure to use the color space
sRGB, an 8-bit color space suitable for
screen and print. The work that you do
processing your images in ProPhotoRGB
and 16 bit will be centered for an 8-bit
sRGB file when exported. Color and tonal
values in larger color spaces, such as
ProPhotoRGB or AdobeRGB, can be
misjudged if not viewed in a color-man-aged and calibrated environment. The
only exception to this is if your lab or client
actually request a specific color space or, if
you have an inkjet printer in-house, there
is no need to convert the color space.
Eddie Tapp is a professional photographer
and recognized expert in digital imaging
and workflow, color management and
Photoshop (Photoshop Hall of Fame 2006).
He is a Canon Explorer of Light, Delkin
ImageMaker and X-Rite Coloratti.
BASICS TO KNOW
• Once a device is calibrated, it can
then be measured and profiled in
color and density values to become
a color space, or ICC profile.
• After you’ve profiled a device,
you can manage your image
color space from, within and
to these devices.
• A color space (i.e. sRGB) is
sometimes confused with color
mode (RGB, CMYK and Grayscale,
Above: Your monitor’s color space is limited
compared to what you see in person, but
a calibrated monitor will always do more
justice to true color. Right: The devices to
calibrate are cameras, monitors, projectors,
printers and scanners.