Colour management: Achieving your creative vision
12 March 2019
We catch up with AOP Affiliates Datacolor who talk us through how to achieve your creative vision through colour management.
Colour management: achieving your creative vision
Imagine spending time creating a brilliant image, only to realise that your on-screen colour was incorrect when you come to print and your time was wasted. This is one of the biggest challenges photographers face when crafting a photograph. There are a range of variables that can affect the accuracy of your final image, but ensuring the right processes are in place throughout your workflow will save you editing time during post-processing, and result in a true-to-life, attention-grabbing photograph. Ensuring the image you see during a shoot accurately matches the image on screen and subsequently in print will gives you more time to enjoy the creative process of composing and capturing a great shot, knowing you will achieve the final result you want.
Consistent colour throughout your workflow
No two devices display colour in the same way – each has its own gamut, and even monitors of the same make will display colour slightly differently. Ensuring consistent colour across devices, therefore can be achieved through effective colour management, and will ensure you are able to achieve the creative vision you had in mind when you first picked up your camera.
The first step to achieving consistent colour is accurate calibration. This will allow you to control colour at each stage of the process – from capture, to editing, to printing. Getting it right from the start will mean that you minimise the amount of work required during the post-processing stage to achieve the image you set out to create.
Accurate colour from capture to screen: calibrate your monitor
Calibrating your monitor is the key first step to controlling your colour. Monitor quality decreases over time, therefore you should calibrate your monitor at least once or twice a month to avoid the ‘drift’ that devices suffer, and the subsequent impact this will have on your results. If you have an older monitor, you may need to calibrate more frequently.
Another factor to consider is light – light is a huge factor in perfecting an image, and subtle changes in your working environment can have a huge impact on your work over time. Your eyes will be naturally adjusting and compensating for these changes, reducing the levels of accuracy in your image. A screen calibration tool will solve this issue for you by automatically adjusting the profile to cater to the changing light. This means that both your screen and eyes will adapt, preventing your colour perception from changing.
Getting it right from the start: white balance
Many photographers simply use in-camera settings to establish white balance. This is a good first step in achieving accurate colour – a true natural white will set the colour temperature and remove any unexpected or unwanted potential colour casts. However, it’s best to take it one step further. Utilising a colour or white card will ensure you have control over the white balance and exposure adjustments both in-camera and during post-processing.
A basic white balance acts as the basis for accurate colour, giving you the confidence to know that you are working from an exact image to get creative with. Once on screen, you know that you are accurately seeing the slight adjustments being made during your edit. This ensures accurate colour is translated into your printed image, and also ensures consistency between cameras. Simply take a raw shot of your grey card with every lighting setup. You can then use these as a reference when it comes to the processing stage and ensure the light you set out to capture your subject in is reflected in each of your images.
Saving you time and money
Effective colour management can not only improve the quality of your print, but save you time and money too. Sending an image to print, whether it is at home or via a service producer can be expensive, and if you’re having to repeat prints due to inaccuracies in colour, printing, paper, and ink, it all adds up. Taking the time to effectively colour manage your devices therefore, can be the key to improving the speed and accuracy of your work. By removing these additional variables through a streamlined colour management workflow, you can spend more time enjoying what you truly love – crafting your photographs and achieving your creative vision.
Discover how you can achieve your creative vision with Datacolor’s fastest and most accurate colour management tool, SpyderX.