Digital Imaging Reporter

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Tech Devices Are Color Blind

Cameras, Monitors and Printers Don’t Display Color Accurately, or Consistently

August 2011 By Michael McEnaney
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In order to ensure the most effective images possible, pro photographers often spend hours ahead of a shoot prepping gear and lighting, and then days uploading and post-processing after the shoot; but oftentimes they omit the key component of the workflow process—color management.
Color management is the process of ensuring that colors are consistent, accurate and repeatable throughout the entire digital photo workflow. Historically, it has been a time-consuming and complex process. Given the advances in color technology and the affordability of new tools, consistent true-to-life color results—from capture to edit to final print and display—are now easily within reach for photographers of all levels.
With today’s high-tech devices, why do photographer’s still need to manage color? “It’s a misconception to think that high-end digital cameras, monitors and printers produce perfect color—no matter what marketing materials may say,” said Dave Faulkner, product manager, Imaging Color Solutions at Datacolor. “While today’s devices are miles ahead in color reproduction from those of even five years ago, every device captures and displays colors differently.”
Individual devices, from cameras to displays to printers, have their own color range and color bias. Even two monitors of the same brand, model and age will have differences. And all these tiny color differences can add up throughout the workflow to have a negative impact on the final result.
For professionals, the benefits of color calibration are significant. In addition to control of the resulting images, managing color throughout the workflow will save significant time and resources in editing and trial-and-error printing processes. Once all devices are calibrated, they can be sure the proofs they show their clients represent the final results.
For amateurs and enthusiasts, the benefits are equally rewarding, as they’ll begin producing output that is more consistent with what they actually captured. Even the iPad can now be used for color-managed display.
In order to produce accurate color, your customers should take a few simple steps to ensure the devices they use are properly calibrated. Among the available color calibration tools today are Datacolor’s Spyder family of products and X-Rite’s ColorMunki products.

                                                      A Fully Color-Managed Workflow

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