Colour management: fine tune your kit for the most accurate colours possible

How to print more than one photo on a page

Four steps to perfect colour management

 

There are 4 main elements to your workflow if you want consistently accurate colour prints:


1. Set your DSLR colour space

Choose the colour space that you want to shoot in. Both sRGB and Adobe RGB are good. Adobe RGB colour space can cope with a wider range of colour than sRBG, but most monitors and colour printers can’t display all the colours able to be recorded in Adobe RGB.

Most modern DSLR cameras let you choose your colour space, but the way in which you select the colour space varies from camera to camera. Read your camera’s manual to find out how.

2. Calibrate your colour monitor

All computer screens vary in terms of colour and brightness. To be sure that your screen is producing a faithful version of the images you’ve shot, it’s essential that you calibrate your computer’s screen. This will ensure that there are no overt colour casts and that the gamma of the screen is set at a suitable level of brightness. We do this so that the screen will more faithfully mirror the final output from your chosen printer or other output device.

3. Get accurate colours in Photoshop

When you open an image in Photoshop, the way the image is handled depends on how you’ve configured Photoshop’s Colour Settings. Normally, you should choose to preserve the embedded colour profile.

This tells Photoshop not to change any colours but to be aware of the possible range of colours the image may contain. If you try to push the colours beyond the limits of the colour space duringi editing, some colours will be ‘out of gamut’.

4. Get your printer settings right

Once your computer screen is accurate you’ll have a much better chance of adjusting  the colour of your images with more accuracy. This should mean that your prints will reflect the edits you’ve made.

You can choose to let your printer manage the colours or you can get your image-editing software to handle it. There are pros and cons to each method andyou need to try both to see which yields the best results for you.

If you walk into an electrical store and stare at a wall of television screens on display, all showing the same picture, you’d be struck by how different the colours looked on each set.

 

The same goes for your computer screen. Each monitor has its own inherent level of brightness and colour.

Some screens produce warm images while others might have a blue cast. You probably don’t notice this because the human eye is a very clever tool.

Your eye (or your brain to be strictly accurate) can make even candlelight look normal rather than the sickly yellow that it really is.

But when you take a photograph in candlelight, if you don’t set the correct white-balance preset on your camera, you may see an image that looks wrong.

The truth is, your computer screen may also look wrong but your eyes use the human equivalent of auto white balance to make everything look okay. To make certain that your monitor is displaying colours accurately you need a calibration device.

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