Color Management For Photographers

Colors are often disregarded or misunderstood. If you plan to keep your photos to yourself and have no plans of printing it, submitting it to a client or maybe post it in social media, then you don’t have to bother understanding color management. When color is shared, viewed in different display or reproduced to different media, then it must be managed.

Colors are common for us to see everyday but what we don’t see is how they can easily deviate and you would question its complex behaviour because they are suppose to be simple and straightforward. I’ve been dealing with color since the mid 90s and up until now, I still encounter a lot of people working with colors who has no idea what they are dealing with.

Is the red in prints and the one in the actual fabric the same? If you’re buying the gown online, can you trust your monitor colors? Colors are not as simple as you see it.

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True Colors

The Eizo ColorEdge is one of the finest monitor for photographer. It has a 4k resolution and comes with a built-in calibrator. For this 31" inch monitor, price is close to P300k.

The Eizo ColorEdge is one of the finest monitor for photographer. It has a 4k resolution and comes with a built-in calibrator. For this 31″ inch monitor, price is close to P300k.

One time, I posted a photo of my newly purchased macbook pro being calibrated. In the caption I said, “because even a new mac needs to be calibrated”. I got some few messages telling me that they thought that when using a mac, their colors are always correct.

If you’re shooting professionally, getting the right colors from your monitor is imperative in producing the right quality. Calibration is the key in getting a true colors from your monitor and not even a mac is spared from calibration. Although a mac may have its advantages when it comes to color but there’s more to consider when deciding what monitor to use. Continue reading “True Colors” »

Managing Your Colors

Early June, I was tasked to talk about color management during the Graphic Expo in Manila. I was hoping to see more photographers attend this type of seminar since they are part of the workflow. In fact, the source of file starts from photographers and in some cases where the photographer prints their own images, it also ends with them.

Here's one device that can calibrate your monitor and your printer. Colormunki by X-rite.

Here’s one device that can calibrate your monitor and your printer. Colormunki by X-rite.

Unfortunately, only a few photographers attended the seminar and most were digital and conventional printers. There’s a lot of things to consider when managing your colors and the most important thing you should do is to understand the characteristic of colors and how we reproduce it when capturing and outputting it. Continue reading “Managing Your Colors” »

Back To Megapixels Race

Left side is Canon 6d 20.2MP, 24-105L f/16. Right side is Sony A7s 12MP, 24-70 f/16 Bottom image shows 200 percent view of respective files.

Left side is Canon 6d 20.2MP, 24-105L f/16. Right side is Sony A7s 12MP, 24-70 f/16
Bottom image shows 200 percent view of respective files.

Canon recently released their upgrade to 5D Mark III. This time they are maxing out the megapixel a 35mm sensor can accommodate. The new 5DS and 5DS R is packed with 50 megapixels. I feel bad for the photodiode having no room to breathe. In some forums, they claim that it’s not technically possible to get effective 50 megapixels.

Of course the laws of physics cannot be recreated so when you amplify one aspect of the sensor in recording light, you’ll have to pull down some other aspects. In the case of Canon, the newly released 5D chose megapixel over ISO. They claim that in commercial photography, ISO is not an issue since shots are mostly done in a controlled lighting environment. Continue reading “Back To Megapixels Race” »

Shooting Both JPG and RAW

I used the raw file (picture in the middle) as my working file and used jpeg as my reference that resulted into a PSD file.

I used the raw file (picture in the middle) as my working file and used jpeg as my reference that resulted into a PSD file.

There was this one forum that I was following about post processing and somewhere in the middle of an in-depth discussion, one photographer posted that there is no reason to edit your photos anymore. Plain photography skills plus jpeg format is all you need to nail the money shot.

I think the admin deleted the post after all the forum members went ballistic and flooded the forum with novel length posts. In my case, I actually shoot both. I love to tinker the settings of picture style or control and find the tone that I want the shot to come out. I need to be motivated by the photos that I see in my lcd during the actual shoot.

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Do You Know How To Use Your Curves?

I’ve been using Photoshop for almost 20 years already. If there’s one tool that impressed me the most back then, it was the magic wand. My first graphic effects that was published in the cover of our school magazine was a change of hair color using Hue Saturation adjustment. Of course it wouldn’t have been possible without the magic wand selection of the hair.

Those days of bevel and shadow effects have been long gone in the trends and now working with Photoshop professionally, there’s one tool I cannot live without, it’s the curves adjustment. My typical retouching would eat up 70% of my adjustment layers. I use it for skin tone correction, contouring, contrast and a lot more.

Skin tone correction using Adjustment Curves

Skin tone correction using Adjustment Curves

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Managing Your Colors

If you ask a photographer 4 years ago if he calibrates his monitor, he’d give you a big question mark in his face. Color management has been an integral part of digital imaging even during it’s inception during the late 80’s. Photography, having shifted to digital as well is not exempted in this case.

color management

Although, many photographers calibrate their monitors, still the understanding of how the entire color management workflow affects the result of their actions needs more comprehension. Managing your colors is actually given attention from the very start of capturing your image up to the last part of printing it.

Here are some misnomer in the practice of color management:

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Getting The Right Monitor Part II:

In the first part of this article, I mentioned about screen technology, Bit Depth and Resolution of monitors. All these plays a major role in the selection of monitor for photographers.

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Part I: Getting The Right Monitor

After all the lens, strobes and other photography accessories, it’s about time that you consider getting the right monitor that can render accurate colors. This is the stage when you’ll be raising your quality up another notch. Choosing the right monitor can sometimes be confusing given the many brands available and geeky specs. Continue reading “Part I: Getting The Right Monitor” »

Digital Workflow

Every photographer has his own workflow that fits his style and requirement. The workflow starts from downloading the images to output either for print or web. It may look very simple but from the many photographers I’ve met, it is surprising to know that there are a number of variety they use to achieve almost the same output. Continue reading “Digital Workflow” »