Digital Cameras–Nature’s Palette, Printer’s Plate

A personal pet peeve: No one seems to pay attention to the fact that getting a good rendering in CMYK is only half the battle to a stunning image. Another variable in determining the way color is perceived is sharpening. Sharpening restores a semblance of the scene’s original contrast into the print. Photographers venturing into the world of CMYK need to know this.

Jim Malcom
Marketing Manager of Electronic Photography
Sony Electronics’ Business & Professional Group
Simply put, color management enables photographers to meet the expectations of their clients, and allows photographers to do what they do best—be creative—without having to become color scientists.

When shooting digitally, the photographer relies on a computer monitor, rather than a Polaroid, to act as the first checkpoint for evaluating the photograph, including lighting, composition and color. The only way to predict on screen what a proofer is capable of printing is to profile the monitor using color management tools.

The client defines the use of the image, a profile is made of the output device, and those properties are used to calibrate and manage color throughout the workflow.

What is viewed on the monitor is a very close representation of what will be printed on the proofer, and the proof is very close to the results of the final print on press.

Michael Shea
Senior Product Marketing Manager
ColorFlow
The use of ICC profiles continues to grow as does the need for tools for profiling devices accurately. The ability to make ICC profiles for digital cameras is still relatively new and, at this time, somewhat limited. Currently, it is only viable to make ICC digital camera profiles for controlled studio environments with specific lighting (i.e., daylight or strobe).

Default profiles are good, and custom-built profiles are better. I believe the best profiles can be achieved when using profiling software that includes visual profile “tuning” tools like what is available in our ColorFlow software.

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