Photographer's Corner: Color Calibration-Getting the Results You Want, by C. David Tobie
C. David Tobie has been involved in color management and digital imaging since its early development and is the Global Product Technology Manager at Datacolor, where he develops new products and features for their Spyder line of calibration tools. From the beginning, he has worked to see affordable solutions put in place for graphic design, pre-press, photography and digital imaging and then taught users how best to utilize them. He has consulted internationally for a wide range of color-related companies, and is best known by photographers for his writing and technical editing of texts and periodicals for the photo industry including Mastering Digital Printing, and Professional Photographer magazine, as well as his seminars on color and imaging at photographic workshops around the globe.
David’s work has received a long line of digital imaging product awards including the coveted TIPA award, and a nomination for the DesignPreis. From 2007-2010, he was recognized by Microsoft as an MVP in Print and Imaging. Much of David’s recent writing can be found at his photography blog and samples of his photography can be seen at www.cdtobie.com. The following interview with him includes answers to important questions about color calibration that will help you deliver images as true to the colors you captured when you took the photograph.
Color Calibration–Getting the results you want
What are some common misconceptions or mistakes new photographers can make about monitor calibration that you can clear up right off the bat?
How can I calibrate my monitor to match printer output? Do I need to print something (i.e. a color chart) and then use that in the calibration process?
Do I need to repeat this process for multiple printers or the same printer using different types of paper? Can you save multiple calibration profiles and switch between them as needed for the printer/paper you plan to use?
Concerning brightness, contrast and shadows; how can I make sure that these are accurate and that the brightness and exposure I see on my screen will match my prints and other monitors as best as possible?
Display calibration helps. Display calibration in a dim and consistent viewing environment helps more. That’s why Spyder4PRO and Spyder4ELITE try to get you to check yourambient light, and suggest the appropriate setting to relate to it. By doing this you'll get consistent display on any properly calibrated display, in its properly controlled lighting environment. Printing is another issue. For self-printing, tuning your custom output profiles to open the shadows on matte fine art paper, or adjusting the density range for baryta papers, can improve your soft proof and your final results, saving trial and error printing. For outsourced printing, getting their ICC profile and tuning your images to look good through it is an option. Printing Datacolor's Matrix Test Image through your outsource, and using it as a comparison print, is another helpful tool. You can find this in the Test Image folder in each of the Datacolor products.
How can I make sure that when I retouch an image it will look true to color and saturation in my online portfolio? Do I need to be concerned about different internet browsers?
When two monitor displays are properly calibrated, shouldn't they be exactly the same in terms of the colors and, reasonably speaking, the brightness they produce for a given image? Many times two monitors made by different manufacturers will both be calibrated properly but look different from one another. How can this be?
Our next Photographer's Corner will focus on retouching and feature expert analysis from Lori Smith, who has nearly 25 years experience as a photographic artist for Miller's Professional Imaging/Mpix. If you have a specific question regarding retouching, please enter it into the comments field below and we may include it in the upcoming post.
Keywords: C. David Tobie, Datacolor, Mpix, Photographer's Corner, Photographers Corner, Sypder4PRO, color calibration, print labs, printing
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