Digital Photography – Color Management

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,808
    Commercial photographer Michael Stewart discusses the basics of digital photography including color and Color Management.

    Michael Stewart: Hi! I am Michael Stewart. I am a professional photographer and I am here teaching you simple, digital photography. In this segment, we will talk about color and Color Management. Colors starts in the camera. If you are recording on a jpeg file, it is very important that you make these settings in your camera. If you are shooting raw files, you have the advantage of changing it at any time later in a computer. For jpeg pictures, the white balance and the color space need to be set in the camera. White balance relates to what color temperature, light source you are using. Now you will see these settings on the back of the camera. They have a little light bulb or they have a picture of the sun, okay, and you want match that up to the light source that you are using and then that will be recorded to that color in the jpeg file.

    Also the color space. Now the color space settings that you usually have as an option are SRGB or Adobe RGB. If you make ink jet prints, Adobe RGB is a nice color space to work in but for most of what amateur photographers do, SRGB is going to be the color space, you want to stick with throughout your work flow. Now let's look on the computer at what color settings you need to make there. I am looking here at a raw file processor. A raw file processor allows you to change the color temperature of an image. Here, I am making it bluer or yellower, cooler warmer. Here I am making it magenta or green. The exposure, all of the aspects of the file, the sharpness, all that from the raw data that the camera recorded. Then you need to, in order to use the file, you need to output it as a jpeg or a tif or another format. So, this raw processor really takes the raw data from the camera and then makes adjustments to it and processes out to a file that can be used by another application like Photoshop. And display it on the web, print it from there. Very common problem with simple, digital photography is that the images on the monitor don't look like the prints. Now, here on the left we have an image that is corrected pretty nicely for color and saturation and then we have the print that we got back on the right and it is very bright and under saturated. Now this is a problem that the monitor has not being calibrated. There are hardware devices to calibrate a monitor, to get it to be very close to what the print is going to be but without one of these devices, you can simply make a test print and then adjust your monitor to match the color and brightness of that print. Then subsequently, images that you edit on the monitor will more closely match the prints that you get back. So there you have the basics of Color Management. Next, we will talk about editing your images in a program such as Photoshop.