How many professional photographers bother with color management?

Started Dec 17, 2011 | Discussions thread
Joergen Geerds Senior Member • Posts: 1,758
Re: How many professional photographers bother with color management?

ComputerDork wrote:

My photography teacher (professional or former professional) says that basically none of the professional photographers he knows these days bother to calibrate/profile their monitors or printers. He also says everyone just wants everything in sRGB, in his experience, and nobody has ever asked him for anything else. (I realize that people have to aware of enough stuff so that they don't send off some untagged AdobeRGB file or otherwise mess stuff up, I'm just talking about how many people mess with matching/calibration/etc.)

I don't think that is a true statement, besides, the sample size your teacher is using is probably too small (since we don't know haw many people he knows).

which color space to use is based on your experience and workflow, I rarely use srgb other than exporting for web, and some printers.

but color space and color calibration are also dependent on your printing technique (if you print at all): if you are printing on pigment or inkjet, you can't get around profiling every step, from input to output, since pigment printing has such a huuuuuge variation in output (everything affects the result). on the other hand, c-prints are excessively calibrated on the printer side (since they are usually in a commercial lab, there is no way that the lab would allow their printers to show any color drift, plus you have more or less only the choice between 2 substrates). this allows the output side of the process to be constant, meaning you have to worry less about calibration on your end.

I also have a friend who works at a professional printing place (doing mostly signs and reproductions using huge ink jet printers) and it sounds like none of their stuff is properly calibrated/profiled (some monitors are but they sound WAY overdue for recalibration).

again, one place doesn't mean all places are like this. the 5-6 places I know and use for printing in NYC are all almost OCD about color calibration, and have a huge arsenal of devices to ensure that stuff looks the way it's supposed to,

All of their color management seems to be done manually by "feel" or by taking a pantone swatchbook, comparing swatches to swatches printed out on the target printer with various values, finding which ones match

I would trust a good machine over what the human eye sees. while with a lot of training and experience specialists can see tiny color shifts, and can therefore act on that, machines have a better record of repeating results.

So is this typical among professional photographers or does it depend on what they're doing? Which ones tend to just take photos, adjust them on an uncalibrated monitor, and send them of in sRGB and which ones bother with all the profiling instrumentation and send stuff off to people who demand AdobeRGB/whatever?

no, i think the majority of professionals care about their products and their colors a lot. Uncle Bob on the other hand might not care at all.

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