How many professional photographers bother with color management?

Started Dec 17, 2011 | Discussions thread
PenguinPhotoCo Veteran Member • Posts: 6,284
Someone has to manage color don't they?

I started working in this field doing catalogs and pre press and that was before the average joe could afford color calibration on a PC so I learned to do much if it by the numbers, learned about rgb vs cmyk and color shifts. I learned about white balance in college with video and it was a necessity if you wanted skin tones to be remotely accurate.

Along comes digital photography and no more picking film color temps or messing with filters. AWB or presets got pretty close, and I used what I learned doing catalogs to do the rest. You could also let the labs handle color correction (for a fee of course) on any prints/albums you did.

Move forward a bit and thigns change - custs want more processes images so 'true color skin tones' are an opinion thing, custs get files so the lab can't be relied on to correct color anymore...time to do it myself!

So I started with a calibrated monitor and expodisk (among other things) and started getting better color and images and stopped letting the lab mess with things.

Then a year ago I got a printer and that added a whole nother level of complexity - I got a color munki and passport and calibrated my cameras, different lighting types, my monitors and my output. Cost was $450 ish and a few hours of time - just once.

WOW! It makes a big difference.

So you can get pretty close without calibrating anything, and with experience of a pro you do get pretty close, but calibrating everything gives you better results and more consistent results. I know when I shoot a baby or family many times they'll always have the same color instead of 'close enough'
Learn the science. Practice the art.

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