How many professional photographers bother with color management?

Started Dec 17, 2011 | Discussions thread
OP ComputerDork Regular Member • Posts: 225
My profiling habits

Actually I do profile my monitor. I even got a colormunki and profile my printer, which is much less critical than the monitor.

I was using these crappy ips monitors that would really only display 6 bits per channel, and to make things worse I ended up with a defective Spyder 3. After being unhappy with that for a while, I decided to shell out for a NEC PA241 with the custom puck and all is well

From what I have read, making sure the monitor is displaying correctly solves 80% of the problem because you have to have something that's properly showing you what you're dealing with and that something really needs to be what you're using to make adjustments.

With the ink jet, a custom profile seems much less important. If I print out a colorchecker chart from an artificially created Lab file in photoshop and then use the colormunki to compare the difference of some patches, with Epson ultra gloss and built in printer profiles I get something like 10 deltae off, and with my custom profile I get more like 5 on most things. I can tell the difference but its slight and I get the feeling most people don't care.

At the lab at school people just print to 3880s with the built in profiles (occasionally I'd use the Epson standard ICC profiles on the computer but that was pretty much just me trying to see if I could squeeze a little more color using ProPhoto RGB on certain photos). Everyone is quite happy with that.

With this horrible Lexmark color laser printer I have profiling makes a huge difference though. The built in color crap on this thing just mindlessly cranks up saturation to make pie charts look pretty and photos look horrible. Color checker patches will be 25 deltae off. But after profiling the accuracy gets down to about 10. (Not planning to print photos with this much, but it's nice to know photos will look right on there now if I want to print my own brochures or something.)

I printed some artificially created (lab colors typed in manually and drawn in PS) color checker charts at Sams Club. They were around 10 deltae off or about the same as the unprofiled Epson or profiled color laser (at least in color matching, not anything else).

I asked the people in lab coats at the sams photo center how often they calibrated their printer and they told me it was every morning or every time a paper roll changed. As for how, they pointed at this sheet feed scanner looking thing on top of their fuji frontier. They didn't seem to know anything about it other than press a button and put the special print in the slot thing, but at least they were doing in daily and on media changes.

I printed test charts there at different times and got noticeably different results. I suspect that this has something to do with the fact that the frontier is sitting out in the warehouse area within 20' of the main doors where outside air is blowing through all the time. As a result the thing is exposed to major temperature variation all the time, especially when it's freezing one day and 20F warmer the next.

Well, anyway, I hope the prof was just making that claim about printers and not monitors. I don't see how anyone can do anything without a properly calibrated monitor. Someone recently sent me a photo that was way too dark. Who wants to bet that someone took a correctly exposed photo and then darkened it to make it look right on their too-bright monitor?

Anyway, I'm learning about this stuff myself and not just listening to my photo I instructor.

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