Profiles - I'm now totally confused!

Started Apr 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
MOD Victor Engel Forum Pro • Posts: 17,523
Re: Profiles - I'm now totally confused!

Buzzdarkmonth wrote:

Can someone please explain or point me in the right direction for a simple solution to my query.

The answers here are pretty good, but allow me to address your specific questions.

Please excuse my ignorance, but I'm trying to find out about profiles and how they should be used, but the more research I'm doing the more confused I'm getting.

So, I calibrate my monitor and create a profile, but now I'm starting to wonder why? What exactly is this achieving?

It is installing what you might think of as an intepreter from what the software believes a color is to how your monitor actually displays colors. It compensates for biases inherent to your display. Without the profile, the monitor will display pictures using its built-in biases. The result is colors that are wrong.

If I use my own printer, should I not be using the colour profile for that?


You should be using the profile for the printer/paper/ink combination you will be using. Printer drivers usually have options to select paper type and my have additional options to add additional adjustments. Or, you can profile the ink/printer/paper combination if you have the hardware and software to do it. Note that the printer driver paper selection options will conflict with a printer profile, so you need to use the same settings when profiling as when using the profile.

Then, If I send my images to an external printer, what profile should I be using?

By external printer, I assume you mean a printing service. You should find out what their requirements are and do what they suggest. It's likely you will just send them images with a standard profile like sRGB, and they will take care of the printer profile. Some will take files already prepared for their printer profiles, and they may even make those profiles available for download. If you use these profiles, you can get an idea whether your image will be out of the printer gamut without having to make a print. And then, of course, you make a decision on what to do about any out of gamut issues.

When do I embed the profile?

You should embed a profile any time you use one. That way software using the image knows what the data in the image file are intended to represent. Raw files from the camera don't have a profile. But as soon as you interpret the raw file and save it as something using, say, RGB data, the software will be interpreting it within some profile. Whatever profile that is should be included in the saved file. Most photo editing software does this for you automatically.

Monitor profiles don't get included in an image file. They get installed in the operating system. They should be updated regularly since monitor color response changes over time.

Printer profiles are only used upon sending a file to a particular printer.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

I hope all the answers you've been getting have helped and haven't confused you still further.

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