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Understanding The Importance Of Colour Management

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Category: General Photography

Why The Colour Management Process Is Important - Victor Aberdeen explains why colour management is important.

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VictorMuch has been written about the quality of a camera’s viewfinder, yet the time you spend looking through one is short compared to the time spent viewing the photograph on your monitor.

It takes a great deal of practise and skill to be a talented photographer who can capture every last detail of the story into a single frame. But how do you take your creative work to the next level where strangers stop in their tracks to look at your work?

Your talent comes up with ideas for photographs, but it’s your knowledge that turns those ideas into an effective photograph. A key area of this knowledge is an understanding of colour management.

The colour management process begins before you press the shutter release; as you need to be aware, or better still, be in control of what light is illuminating the subject. Most photographers shoot in "Raw" format as this retains most of the original detail of the photograph, including all of the colours covering the Adobe RGB colour space. Simplistically let’s imagine Raw can show all the colours from a box of 100 crayons. You now need to view these images on your monitor; however most monitors only cover the smaller sRGB colour space, or a smaller box of only 60 crayons.

What if you are black and white photographer?  In a proper black and white image there is no colour, only tone. Tone is defined by a curve that approximately matches how you and I see those tones, from black to white and all the shades of grey between. On screen the black and white image should be made up of three perfectly matched curves for red, green and blue. This applies to any highlight or shadow within a colour picture too. Whilst looking at the screen you would expect to see all the colour to have the correct tone applied.

By putting these two aspects of tone and colour together, you are left with the foundations of your picture. As a photographer you would not accept a viewfinder which filtered key elements from the picture, because you understand it is important to get a clear view of the picture you are creating. So why would someone choose to edit their taken photographs on a monitor which could do just that?

The quality of your creativity depends on producing consistently excellent photography that demands you intimately know what is in the pictures you are so passionate about.

For photographers who are thinking of purchasing a new monitor take the EIZO ColorEdge range of monitors into consideration. Visit EIZO for more information. 

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