The whole purpose of colour management is to keep the captured image colour the same or at least as close as possible from the camera through to the final print.
Having a a colour managed setup gives your client the best possible end result. I have seen many instances of processed images and prints where the colours are desaturated, have colour casts and a number of other problems. Photo’s of this type are most likely to be provided by shoot and burn photographers where quality of the images are secondary. The general rule is the more you spend, the better the end result. This is true from both the photographer and client’s perspective.
How can we get the best quality from our cameras.
- Set the camera to capture in RAW and process the image using ProPhoto RGB if using Adobe Lightroom/Camera Raw/Photoshop. ProPhoto RGB is Lightroom and Camera Raw’s native colour space so you won’t have to change any settings.
- If shooting in JPEG, set the camera to use the best possible colour gamut or colour range. In a pro camera, you should be able to use sRGB or Adobe RGB. sRGB has the lowest colour gamut and Adobe RGB the largest.
- Set your camera to capture at the highest bit rate.
- Your colour monitor is the main soft proofing device. It needs to be as good as possible and should cover 100% or better of the Adobe RGB colour gamut. There are a number of high end monitors and even a few laptops that will meet these requirements but they are much more expensive that the normal off the shelf monitors and will usually start around several thousand dollars for a Dell monitor and up to five or six thousand dollars plus for an Eizo. There are no cheap short cuts here. Don’t assume your monitor will be ok if you want the best result.
- A most important step is to calibrate your monitor. To do this you will need a monitor calibration system and fortunately these are reasonably priced these days and vary from about $200 upwards. These devices plug into a USB port on your PC and the sensor is placed on the screen of your monitor. The software will run a series of tests and produce a colour profile for you to use. The monitor should be switched on for at least 30-60 minutes before running this test.
If you intend to print your own photo’s, then you will need a colour profile device that will profile both your LCD and printer to achieve the best result.
Once you have a colour profiled monitor, you can then post process your images with confidence that the end printed result should match the image you were processing on your monitor. This is just a very brief summary and the whole process is very complex to fully understand and I certainly don’t but if you wish to do some more research then Dry Creek Photo has some usefull information. There is a wealth of information available on the web.