Color Management in Digital Photography

Color Management Handbook 2 Released by EIZO.

Throughout the workflow in digital photography, the photographer will need to be well-versed in color management and color spaces.  This is complicated, has a learning curve and learning more about it, continues into our careers and beyond.  The current leader in producing superior color monitors for professionals is EIZO.   Eizo Color Managment Handbook, Volume 2 has been uploaded to the EIZO Web site.  EIZO monitors are very expensive but are produced  for professionals needing perfect color, and cost over a thousand dollars for the 22″ and larger monitors.  Some color monitors from EIZO can cost over $3,000.  They are not a common item for students.  Some students with money to spend for a good monitor , capable of color management will opt for a mid-range Dell monitor  and keep it calibrated.

Ambient light in the room where the monitor sits, is a concern, and this ambient light can be measured.  If the ambient is from a window or skylight it is not consistent throughout the day, so it will affect your work.  I prefer to do photo-editing after sunset, at home and there are monitor hoods that keep a lot of overhead ambient light off the monitor.  Have you heard of “working under the hood”?  Diehards may try it.  That’s how important it is to control the light in the room in which you use a color monitor.  Don’t question why the Photo lab is dark and the overhead lights are turned off… bring in a pen light if you need it to plug in a thumb drive or an external hard drive. The lights are off so they do not adversely affect the monitor color managment for these precisely calibrated monitors in the lab.  Do not mess with monitor settings unless you are the person trying to calibrate a monitor with a spectrophotometer.  If you are taking a survey photography course you will not be expected to calibrate a monitor nor should you touch the monitor settings.

Spectrophotometers – devices measuring and calibrating monitors having light and color.

Printer Color Management.  Management of color will vary with printer brands and the printers used in the Photo Lab are Epson brand printers.

Photoshop Color Management – A printer setting is “Photoshop manages Color”  Color space can be specified in Photoshop.  Photoshop, Edit, Color Settings: Working Spaces  (this is a dialog to talk about it first.  If you are doing a Digital Fine Print you want Adobe 1998 Color Space in the Working Spaces dialog box under Color Settings, but if you are displaying on monitors in PSA work (Photographic Society of America, and displays in local Photographic Societies for critique or in a Computer Projected Image competition Internationally, you will be selecting the sRGB color space for your work development, when submitting the image, as this is the color space for many monitors and for the Web.  Many monitors are not able to correctly display the color spaces… other monitors (and not very many) can correctly display color gamuts/color spaces correctly, and the EIZO and Dell monitors are two of the brands able to display the sRGB color space,  and they can be calibrated with Color Munki and Spyder 3, better than some of the other monitors.  This information comes to me via a professional photographer member of PSA.

Lightroom Software –  Lightroom has a feature to let you toggle back and forth between Lightroom and Photoshop.  Use the Save As, feature for a photoshop image to save back into Lightroom, if you opened Photoshop from a Lightroom file.

Aperture Software –  Apple makes Aperture for photo editing and digital asset management.  The software makes good contact sheets and has more options for labeling the contact sheets than Lightroom.  there are also good features for synching music to slide shows.  I have parked a slideshow (file) on the desktop, apart from Aperture software  and played the slideshow.  When making a digital image book in Aperture you will have to be addressing color management.  Where is the file going?  Are you sending it to  Do they want CMYK or sRGB?  Go to and look it up.  Know what color space your printer of the image book shall be using.

Epson Printing – There shall be a lot of Epson Printer printing, on high-end wide format machines.  Some just take Matte paper, and some machines only print in black inks, and others in the lab only are to be used with color ink.. Watch the assignments, and the directions, carefully.  A lab assistant is sometimes available in the Photo lab to help students learn to use the printers.  If you own an Epson and need help, contact  someone else in the Photographic Society who owns an Epson, or pay for a service call to get you up and going.  Epson has a web site and you can google it.

Paper Profiles.  All the major paper companies such as MOAB have information on their Web sites about their paper profices, the ICC profile numbers that you put into photoshop library.  Call a photographic printer listed in the Yellow Pages, and ask if they use ICC profiles.. Many do that do that.  For berst results, learn to use the printer in the student Photography lab, on campus.  Your instructor will give you specific information about the papers he wants you to be printing on.  If you get to select your own papers, look online at Optica One for the smooth fine art paper called Breathing Color, and try to get ICC profiles.  There is a device for profiling your paper line by line, or you can pay around $40 to have it send out for profiling and this takes weeks… You can buy paper already profiled.  Here in Napa County there is no profiled paper for sale as of this writing July 1 2012, however, Jomathan’s Corner in the Yellow Pages for Sonoma County is easy to find if you have the address and GPS navigation.   Jonathan’s Corner sells profiled photographic papers with ICC numbers and a box of paper, $25 sheets can sell for $25 to $40 dollars..  Some Epson papers with ICC profile cost less.  Some are not profiled.  Watch what you buy.

Jonathan’s Corner has done sensor cleaning for me, and that often will take more than a day.  By special arrangement, try setting it up, so you can  drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon.  Plan on spending almost $100 for sensor cleaning, unless you want to tackle learning to do it yourself, but not for the feint of heart, as the sensor can be damaged if done wrong.  Special equipment is needed, and when you take in your camera for sensor cleaning it has to have a fully charged battery and helps to put a backup battery in your bag.  The lens and body can be capped when you take it in for cleaning.  The lens doesn’t have to make the trip.  It is alright to just take in the camera body, when you are going to have the sensor cleaning… but use the body cap and if you lost it, order another one from  .  You can phone B&H by getting the phone number from the Web site and talking to a person about the body cap you need, and they will also mail you a catalog to you upon request.

Equipment Reviews is a good way to learn more about hardware for color profiling.

Color Munki and Spyder 3 or 4 have online reviews.  Search at or Google “review color munki” or similar search term for Spyder.  Some kits (warning) cost > $1000.  This may be something you are not going to be doing at home for a while if you are still a student.  You are expected to learn it at school when taking Intermedicate Digital Photo class..  You may need to learn Color management in the Fine Art Print courses as well, and about paper profiles with ICC numbers.

Related Links:

Optica One’s Breathing Color   (Profiled Paper)  Also has 17″ x 20 foot rolls.

Digital Grange in Petaluma, CA.  Fine Art Printing and price list; some framing.  Photography of art work done by artist, to convert to digital file.  Printing of photography.

I would link to but it is not consistently in service and files cannot be downloaded at this time. (July 2, 2012)

Napa Valley College – Campus is closed until July 2 for walk-in counseling services, including for students who have Priority 0, ahead of Priority 1.  – You need a subscription to read the articles online.

NEC:  NEC MultiSync 2690WUXi2



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