- The theory is certainly important to understand, but there are more practical steps you can take to manage the color of your digital photos, accurately and easily, however you may be viewing them.
- Computer Monitor Calibration
- You can’t expect accurate color rendition of your photos on your computer unless you calibrate its monitor, regularly, approximately every 30 days. Specifically, you want to calibrate the hardware, which requires a better tool than the calibration programs that are often bundled with photo-editing software.
- A good choice is ColorVision Spyder2 Express. It’s both inexpensive and easy to use for any digital photographer that is creating his or her first color-management system. Although this calibration tool is not as advanced as more expensive programs, you’ll find it to be more than sufficient, especially if you have an average monitor.
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Digital photography offers many advantages, such as not messing with film and automatic exposure and focus capabilities. Digital technology also includes some unique challenges, such as the colors of your prints not matching the colors on your computer screen. The simple answer to that challenge is to implement a color-management system that is easy to use. That is what this two-part PhotographyTalk.com article will help you do. You can learn more about color in photography by reading these PhotographyTalk.com articles:
The colors that humans see are just one section of the total electromagnetic spectrum. Other animals see some of the same colors humans do as well as colors humans can’t see. There are three elements of visible color that are important for photographers to understand.
Light: In strict scientific terms, color and light are the same. It’s the sources of light and their temperatures that affect how humans perceive color. A simple experiment is to view a fully saturated, colored object in direct sunlight and then indoors under incandescent light, or a standard light bulb. The color should appear different because the light sources have different color temperatures, generally either warm or cool. Those temperatures are measured according to the Kelvin temperature scale. A typical 100-watt light bulb is approximately 2,900 K, which defines it as a warm light. A clear, sunny day at noon is a cool source of light, so it has a higher color temperature, approximately 12,000K.
The Object: You perceive the color of an object because it reflects the wavelengths of light in the spectrum that defines that color. The object absorbs the other wavelengths, making them invisible, or less visible. The materials and the surface of an object will also affect the wavelengths that enter your eyes.
The Human: The process of seeing objects with two eyes that the brain then processes means that each human perceives color, uniquely. Humans can generally agree that an object is red or blue, but every human doesn’t see the exact same red or blue.
Tips to Create a Color-Management System
Read Part 2 of this PhotographyTalk.com article for three additional tips for using a color-management system.