Getting Color Under Control – Stage 2: The Edit

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After capturing the colors in your images correctly, the second stage of color management begins. The editing stage is the point where you'll make sure that the images you've captured are rendered accurately when they are displayed and printed.

Monitor Calibration

While you might think this step is more closely related to the display stage of color management, the fact is that if you're going to render colors accurately, you need to first see them correctly. Different monitors display colors differently, even if they're identical products. Colors in a display will shift as a monitor ages. The lighting in your room will also affect how you see colors. Without calibration, there's no way to know whether your display is showing you the true colors captured by your camera. The errors will carry over into your final digital images and prints.

Display calibration, therefore, is a critical step before you start editing and on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, it's not a difficult one with the right tool. Our favorite tool is the Spyder5 from Datacolor. It provides easy, reliable calibration for all your monitors, with 5-minute periodic checkups. Watch the webinar below to see exactly how it works.

Creating Color Profiles

Now that your monitor is calibrated, so you know you're seeing the truest possible colors, it's time to use the target, or test shots that you took with SpyderCHECKR in Stage 1. Here's a short video that shows you how:

You'll now have an accurate color correction reference to use in all your editing, to easily maintain the accuracy of the colors in your images.

Adjusting for Lighting Conditions

As you edit your images, you'll use the test shots you took at the beginning of your sessions with SpyderCUBE to adjust the black and white levels, then apply those adjustments to all the photos taken under those same lighting conditions, using batch processing. This is one of the greatest time savers you'll ever add to your workflow. Watch the how-to videos below to learn how to calibrate your RAW files using Adobe Camera RAW and Lightroom:

Finalizing your Edits

With your monitor calibrated and your images adjusted for lighting, you're now free to edit your images according to your needs. Your colors are true-to-life, and you can add whatever tweaks you like to the final product. Cropping, rotation, resizing, etc. can all be performed confidently, knowing that the vivid colors you see are exactly what you'll get. If you're sending them out for printing, you'll need to check with the printer you choose for the color space to use. If you're printing them yourself, you'll want to make sure your printer is reproducing the colors in your images accurately, too. We'll cover that subject in the next article, on Stage 3: the display.


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