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Understanding Colour Calibration in Photography - Where to begin!

Updated: Apr 29, 2022

Calibration and colour management always feel so difficult bu we know its important to get the right image - How does it work? We have all had images where the colours don't look right but what's the solution. The answer is calibration.

Calibration & colour management falls into three areas

  1. Using the correct camera Colour space

  2. Calibration of the shot taken

  3. Calibration of the Monitor

  4. Calibration of the Printer

You can do any of these without the right equipment!

Which Camera Colour Space to use ?

You camera has several colour space options available such as sRGB or Adobe RGB

Which should you use and why does it matter? This determines how much colour you capture and what the impact is of that selection when you process and use that image in your selected profile

Calibration of the shot taken

The next aspect to understand is the management of the shot taken?

As we have all seen we can get colour casts in images or the colours simply don't look right. Cameras are very clever but they are not perfect and can make mistakes so how do you manage this? This is achieved by taking a test shot with a known reference standard so you have a known point to reference back to when you edit the image. This can be done in two different ways either with a multi colour card or a grey card and as you would assume the former gives great control but either method will work for you.

Calibration of your monitor

You need to be sure that the monitor you are using is displaying the colures accurately and also the brightness of the image.

So we have seen how to calibrate a monitor but we need a device to calibrate our monitor and which is best?

Monitor Calibrator Selection

Calibration of your Printer

You need to ensure that the image you print matches the image seen on the screen

This video will show you how all the pieces come together

Calibration Devices

Which one should you buy?

  • Do you want to calibrate a monitor?

  • Do you want to calibrate a printer?

  • Do you want one device that does both?

  • What's your budget?

These things are not cheap so you need to make up your own mind - but here are some options

This is a confusing area but this info should help you to understand the moving parts and make some informed decisions on what's best for you.


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