Consistent Colour from Camera to Print

I developed this site to help photographers make the best possible prints from their digital photographs. I aim to help photographers control colour in their computer workflow rather than being controlled by it.

There is a large number of books, references and websites devoted to managing colour in digital photgraphy. Many of them are excellent but are very detailed and technical. They are pitched at peple who are already expert. Others simply offer "how to" recipes without any explanation that might help people understand what is going on and how to deal with problems they may encounter.

On the site I have tried to explain, using simple language and familiar concepts, and using simple analogies, the ideas underpinning digital colour and how to control image colour throughout a digital workflow, from camera to print.

The site is not about how to shoot good photographs. I'm assuming readers here already achieve good compositions, that are well exposed and well-focussed.

It is also not about how to use post-processing software to enhance photographs. More than enough resources exist online and in books and courses that teach the use of Photoshop, Lightroom, and the like.

Although the site is about colour management, it will not equip anyone for a degree in colour science. You would need to go to more technical references for that background. On the other hand, the material here should enable photgraphers to get a sufficiently solid understanding of how digital colour works, and the steps involved and the issues to be managed, to consistently in achieve predictable colour from camera to print.

Colour problems

You may have come to this site because you are one of the many very good photographers who have been disappointed by poor colour reproduction of your images in print. Maybe you are frustrated because:

  • the colours in your prints do not match the colours you remembered photographing; or
  • you've wasted a lot of printer ink, photo paper, countless hours, and money in a seemingly endless loop of trying to tweak colours in images to improve colour prints without success;
  • the colour and tonality in your prints do not match the colours on your computer screen even when you send the images to a professional service for printing.

Many photographers accept less than perfect colour rendition in prints apparently believing that accurate colour reproduction, or consistent colour from camera to print, is not possible in digital photography.

Accurate, consistent colour from camera to print is possible.

This site is about helping photographers extract the last ounce of subtlety in print colour and tonality. It is about ensuring that the colours in your print are an excellent match to the colours you see on your computer screen, and an excellent match to the colours in the original scene (if that is what you want) rather than completely different or even simply a good match.

It is about the steps photographers should take to ensure that

  • the colours they see on their computer screen are accurate, and
  • that the colours that they print are also accurate and reflect the colours in the original scene and the photographer's creative intentions in any adjustments made in post-processing.

The site describes a basic workflow: what steps to take and choices to make so that digital colour data is passed correctly between devices in a computer workflow.

But first it is useful to understand how digital colour works and how digital colour data is passed between devices in a computer workflow. Making sure digital colour data travels correctly between devices is called colour management.

next page: the basics of a colour controlled workflow