What does it mean, Colour Management?

The primary objectives of colour management are:

  • excellent and predictable monitor-to-print agreement in both colour and tonality;
  • truest colour and maximum possible tonal range on both monitor and printer within the gamut limits of the monitor and printer.

Colour fidelity is obviously critical for certain kinds of photography, such as portraits, weddings, or events photography. No one in the wedding party is going to be happy if their carefully-chosen deep turquoise jacket comes out looking a muddy duck-egg blue in the wedding photographs.

Landscape or creative photographers often want to control colours for maximum mood or effect. While it may be not so important to ensure print colours match the photographed scene, it is still vitally important for the photographer to be sure that the colour and tonality of the image on her or his computer screen will be reproduced properly when the file is sent to print.

The problem is: how to ensure that the colours captured by your camera are reproduced as closely as possible on your monitor and printer.

The reason this isn't straightforward is that digital cameras, monitors and printers are fundamentally different electromechanical devices. They are constructed differently:

  • one to interpret the colour and intensity of light in a scene (camera);
  • one to emit light (the monitor); and
  • one to deposit, on to white paper, mixtures of inks that will reflect light (printer).

next page: colour and your camera

Colour Management

What is Colour Management?

Digital Cameras and colour

Monitors, printers, and colour

The Colour Match Challenge

So what is hard?

Gamut Issues

How the Challenge is met

Colour in Prints

Colour on a Monitor

Translating colours: ICC Profile

Custom printer profile

Making a printer profile

Custom monitor profile

Making a monitor profile