Colour Management In The Post Apocalyptic Darkroom

on February 05, 2015

Colour management has had a bad rap in the last few years - but if you listen to rap, bad is not necessarily bad.

As digital photographers discovered that they could no longer push the button and rely upon Kodak to do the rest...or indeed put their megapixels in at the chemist and go back in a week to collect the prints...they have had to learn how to set the machinery for themselves.

The ones who just post their pictures on Facelessbook or Splatter can get away with less knowledge - the gate demons for these digital infernos tend to strip all hope as well as a great deal of the dynamic range from any image condemned to them. You might as well use your mobile phone, or key ring camera, or toaster...the results will be just the same.

The careful worker who wants to enter club competitions with projected and printed images will need to do much more, and do it right. They'll need to calibrate their camera, monitor, and printer to take into account about 54 factors to allow the scene as seen to be the screen as seen. It is probably not an accident that the words "screen" and "scream" are so close together in the English language, if you get heavily involved into colour management. One wrong setting and disaster ensues.

We can recommend any number of local lecturers who conduct courses on this subject. There are books produced by Focal Press and Epson and Canon and Uncle Tom Cobbly and all on the subject. They will help - particularly the big heavy books. You can stack them on your prints to flatten them.

For those who cannot bring themselves to follow the entire process of training for colour management ( or the requirements to learn to become a fighter pilot...) there is an easier way. Some of the simpler computer programs have the ability to throw their little electric hands up and defer all the decisions onto the printer - they say so right in the instructions.

If this is the case, and you feed the printer with paper made by the same manufacturer...and not the hand-laid unborn beech tree super-art esoteric can get a pretty good result. It might not be the same result as what you have on the computer, but at least no-one's hair will be green. An A4 print for a dollar that looks OK.

This is roughly equivalent to putting supermarket film shot on a Konica Pop through the chemist after it has been sitting in the glove compartment of the car for 6 months but do not decry this - art careers have started with less.