My, What A Beautiful Profile You Have!

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Surfside Dawn

One of the great things about digital photography is convenience. You can see your pictures right away, and delete those you hate and take more.

You can take a bazillion pictures and they’re saved on a teeny tiny memory card that’s barely bigger than your thumbnail.

You can load them into a computer and store them,  erase the memory card, and go out and take more pictures.

And you can make prints yourself, hooking your computer up to a digital printer, and – sometimes they look great.

But too often, digital  prints are a disappointment because the colors are wrong, or the pictures are too dark, or they just look gooky –  not at all like the glorious images you saw through the viewfinder.

I teach digital printing workshops, and the question I hear most often is,  “Why don’t my prints look the same as my pictures looked on the monitor?”

That’s a good question with a complex answer.

It’s because  digital cameras see (and record) color differently than a computer monitor, which sees color differently than a digital printer. Metaphorically, while they’re all talking the same basic language, it’s like each one is speaking a different dialect and missing a few words of what the others are saying.

In my digital printing workshops, I teach how to get all these devices talking to each other properly to get consistent results, to have your prints match what you see on your monitor, and how to control the digital printing process so that you can make artistic choices in how to render an image.

Or, in other words, the art and science of  using a color managed digital workflow.

And, just as the future rested on single word, “plastics,” whispered to Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate,” digital color management also rests on a single word: “profiles”

Next Time:  Profiles, Color Space and  Insanity.

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