Color Management Webinar

I watched a webinar by Martin Bailey on color management and picked up some tips you might also fine useful. - by David R. Beebe
I watched a webinar the other day on color management that was hosted by PhotoShelter and presented by Martin Bailey. Much of the hour long presentation was specific to some industry leading products used to properly coordinate camera ($99), monitor and printer ($170-$1000+) color management. For those that would benefit from it, you can watch the webinar at Photoshelter.

The free take-aways however seemed worthwhile and worthy of additional testing with or without those products:
  • Color from different cameras will vary for the same subject, especially if they are of different ages (the cameras, not the subjects).
  • Don't trust auto white balance (which I tend to do) he said he will either use daylight or set custom white balance.
  • An 18% grey card is good for custom white balance but doesn't address the differences between cameras (that's where the $99 color card comes in but I suspect there might be less expensive options out there. Note, the software that came with the card was only good for Adobe Lightroom so it might be something of interest to you. The idea is that you take a frame of the card with each camera for reference and if you can run the software, create a color profile for each camera so that Lightroom presents all images taken with that color balance reference will be the same.
  • Histogram display on camera should be RGB and not brightness (I just switched that option to try it). his point was that the average could be ok but you could still be blowing out one of the color channels...for example, a field of red flowers could be ok brightness wise but block up on in the red channel
  • He recommended always having the overexposure warning (zebra stripes) set for the camera's display and ignore it if you need to do that.
  • The big tip that was new to me was to expose so that one or all of the RGB color channels are almost touching the right side of the histogram. The idea of a digital exposure is to not blow out the highlights (unless you intend to). But if you push the histogram as far to the right as possible (instead of centering it), that means the exposure is more which means there is more data from the exposure to work with. 
  • Martin also noted that most monitors are set too bright and that they typically should only be 1/3 as bright as they can be. If you change this on a Macintosh, be sure to set a new ColorSync calibration.

I discovered Costa Rica rainforest photographer Greg Basco via Photoshelter. His website is extremely informative and he has an article you might find very informative that is related to many of the observations above.