Does Color Management Really Matter?

Photography Gear

You are probably familiar with color management if you’ve spent any time on photography or videography. We have all taken photos, ordered prints and noticed that they have a flaw, like a green cast. “That’s not what it looked like when I shot the photo!” is the most common reaction. Nobody wants unattractive skin tones; not in their personal photos, and certainly not in their professional work.

Color Management is technology designed to minimize color and brightness inaccuracies. To a certain extent, color management attempts to simulate the brain and corrects the raw data coming from the sensor in order to match the feeling of human perception more closely. It can do even more than just that. While a human being represents a closed system “more or less”, where everything is finely tuned, this is not the case with modern technology. We combine input devices (cameras, smartphones, etc.) and output devices (monitors, printers, etc.), without considering that each device has a different range of capabilities to capture or display colors. Different papers also have their own reflective properties in prints.

All devices must be coordinated with each other to prevent any unpleasant surprises. This is why color management is necessary to achieve consistent color across devices and outputs.

Color Control

High-quality color control that is time and cost efficient is almost impossible to achieve without color management tools. Anyone who has ever set up their printer for fine art prints and ended up using an entire ink cartridge and a lot of high-quality paper for test prints will understand this. The concept of color management involves coordinating systems so that once taken, the image on the output side (monitor, printer or other output device) appears as close to the original as possible. This also includes deliberate changes made to image content. In other words, photographic editing needs to be reproduced on the output side as it was originally carried out. Why? Depending on the make and model, digital cameras have different color characteristics that can be corrected using a color calibration tool.

We can influence the appearance of the digital image on the display. Without corrections, we see an interpretation of the image that may not be representative of its true colors. This is determined by the electronic components of the display and its age. It can get even more tricky when it comes to printing images on paper.

 The Eye Is Not Enough

In short, we are moving between physical worlds of color. We can work with several devices, which each individually interpret the colors for us. If you rely solely on the expertise of your eye and make adjustments according to your vision, you will very quickly reach your limits. Every additional device included in a color workflow will heighten the complexity. To add to this, color variations don’t behave in a linear fashion, but differ according to saturation level and the shade of color.

You’ll notice how fast your eye compensates for color casts, such as when you change the color profile on your monitor. Our brain adapts for the brightest white in the field of vision. This phenomenon is called color constancy. It means we can’t trust our eye to tell us if a display is neutral, as our brain may have “neutralized” it for us. These are just some of the many reasons why you should have a color managed workflow to achieve your intended creative vision.

Sample representation of color temperatures: An image with daylight lighting (6500K), fluorescent, and incandescent lighting.

SAVE BIG Now Through 12/3/21 on Datacolor Spyder Color Management Tools

SpyderX Pro

For serious photographers and designers who want a fast, precise and easy-to-use monitor calibrator that helps achieve their creative vision.

  • The Fastest Spyder Ever: Calibrating your monitor now takes just a minute or two.
  • The Most Accurate Spyder Ever: Groundbreaking lens-based color engine provides a higher level of color accuracy for multiple monitors.
  • See The Difference Instantly: SpyderProof functionality provides before-and-after evaluation of your images.

Value: $169.99

Sale Price: $129.99

SpyderX Elite

For Expert and professional photographers and motion image makers looking for the most comprehensive monitor calibration tool for maximum control of their color workflow.

  • The Fastest Spyder Ever: Calibrating your monitor now takes just a minute or two.
  • The Most Accurate Spyder Ever: Groundbreaking lens-based color engine provides a higher level of color accuracy for multiple monitors and projectors.
  • See The Difference Instantly: SpyderProof functionality provides full-screen before-and-after evaluation of your images.

Value: $279.99

Sale Price: $199.99

Spyder Checkr 24

Boost efficiency and color precision by color correcting your image file for one or multiple camera combinations.

  • Incudes 24 standard color patches.
  • Consistent, accurate color within a post-production workflow in Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop and Hasselblad Phocus.
  • Generate HSL-presets with the Spyder Checkr software.
  • Can be integrated with DaVinci Resolve for auto-color Correction.

Value: $49

Sale Price: $39

ColorReader EZ

Color-coordinate your photo shoot seamlessly. Scan a color to instantly find its Savage Universal background color match, paint color match, plus precise color values for easy conversion to Pantone.

  • Match to the closest Savage Universal Seamless Background paper color.
  • Get the 3 closest paint matches across all major paint brands.
  • “Try on” paint color with Samplize peel-&-stick paint samples.
  • Get CIE Lab, RGB and Hex color values for your measured color.

Value: $59

Sale Price: $49

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