The color in photos is very critical to how we experience the memories of those captured events. Sometimes there can be black and white, sepia, vintage tones, desaturation, and color select effects done to a photograph. If there are no effects placed on a photo, it’s our goal to make the colors appear as natural as possible to what they were in real life. Our cameras, monitors, edit programs, and preferred print labs are all color calibrated to international RGB standards. What does that all mean to you as a client? Well, even though we go through painstaking lengths to get photos as color accurate as possible, some things can lead to undesirable results that are out of our control no matter what we do. The following are factors that can affect the color appearance of your images.
- Computer Display/Monitor – If you use a Wide Gamut monitor, it can display a much greater range of colors. Unfortunately, this can be a setback if used in conjunction with certain image preview programs that do not support the monitor’s range(You can find out if your display/monitor is a Wide Gamut one by either contacting the manufacturer or referencing the specifications in the manual). Furthermore, monitors do not come from the factory calibrated to your viewing environment. It is impossible to purchase this kind of display because calibration is done at the location of use due to surrounding lighting and power conditions.
- Operating System Software – Windows, Chrome, OX, and others handle color differently. Many Microsoft users now have Windows7, which will more faithfully display the color of an image especially if using a Wide Gamut monitor. Windows XP and Vista have not done well at this. Mac’s, on the other hand are very good at showing colors very close to the original intended manner, but without full monitor calibration there is still a shift in color accuracy.
- Browser Software – Windows Explorer, Google Chrome, and many other internet browsers are not geared to faithfully interpret the encoded color information of images on websites. So far, only Firefox has been proven to do the required decoding to display the images as close to original as you can get.
- Other Software – Programs such as iPhoto, Picasa, Photoshop, and others handle color management differently. We use Adobe Photoshop programs with full integrated color management synchronizing. Using another program may change the embedded data and display a photo slightly off color from the original calibrated and encoded file.
- Print Lab – If you are printing your photos anywhere but our preferred labs, you will more than likely experience a difference. The results can be either great or small depending on where you go to get them processed. Our preferred labs read the embedded color data in each photo, yielding the closest possible color accuracy we can produce.