To satisfy my continuing interest in the technical aspects of photography, so I can make an informed choice of what to bring to my work and what to discard, I recently attended a day-long printing workshop. It was run by Mark Wood (who has some impressive credentials) and hosted by Wilkinson Cameras in their Liverpool training suite.
I feel I make reasonable prints, but you never know what you don’t know until you know – my main motivation for attending the workshop, which covered:
- The Theory & Practice Of Colour Management
- Setting System and Application Colour Preferences
- Calibrating Monitors and Printers
- Exploring the qualities and requirements for a great print
- Soft-proofing and Printing for inkjet printers and photo-labs
- Benchmarking Colour Management
I learned more than I expected, and note here a few points that will be introduced to my practice:
- I’ve never used Photoshop for printing – Wood demonstrated how much more control over prints there is in PS above LR – for example in the more realistic rendering of the soft proofing it generates.
- I learned the differences between rendering intents: – Perceptual rendering retains colour relationships ie good for portraits, Relative – just brings out-of -gamut colours into line. I can now used this in an informed way.
- We explored the use of colour spaces and why Pro RGB is standard in LR and preferred for master copies of images; the most detail / information is retained for future use – even if current screen technologies cannot use the information, future ones may be able to do so.
- Screen calibration was discussed at length and how anything other than a reference monitor (showing full Adobe RGB colour) was going to be a compromise on quality – no guarantee that you will be seeing what others with properly calibrated reference monitors are seeing when viewing your work. But, the technology, would most likely do a reasonable job in rendering. Also, with a reference monitor more reliable soft-proofing of prints is possible.
- Wood recommended testing accuracy of calibration by printing an sRGB image, letting the printer manage the colours, before moving on to paper specific printer-profiles. Is the printed image close to the on-screen soft-proof? If not calibration needs to be revisited before continuing.
- Another suggestion was to obtain a colour reference print and compare that to your own print of the jpg file of the reference print (I found that Marrutt.com provide a print free of charge!).
- Wood showed some powerful examples of how the human visual system reacts to colours and even can create phantom colours – to emphasise that despite all the efforts made during the printing process, the context in which a print is displayed can undo the effort.
Adobe [website]. Print with color management. Available from: https://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/using/printing-color-management-photoshop1.html [accessed 8.3.17]
Mark Wood Photography [website]. Available from: http://www.markwoodphotography.com/index.html [accessed 8.3.17]
Wilkinson Cameras [website]. Advert for workshop – printing master class. Available from: http://www.wilkinson.co.uk/printing-masterclass/ [accessed 7.3.17]