Color Profile and Management

Now a days we see a lot of people turning to photography but really a few of those understand the nuances of it. This blog is written to shed light on one such aspect of photography which even fewer are familiar with. Here we are going to discuss about color profiles and why its management is crucial.

Every time you click a photograph through your camera – no matter which camera make or model you have – your camera attaches a color profile to it. This color profile is nothing more than an instruction set associated with that particular photograph. This instruction set helps other viewing or printing devices to know how to render the colors of each pixel properly. When we don’t see true colors on computer monitor or on a print, we blame it to the White Balance but wait, WB can’t be the only culprit.

Each photograph is made up of millions of pixels and each pixel is made up of 3 colors – Red, Green and Blue. The RGB numbers denote a particular color of that specific pixel. The point to note is, even if the RGB values are same and color profiles are different the colors won’t be rendered same. For eg: R-50, G-50, B-250 these values will not display same color if rendered using different color profiles.

This is the basic understanding one must have about color profiles. Let’s go a little deeper. There are several color profiles available to choose from but your camera will mostly have 2 options – sRGB or Adobe RGB. You can choose the one you prefer or you are comfortable with. Once your photograph has a particular profile attached, it can be best viewed if your monitors and printers are also using that same profile. A lot of times we visit photography exhibitions and find out the photographs are looking life like, the secret always is to have same profiles of the image file and the printer.

Most of the photographers edit their camera work with photo-editing softwares. I recommend to set the software to a color profile as that of your camera. Digging little into the menu options of your camera and software can tell you about the profiles they are currently configured to. One question that is asked frequently is – what is the color profile of a RAW file? The fact is RAW has no profile attached to it technically. It takes a profile only after you edit and save it to TIFF, JPEG or any other format. It will take the profile which is configured with the RAW editing software.

The reason that we have not provided any photographic examples here is to avoid any confusion of colors as your screens are not color calibrated as ours. We encourage you to experiment with the color profiles for the best possible results and viewing experience. So go ahead and profile your camera, your screen, editing softwares and printer. We wish you the most true color images!