Printer and Monitor Calibration

Colour Management

Whoever first thought of WYSIWYG had a perverse sense of humour!

The concept of colour management is not an easy one to grasp and the vast majority of photographers find it difficult to understand many of the issues involved. After several years of endeavouring to explain the procedures to groups of photographers, it became obvious that here was a problem that was unlikely to be solved by tuition and explanation. The cost of commercially accurate calibration and profiling was also unlikely to make these services an option for non-professionals.

In examining this market segment, it is clear that there is a definite need for colour management, but that the market tends to be primarily RGB based with a simple desire to make images look good. Printed output needs to be predictable and bear a close resemblance to the monitor image, but absolute colour accuracy and CMYK conversions for commercial press are rarely, if ever, required.

In making initial judgements about colour accuracy, most people tend to be primarily influenced by the monitor image, because it is both visually arresting and tangible. If the print does not match the monitor, the assumption is that the print is incorrect. In fact, it is highly likely that both monitor and printer are delivering less than accurate renditions of the data in the image file and both must be addressed separately to resolve the problems.

“Whoever first thought of the acronym WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) certainly had a perverse sense of humour, As I travel around the camera clubs giving presentations and workshops on digital imaging it is all too plain to see that what you see is very rarely what you get!”

“The printer manufacturer’s driver software is written very specifically to ensure that reasonably good results are achieved when using their own inks and papers. Even at this basic level there will be a major problem with the printed output if the monitor itself has not been reasonably well set up to ensure that the image on the screen accurately reflects the actual colour values in the image file.

“A good correction profile dedicated to a particular ink/paper/printer combination will ensure accurate print reproduction and, together with a well set up monitor will ensure predictable and repeatable performance from your imaging system.”