What is the best approach to reproducible color management?
July 11, 2008 4:08 PM   Subscribe

What is the best approach to color management? I only just realised that how I see my photos in iPhoto, Photoshop, and Safari isn't how the majority of people on the net are seeing them? What is the best setup for consistent color management that still looks good?

Example: Smitten Kitchen versus Use real butter. Both food blogs (neither one mine) look great in Safari, but in Firefox Use real butter's pictures lose saturation, while Smitten Kitchen's remain brilliant.

What combination of setups should I use in my camera, iPhoto, Photoshop, and browser in order to color manage like Smitten Kitchen?

I read This previous question, but was keen to know if any recommendations have changed now that 2 years have passed.
posted by teem to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Calibrate your monitor to ensure you're see what others see. Go for RGB color, not CMYK.
Also, make sure you save for web when exporting from Photoshop.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 4:38 PM on July 11, 2008

Response by poster: I should amend this with what I'm using:
Nikon E5700
OS X 10.5.3
iPhoto '08 (7.1.3)
Photoshop CS 3
Safari 3.1.1, Firefox 2

I think I've got some at least workable handle on how to do this with Photoshop, but I'd especially like advice on how to do this with iPhoto — it's so simple importing to iPhoto, fiddling with colours there, and exporting directly to flickr without opening Photoshop.
posted by teem at 4:53 PM on July 11, 2008

I've always gone with Adobe sRGB as a colorspace.

I calibrate my monitor to it, Photoshop just does it and it pretty much works. I say "pretty much" because that is the best you get, you have no way of telling what other people see and how *their* monitors display color.

Are you shooting RAW? If so, you might want to consider dropping it down a notch and going with JPEG. For online use, and even moderately sized prints, the conversion may not be worth the time and just adds another level of complexity.

Either way, I would remove iPhoto from the picture. Download directly to your hd and edit in Photoshop. At least that's what I do. And, for what it's worth, your pictures look fantastic on this Windows crate.
posted by cedar at 6:14 PM on July 11, 2008

You should convert to sRGB when you save for web, that is the assumed color space. Safari is actually unique in that it will actually look at the attached color profile (instead of ignoring it like every other browser).

And obviously if your monitor isn't calibrated you won't be seeing accurate color to begin with. The Pantone Huey's are cheap and work well.
posted by bradbane at 6:19 PM on July 11, 2008

Also, remember that, no matter how perfectly you calibrate your system, anything you post online is going to be viewed by people without calibrated systems. And they are, generally, clueless as to just how wrong their displays are. This is especially frustrating when dealing with clients (or bosses) who just won't accept that their nifty new flatscreen is a color-fidelity basketcase.

FWIW, on my calibrated system, the images on the SmittenKitchen site appear fairly similarly in both Safari and FF. However, the RealButter images are decidedly pumped-up in the red in FF.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:32 AM on July 12, 2008

The conversion to sRGB is the most important thing. Adobe RGB (a common colorspace used for editing) looks very washed-out when displayed in a non-color-managed application. I frankly don't understand why Photoshop's "Save for Web" doesn't have an option to do this, it's so important.

If you want to make Mac users happy, embed the sRGB color profile when you save a JPEG. It isn't worth it for all graphics, since the profile will make it a bit larger, but this gives them the ability to display it with the proper gamma. (Mac and PC default gammas are different.)
posted by kindall at 7:04 PM on July 12, 2008

Firefox 3 now supports embedded ICC profiles, but you have to turn it on.
posted by galaksit at 2:31 AM on July 13, 2008

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