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As I spend more and more time on the road teaching photography, I’ve come to conclusion that many aspiring photographers simply have a difficult time understanding the importance of color management, or who simply confuse correct white balance with true color management. I mean, who cares? Right?
Wrong. Let me be clear, color management is the process of verifying that all your colors are consistent from the time you take your photograph until the time you deliver your file. The importance of color management extends beyond correct balance and includes lens correction, the environment you’re photographing in, the environment you’re editing in and how you’re sliver if your physical or digital file. So, why care? Correct skin tone. That’s why.
Matching skin tones to what they look like in person is extremely important when you’re photographing anyone. No one chooses to look a drastically different color unless they’re spray tanning, and even then, we all know that their skin color isn’t natural. This is why I’m very adamant on taking out your personal biased on what is considered “good color” and trust the tools that your use in order to get the job done correctly. For example, if you use a ruler to draw a straight line, chances are, you’ll have a straight line. While many people can potentially freehand a straight line, it’s almost damn near impossible to match the accuracy of a ruler. That doesn’t even account for the straight line being level.
Let’s expand on that example. Let’s say you’re trying to hang a picture on a wall. In order to mount it, you’ll need to use two mounting pins on the wall and you just freehand approximately where they are by eye. Chances are 99% of people will never come close the the accuracy of a level. The moral of the story here is, you have tools, now use them.
Color accuracy isn’t any different. In that example, white balance is the ruler and color management is the level. Not only are you guaranteed a straight line (or correct WB), but you’re also gyms guaranteed that it’s a perfectly balanced picture.
Lessons like these are why I spend more and more time discussing the importance of color accuracy at my speaking events, like my workshop at Samy’s camera in LA. Regardless if you’re a portrait photographer, fashion photographer or wedding photographer, color management should still be an integral part of your workflow.
To make things easier, here’s a crash course introduction to color management:
I also wanted to take the time out to thank Annie over at Eizo USA for her help and support. You are absolutely invaluable Annie!