ImagingUSA Showfloor SEMINAR: Color Management from Capture to Print, Mon 12:30PM, Midwest Photo Stage

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This Presentation will be co-sponsored by Datacolor and Midwest Photo Exchange. As the title indicates, I’ll be covering color management for capture, for display, and for output.  Sunday’s session was a full house. There will be a Datacolor SpyderCube given away to one attendee at the end of the session, so stop by if you are at the show, and try your luck.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

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WEBINAR: Exploring Photographic Composition in Landscape and Still Life, Today 3PM EST

Tuscan Window Image, as originally processed

Tuscan Window

This webinar will be an unscripted discussion of composition, gesture, and other factors that make images work, co-sponsored by Datacolor and Digital Silver Imaging. David Saffir and I will be discussing a range of sample images, chosen for their value in illustrating compositional features, and in some instances, chosen for defying easy analysis. Please join us for what we hope will be an interesting discussion on this very interesting theme. And stay tuned, as there will be a Datacolor Spyder product given away to one attendee at the end of the session, plus some excellent discounts for all attendees.

The recorded version of this webinar is now available here.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

WEBINAR: Getting the Most Out of Your Your Holiday Photography, Wed Dec 12 3-4 EST

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Please join David Saffir and myself for a casual chat about improving your holiday photos. This will include tips for photographers at all levels. You can register for this webinar here. This will be at 3pm today (Dec 12) on the East Coast of the US, Noon on the West Coast. Your local time may vary…

There will be a Datacolor Spyder4Pro given away to a participant at each webinar (no reindeer required, we’ll ship it to you), and there are sure to be some excellent specials offered as well. We’ve put a good deal of time and thought into the ideas and examples in this webinar, so we hope you’ll attend; and enjoy the holiday spirit, as well as the photographer’s comradery.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

WEBINAR: Holiday Stocking Stuffers, Wed Nov 28 3-4 EST

Please join David Saffir and myself for a fireside chat about those gifts we feel would most please photographers this holiday season. As the Stocking Stuffer title implies, we will try to focus on more affordable items, but this is photography, so you just KNOW that we’ll sneak in some of the more expensive spread…

You can register for this webinar here.

There will be a Datacolor Spyder4Pro given away to a participant at each webinar (no reindeer required, we’ll ship it to you), and there are sure to be some excellent specials offered as well. Think about that, specials, stocking stuffers, you might want to attend and put  some of this information on that gift list you hung on the refrigerator, to be sure the elves are effective this year.

Please sign up for this webinar today, before the holiday distractions undermine your short-term memory. I’m looking forward to the more festive and less formal format of this webinar, I hope you’ll join us.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

Tutorial: Editing Fall Foliage Photos

At the peak of fall foliage season the colors can reach fluorescent levels, by borrowing light from outside the visible spectrum and reemitting it in the red through yellow zones. Because of this, foliage photography requires careful editing to produce the type of image our eye recalls seeing. All too often people make the wrong adjustments, resulting in images that look false and unsatisfying. Lets look at a set of foliage photo adjustments, first by the numbers, and then tweaked to emulate the eye’s response, to see where photographers usually go wrong.

The Starting Point

Typically the camera is left to determine the best whitepoint, and to adjust at least one of the exposure parameters. The success of this varies with the subject matter, but often the result is not accurate, and the look is not ideal. In the image below, the default settings, when opened in Adobe Lightroom 4, produce a flat image, with insufficient color. Keep in mind that no color adjustment should be done to images without first calibrating your display.

Image at Defaults in Lightroom 4

Other elements in a fall foliage image still need to be correctly exposed and white balanced, for instance the twigs in this macro can’t be too red or too saturated, or the overall believability of the image will be lost. The best starting point for correcting camera settings for any image is with the SpyderCube. For this image the adjustments from shooting the SpyderCube in another frame earlier in the series are applied to the image. The camera default settings in Lightroom are shown next to the Cube-adjusted settings in the image below.

Default Settings, on left, and SpyderCube Adjustments, right

These settings increase the dynamic range of the image, making the midtones more dense, the shadows and blacks darker, adding punch to the image. Too often the assumption is that lightening fall foliage will make it “brighter” when the actual result is to make the colors weaker as they get lighter. Often, careful deepening of the midtones actually intensifies the foliage colors, as well as increasing the punch of the image as a whole. Note that the whitepoint of this image was fairly well estimated by the camera, so the color change caused by whitepoint correction, which can sometimes be quite significant, is minor in this case. The image below shows the result of applying these adjustments to the same photo.

Image with SpyderCube Adjustments applied

Camera Color Correction

Before making any visual adjustments to the image color, it is best to make global color corrections for the camera used. In this case I now applied a SpyderCheckr color calibration for this camera. The change to the image is subtle, and actually reduces the color saturation of the red channel, which is technically correct; but not necessarily in line with the artistic intent we have in mind for this image. Here is the SpyderCheckr adjusted version of the image below.

Image with SpyderCheckr Adjustments applied

Artistic Intent

Now that the dynamic range, white balance, and camera color have been corrected, I can make further adjustments to bring out the fluorescent nature of fall foliage in the image, while feeling comfortable that the overall corrections of the image will be in-line with the other images from the shoot that will be used in the same series. The lazy solution for fall foliage correction is to simply increase the global image saturation with the Saturation slider. However, many fall foliage images include greens and other colors, which will have their saturation increased along with the foliage colors, resulting in an image that the eye immediately sees as false.

The preferred solution is to adjust the saturation of the foliage color channels, while keeping an eye on the realism of the resulting image, and watching out for possible posterization in color transition zones. The image below shows a closeup of what happens to out of focus areas with color transitions when the changes between adjacent channels are excessive, and gradients posterize. The version at the bottom shows the final choices, which minimize this posterization. Note the reduction in banding around the green area.

Image with excessive adjustments between adjacent channels, top, and reductions to improve gradients, below

The next consideration is out-of-gamut colors. Its easy, when attempting to create the type of fluorescent results fall foliage can produce, to exceed the gamut of both your display and your printer. Gamut warning tools can be helpful in avoiding this situation, but the eye is the final arbiter. If further increase in the saturation of a color does not actually increase its saturation, and perhaps causes other side effects instead, then you are working outside the gamut of your display. Reduce the saturation increase you are producing until you can distinguish saturation changes with each slider adjustment.

Below are the SpyderCheckr HSL adjustments on the left, with the tweaked saturation settings on the right. These tweaked adjustments are only to the saturation sliders, and only for the red, orange, and yellow channels, where fall foliage colors occur, plus adjustment to the green channel to smooth color transitions. Avoid excessive green increases to keep the image believable. If your foliage was shot at a long distance, especially through humid air, then global increases to saturation, contrast, and sharpness may be needed to compensate for atmospheric perspective effects.

SpyderCheckr Adjustments, on left, added Visual Adjustments, right

Results

Below is the resulting image. It has been converted to sRGB for the web, so not all colors desired for inkjet output can be included in the images shown here. But the general result of correcting dynamic range, whitepoint, camera color, and foliage fluorescence, instead of simply increasing the saturation slider show even in the sRGB version of the image. In order to print this image, I would now move on to using Lightroom 4’s softproof function, to work with the capabilities of my printer, ink, and media combination as described by my SpyderPrint output profile for the combination.

Image with Visual Tweaks to R,O,Y, G Saturation Sliders

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

WEBINAR: Color Management Using Spyder Technology, Wednesday Sept 19, at 1PM & 7PM EDT

On Wednesday September 19th, at 1PM and again at 7PM Eastern Time, David Saffir and I will present a webinar on Color Management using Spyder technology. This is a general webinar, introducing the concepts of color management as well as the most recent tools for color management to photographers, digital artists, and designers.

You can register for this webinar here.

There will be a Datacolor Spyder4Pro given away to a participant at each webinar, and there are likely to be some excellent specials offered as well.

This webinar series has been very popular, so be sure to sign up now to reserve a space. Our last webinar, on a highly specialized topic, was attended by people from 35 countries around the globe. So we are offering this webinar at two different times, to attempt to make it easier for those from other time zones, or with other schedules, to attend.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page

WEBINAR: Datacolor Color Management for Fine Art Reproduction, Wednesday Sept 12, at 3PM EDT

On Wednesday September 12th, at 3PM Eastern Time (Noon on the West Coast) David Saffir and I will present a webinar on Color Management for Fine Art Reproduction, including lots of details from our own personal experience with working in this area. Learn techniques for capturing, editing, and printing reproductions of artwork. This will be the most specialized Spyder webinar to date.

You can register for this webinar here.

There will be a Datacolor Spyder4Pro given away to a webinar participant, and there are likely to be some excellent specials as well.

This webinar series has been very popular, so be sure to sign up now to reserve a space.

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012. Website: CDTobie.com Return to Blog’s Main Page