Skip to main content

Basic Color Management

Lesson 23 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC Workflow for Photographers

Daniel Gregory

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

23. Basic Color Management

Colors on one screen look different from the color on another screen. Managing color helps ensure the colors in the final print are the hues you were aiming for. In this lesson, Daniel helps photographers better understand color management to create images that look great both on screen and on paper.
Next Lesson: Soft Proofing

Lesson Info

Basic Color Management

giving stuff out of light room s. So we're gonna export it out. We're gonna print it, but we want to get our photos that we worked so hard to edit on and organize, and we could find them. Now we get the metal light room and this is probably one of the It's one of my favorite topics because it's one of those ones that once it all starts to sink together, people get really excited really fast because it's been a challenge to this point. And that's color management color workflow in printing. And the reason for that is, if you've ever printed your experience is like the print doesn't look anything like what I did. And if you've exported your photos at a light room and you sent them to your friend and you put him on your website and you're like that looks nothing like what I did that will, we can get this control and we can get our hands wrapped around this part of the process. We really can make. I think some big leaps forward because we start to feel good about ourselves like I could fee...

l good that other people look at my photos and think they're also interesting and not those are horrible photographs, and your mom is just polite to put them on the refrigerator. Yes, I'm the age I am, and my mom still puts my artwork on the refrigerator. That's why I don't send it to her anymore. So we're gonna talk about some of the basics of color management and then work our way back in the light room, and we'll go to the tools in light room and kind of how to work through these different processes to get what we're looking for. The most important thing in all of this, though, if you're a printer, is remember that the printer is always correct. The print is what's called a dumb device, a default device. It takes whatever it's given and produces that. So when people say my print doesn't match the monitor, your monitor is wrong, not the print. So it's the calibration, those two. But if you can always remember, the printer is wise because it doesn't do anything but what it's told to do. You will be much happier as we work through this segment. So this is why color management at its core is important. We have in the world of color, and we're working on editing on the screen. We have three color. We have color spaces and color models and color modes. When the RGB color model, we're using additive light. So when colors of equal amounts of red, green and blue were added at their highest values, equally together in it with white light in the adobe air. In the RGB model, we have RTB space with three models. We have a pro photo SRG be in Adobe RGB. These were the three big ones photographers use. All three colors have those RGB values rather 56 green of 95 blue of 1 22 But if you'll notice those are three different colors, this is why you go crazy when you start to do color management and when you start to think about color and understand color, and you start to now understand, though, why things could go wrong. Because if you're editing your photographs in the pro photo color space, which, by the way, if you're in light room, you are a pro photo variant. You're working a pro. Photo. The Internet Onley season an understands for the most most part, S RGB. So if you are exporting that pro photo photo out and put it on the Internet, which only reads S RGB, you can see your blues air no longer accurate. That's what color management is. In a nutshell. It's getting the right color to show up in the right place on the right device, so it doesn't really matter what's on my screen. What's on my screen is that blue under pro photo. I don't care what s RGB calls it. What I want is that color blue. So that's what color managers it's all about. It's about getting that color over here and that color over here to match not numerically and not by name, but by the actual color. That's the core of color management. Color management is based on color models and color modes, so color is very abstract, and our way of describing color is actually pretty abstract. Our languages is equally abstract, is creating the color. If I ask you to describe red, we start putting adjectives in front of it. Strawberry red fire engine, red lipstick rid rose bread, tulip red. There's the red on that shirt from a coat that the guy was wearing on the bus, like and once. But as soon as I say fire engine red, everybody goes, Okay, I know what color you're talking about. Yeah, color models is mathematical constructs of color. And then we have to map those somewhere so we can describe the color. Mathematically, we didn't have to map that into something that becomes our color model or space. We map it into whatever we're gonna map it into. RGB is additive color colors added together, produce white seem like a is our printing methodology. It's subtracted, so colors air reduced. You think about that? That kind of makes sense. If you're looking at a computer monitor, light is being added together, and the brighter it gets, the more of the colors that are working together and the brighter they are, produces a brighter light. If you wanted to make something brighter on paper, would you add more into it or we do subtracting from it so that the paper could show through? You wanted something to be the white of the paper. You subtract the ink away from it. So the Wakin Chau through. That's kind of the way toe. Remember additive? Worse, attractive. Now this reason it's a struggle for photographers is we live in both worlds. We live in a added a world of editing in this attractive world of printing, and so we have to make that translation somehow. So these are three examples of some of the color models the L A. B one significant for us because it's the one we used to translate across. It's huge, basically all the known color, and the reason it's also significant is it. Most maps, human vision. So where the color is live is closer to our human being. That's what we like to map into that space, to translate colors so that move from RGB. To see him like a we have to translate that we'll go through that L. A B color space. Lucky for you, no abacus required. That's the job of light room photo shop windows, apple all that. They're jumps to do all that for you and to make sure that they all play nice with one another. There's an international color consortium, the I C C, and they help make sure that everything stays consistent across all the manufacturers and vendors. So there's somebody making sure that apple windows Adobe Kant's in EPS and anybody who makes color Samsung Nobody's working color is plain by basically the same set of rules. And that's what's allowing us to move images around. Okay, here is the implementation of a color model on the left. We basically have the kind of the horseshoe shape this is two dimensional color actually is represented in three dimensions. But you could see that we have s rgb adobe rgb in pro photos. You can see it pro photos way more color than adobe rgb way more color than s RGB and that there are colors that exist in pro photo that don't exist in S rgb. So while it's 100% saturated green, the 100% saturated green here, here and here are different greens. So as photographers, what we want to work with those the most color we want the most opportunity available to us. The analogy I like to use for this is five s rgb Um let's give that a court adobe rgb a gallon pro photo a five gallon bucket. I can take srg be important RGB and have 100% of my color retained. I could take 100% of adobe regime, put it in Perrotto. But if I take pro photo and dump it back in S RGB, I'm gonna spill. So why would I edit in s RGB and living s RGB when all of my work and tools are wanting pro photo? I've got gallons of wasted space someone or work with a five gallon bucket. I want to explain how we get to the court. We're not gonna lose a lot. I'll explain how that works. But we want to work in that large bucket not related to light room but on the back of your camera. When you're shooting it, ask you, Do you want to shoot SRG beer? Adobe RGB. That is for making J picks. You're raw file, has no color space and has no color model until it's imported and interpreted by something. So until light room gets a hold of your raw file, it's just a set of luminous data. Then the bottle gets wrapped around it and the colors get defined and they get putting their relative positions in space and they show up. It's Why, when you open a raw file in different programs, sometimes will be a subtle difference in how they look. If you open up in the Nikon viewer, the Epson are the cannon viewer light room. Capture one. You move between these, like those air subtly different. Okay, it's reinterpreting, redefining and how they build their color speak. So as we work on the camera, that's about seeing the J pick. That's the thing that you see on the back of the screen now because light room works in pro photo in the development module, setting that to Adobe RGB is gonna get you closer to what you're going to see when you're editing. So we wanna work that that larger space. So on your camera, you'd be benefited by shooting adobe RGB in. If you're a J peg photographer, that's just getting you exponentially. More colors with that. Okay, as we translate colors, you'll see there on the next graphic there that on the slide this up, you get a C. In my case, a little dollar. The colors mute out, and not all the colors exist. You can see there's some lines that blur, and some banning that shows up. That's in the translation between the color spaces, something's air given up, some things were added, and part of that is that's gonna be dealt with by the color management system of the computer. So even though that's gonna happen and this is one of the things that makes printing such a challenges, you know that richness the pop that's on the screen a little harder to pull out of the paper. So that's the result for that. Ah, color profile is central to the way the color management system works, and what the color profile does is it identifies how much color and in three dimensional space where those colors live next to one another and every device, and every output has a color profile, so your camera has a color profile. Your computer monitors using a color profile, your printer and paper combination has a color profile. We call those icy sea profiles, so if you've got a color monkey or you've got ah X right display or spider and you calibrate your monitor, it produces an icy sea profile that defines and sets the colors for your monitor and make sure that there is accurate is possible if you go to print to an on Epson printer on Kant's and paper. There's an icy sea profile for your model of Epson printer and that specific paper that says that printer and that paper can produce this amount of color Now. The other thing it's important in these profiles is it's also tells it how to translate. So in there. It says, if you send me fire engine red, I'm gonna put it here So it tells it where it lives in space and where it lives in the l A B world. Because we don't care about the numbers. We care about the colors, so the I. C C profiles are important cause they're helping make sure everything moves into its right position from device to device. Output up People who say I'm having a lot of trouble working on getting my images set and my colors toe look right and things toe work well. What they need to do is go in and get a proper profile for their monitor. When colors aren't right on the output nine times out of 10 it is the problem of the monitors colors not being correct and The thing is, you will think they're always correct. You'll look at me like no, I edited it for the red I want the problem is the red you're seeing on your monitor isn't the correct red. So that's what the calibration does. It makes those things known. So the red you're looking at it doesn't know how to translate that when it sends it to the printer properly. So calibration gives it known color. No numbers to make the translation. This is the biggest problem people have when they go to print it. When they go to share stuff, things aren't calibrated. You get a calibrate er for 100 150 bucks, you think call. I'm not spending that kind of money on this. I'd rather waste a lot more money on paper and ink than by the calibrate er or I don't print. So it's not that important. I'm perfectly content with everybody, thinking I'm a photographer who doesn't know what the color it is. I would rather spend $12,000 to buy an 800 millimeter lens that I'm gonna shoot twice in my life. Then the calibrate er I'm going to use every two weeks to make sure my colors accurate. That is what a smart photographer does. Okay, if that's not enough sarcasm, contact me later and I'll continue to pump it at you. If it were up to me when you walked into by your camera there. Like, are you going to share your photographs? Are you ever gonna ever gonna print? Yep. Great. There's your camera. And then this is the little thing that makes your camera work. Go home and install it on your computer and calibrate. And I would be happy because all the color will be right. I will do what I ask. Okay, Light room color information. So what's light room doing about color spaces? My room does a couple of different things, depending on where and what module urine. If you're in the library module, you're going to the great module and you're doing the outlay and you're looking at colors. You're not doing critical work. You're not editing colors, not as critical. Here. We're looking at a loop view were like how it's a good looking photograph. I can edit that things were actually the adobe rgb color space. We're in that space when we look at the thumbnails in the library module. The book module. Gobi. RGB color. When we move into the development module, we're into the pro photo space with a customized tone. A curb adjustment on. It plays just a little bit more contrast in there when it's a lot of nerve step when stuff comes out of the camera's linear and we apply a little bit occurred to build the contrast in and light rooms. Done the work to make sure we get an aesthetically pleasing photograph in in that model. So we're looking at pro Photo with a gamma adjustment. When you go into photo shop, you get to set what color space you work in and when you're editing for export, which will take a look at when we get in light room, I can set what color space I export edited. So if I'm moving into photo shop, I want to be in Pro photo on to be in that big space. I want to have the control of the larger space, but if I'm going to the Web into the Internet, I want to make sure I export and SRG because that's the language of the Internet I want to make sure that it's in the right bucket there so we'll go through where you set those pieces. But for the most part, you don't have to worry about the color space settings in light room like you do in photo shop. Photo shop, you have to set them. But in light room, they're there for a default. Okay, so how do we get from one to the other? This is the other piece that we're going to see this when we get into soft proofing into printing, we have to have a rendering intent. What the rendering intent does is it says I have color on my monitor that's a certain size and volume, and I'm gonna go out to a printer and in combination a certain size and volume. But those don't match. They never matched, by the way. And you can't stress about the match. So the rendering intense job is to say I have this and I needed to fit in this. In some cases, this will have more color in some cases, will have less color. So you this ball, you might have more green than this, but less red. So this image that had a lot of red. It gets a little squished greens, the rendering tennis. How does it do? That relative leaves the colors that Aaron gamut relatively unchanged. They will shift a little bit. We always tell everybody they don't change it all, but they might ship just a tiny little bit. And the color that's out a gamut is brought to the nearest reproducible color. So it says this is way out of bounds to bring it down to what you can make on. Let's go print that export that do what you need to do with it, Perceptual says. Take everything you have and just do this school. Squish, squish, squish. And you're allowed to shift things that Aaron gamut to make room for the things that are coming from out of gamma. So just squish him all that fit in a little bowl. All right, so relative says, snap it into place. Perceptual. Squish it, which is the right one to use. There's always a question everybody asked, and you'll hear people say you should always use relative. You hear people say no should always use perceptual. The correct answer is its image. Damage dependent and you should check it in both. That's the right answer. I can tell you that in general, probably 95% of time relative is more than adequate. I can also tell you and highly saturated colors, particularly with blues perceptual oftentimes renders better. In general. I default to relative to start, but I check in both when I go to print. My eyes were the ultimate judge of the quality of the photograph, not some weird, arbitrary Internet rule. So check it in both. It's super easy to check in both. So I'm gonna show you in light room. Check that click click. I like a over B back to the eye, doctor when we're done.

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I watched this course live. Really good!. Of course, I like all of Daniel Gregory's classes. It's a real treasure when one finds a really good teacher who thinks like oneself. I thought that I already knew Lr well so I was really surprised about how much I learned from this course. I learned so many ways to improve my workflow efficiency.

Anne Dougherty

I was impressed by the amount of information covered in depth, and by Mr Gregory’s teaching style. I’m somewhat new to Lightroom and found his explanations of its capabilities, and why you would use it rather than Photoshop for specific processes, enormously helpful. I especially appreciated his lessons covering printing. This is invaluable information. Great class.

Warren Gedye

This was a great course. Daniel certainly explains it well and in terms I can understand! Super worth it and learnt loads of new tricks! Great job!!

Student Work