Knowledge Base

Checking an Image’s Aspect Ratio

Resizing & Sharpening Images

TIF vs JPEG

If you’re a photographer and want high quality prints, it’s good practise to shoot in RAW and save your images as TIF files. JPEG is ok when you want to conserve space on your hard-drive or save your images for the web. The downside of JPEG is – it’s a compression file. So when you save an image as a JPEG, data is removed from the file to make it smaller. Therefore you’re losing quality. While it may not be noticeable in smaller prints, it will be in larger prints.

TIF on the other hand is a compression-less file, so it retains all of the data.

RGB Colour Spaces

What colour space should you save your images in?

sRGB

Ideal space for web work, but not recommended for photo editing and printing due to it’s limited colour gamut (range).
Skin tones will be within the sRGB gamut. So possibly ok for wedding photography etc. but if the bride is holding a bunch of bright red roses for example, the red will be out of gamut and dull in print.

Adobe RGB (1998)

Ideal space for printing, provides a much larger colour gamut (range) compared to sRGB.

ProPhoto RGB

Provides a huge colour gamut, somewhat larger than Adobe RGB (1998).
Alot of photographers, (including myself) use ProPhoto RGB for editing.
The fact is though- even the latest, colour critical monitors operate under AdobeRGB (1998)
So you won’t actually be able to see all of the colours in the ProPhoto RGB gamut anyway!

Also modern printers aren’t capable of producing all of the colours in ProPhoto RGB.
In fact modern printers aren’t capable of producing all of the colours in Adobe RGB (1998), in saying this though the latest Canon printers can actually print some colours beyond the Adobe RGB (1998) gamut.

Why do I use ProPhoto?

It’s a way of future proofing my work, so as technology advances -ie. Monitors and Printers- I’ll be able to see more colours in my images on screen and in print.

In Summary

Only use sRGB for the web
Print with Adobe RGB (1998)
Edit with ProPhoto RGB

Monitor Calibration

If you’re getting serious about digital imaging, you’ll need to get yourself a monitor calibrator.
No matter how good/ expensive your monitor is, you still need one. It’s a fact.
You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes, un-calibrated monitors (I have found) are generally too bright and too cool (in colour temperature).
Get yourself a good calibrator like a Spyder (around $200) or better still, an i1 Display Pro (around $300)
If you’re really serious about digital imaging (and can afford it), you’ll need to get a colour critical monitor like an NEC or Eizo.
At PixelPro – we use an NEC 30″ Colour Critical monitor, paired with an i1 Pro calibrator.
We also use the following calibration settings (and I’d encourage you to use the same if you want better screen to print matching) –

  • White Point – D65
  • Gamma – 2.20
  • Luminance – 80 cd/m2
  • Contrast Ratio – 200:1

White Point

Refers to colour temperature OR your screen’s ‘whiteness’
D65 (or 6500 Kelvin) is considered industry standard for editing. When you look at a pure white image on the screen it should appear white and not warm (yellow) or cool (blue)

Gamma

Basically refers to the relative brightness of midtones. Again 2.2 is industry standard.

Luminance

Your monitor’s luminance or brightness.
Industry standard is 80 – 120 cd/m2.
We prefer 80 (in saying this, your monitor’s brightness should be relative to the room’s ambient light. Basically, your room’s ambient light should be equal to or slightly less bright than your monitor. Never brighter.)
NOTE – Brightness calibration can be over-ridden by the brightness adjustment on your monitor. (Brightness buttons on a Mac keyboard for example) In other words – it’s best not to touch brightness adjustments after a calibration!

Contrast Ratio

Basically the ratio of your monitor’s white luminance (white point) to it’s black luminance (black point)

Colour Gamut

Use native to enable full use of your monitor’s capabilities.

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If you really want to go down the monitor calibration/ colour management rabbit hole, there are a couple more things we could talk about –

  • Correct lighting for the room (household halogens are too warm, flouro tubes are too inconsistent).
  • Room wall colours (neutral gray).

If you would like more info on this – contact us, we’ll be happy to explain further.

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