Why should you care about Inter-Instrument Agreement?
Like all major brands and manufacturers, you are expected to produce color-correct products that drive sales. You can achieve this goal by leveraging the use of highly precise spectrophotometers for color measurement, and by adhering to numerical tolerances for acceptable color difference for your products. To minimize color inconsistency while specifying or producing color, it is critical that the color measuring instruments used throughout your organization as well as your global supply chain produce compatible results. This compatibility is often referred to as “inter-instrument agreement” (IIA).
Benefits of Inter-Instrument Agreement
Spectrophotometers with excellent inter-instrument agreement produce color measurement data that can be shared throughout the global color development process. Color standards are measured with one spectrophotometer in the lab, and the reflectance data is then shared with supply chain partners. Rather than remeasuring a physical standard, the recipient uses this “digital” standard for colorimetric analysis. Digital color communication eliminates time and costs associated with producing and shipping physical samples. But more importantly, you can be confident in your decisions made based on the digital data and be assured of the color quality of your products.
The need for regular maintenance and calibration
To ensure excellent inter-instrument agreement between instruments within your organization and global supply chain, you need to first ensure that each instrument is performing at its best. Exposure to dirt and dust from the environment can affect the instruments ability to deliver optimal performance. Spectrophotometers, like any sophisticated instrument, will need regular calibration and service to ensure their performance and accuracy as well as long term repeatability.
True close tolerance instruments are the foundation
While regular maintenance and adherence to procedures are vital to ensure the long-term reliability of a spectrophotometer, it is equally critical that precision and reliability are fundamental elements of the initial design and manufacture of the instrument. The designation as a “close tolerance” spectrophotometer is reserved for those precision instruments that are manufactured to the highest quality standards and that have the best inter-instrument agreement. The “close tolerance” label applies only to those instruments that have very low maximum allowable variance compared to a master instrument, itself traceable to international standards. The Datacolor 800 family of spectrophotometers satisfies the requirements of a true close-tolerance instrument with excellent performance and inter-instrument agreement “out of the box”. Only a select few instruments available in the world today produce these exceptional results without the need for artificial adjustments based on measurement of tiles, a process often referred to as instrument “profiling”.
When these close-tolerance instruments are in use throughout an organization, colorimetric data can be confidently shared between them with the assurance of agreement. This also ensures that, within an organization or its suppliers, fleets of instruments can be merged or replaced without concerns of significant changes in historical results or on-going colorimetric decisions. It is important to take these requirements into consideration when adding spectrophotometers or replacing old ones to avoid significant variation in measurement results.
Contact us if you want to learn more or have older instruments you would like to trade-in to improve your color workflow, reduce errors, save time and money.
By John Walrath
If your print seems too dark, this is an issue with the brightness, or luminance, of your display. Controlling the luminance of your display and the brightness of your working environment is essential to achieve the best consistency from screen to print. It is important to note that dark prints can also make it seem like color is incorrect in the final print.
For a well calibrated display for photo editing and printing, you will need to adjust the luminance to a specified range of 100-120 cd/m2. The Spyder5PRO and the Spyder5ELITE can make these corrections; the Spyder5EXPRESS cannot. At first, this luminance setting can seem rather dim but with the proper lighting in your work area it will seem natural.
The lighting in your room should be fairly subdued for 100-120 cd/m2 to be a comfortable luminance setting. A good rule of thumb is your monitor should be the brightest light source in your room. A monitor hood is advised if you can’t adjust the lighting in your workspace.
A luminance of 100-120 cd/m2 is the recommended range because it offers a good balance between what you see on a display and the image in print. Going above 120 cd/m2 will generally artificially brighten your image. If your image is artificially brightened, it will make it more difficult to accurately evaluate the exposure of your image in print. Left uncorrected, the result will be a print that appears too dark.
Achieving consistency from screen to print depends heavily on your display’s calibration settings. But, the paper, the printer and the quality of the paper profile for the paper/printer combination are very important too. To be certain and have the best quality paper profile for your printer, it is advisable to create your own with a product like SpyderPRINT.
It is important to view your print with a sufficient amount and color temperature of light. We recommend that you illuminate your print directly with a daylight balanced bulb to evaluate. You should also allow a print to dry 10-15 minutes for final evaluation.
The goal with calibration is to correct your display to remove any bias from your display and provide an accurate view into your digital world. If you need to unnaturally alter your image on your display so it looks good in print, you end up wasting time, ink and paper to get a satisfactory print. Calibration can provide a what-you-see-is-what-you-get workflow.
For more on the correct process to achieve the best consistency from screen to print, we have created simple How-To guides to outline the process.
How did you get your start in photography?
I don’t recall a specific moment when it all got started – I suppose I had been playing a lot with my Mum’s camera when I was a child, so my parents decided to give me a camera of my own. I have been hooked ever since.
What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?
Nature and travel photography include many different aspects of my photography. It therefore is one of the most diversified photographic genres you can think of. I’m fascinated by the versatility of photography while traveling and the challenge to locate a variety of scenes and themes and then transforming them into an image – be it realistic or abstract.
Did you experience any challenges as a woman entering into the photography market?
For a long time, even longer than travel photography, nature photography was dominated by males. It’s now slowly changing. In the beginning, I was sometimes surprised by skeptical glances, but I don’t necessarily think being underestimated is a disadvantage. Images speak for themselves, no matter if they were shot by a man or woman.
What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?
My biggest success is to be able to do what I love doing – and to make a living out of it. My biggest challenge is me, for example being a perfectionist.
Who and/or what inspires you most?
The nature, the light – and the people I meet while traveling with their stories.
What is your approach? Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?
Most important is to be patient, open and receptive – for the moment that evolves, for the light, for the split second of a movement, an expression. When it all comes together and the photograph works out as planned, you can express the feeling of the moment: astonishment, excitement, happiness, fear, serenity, laughter.
Why is accurate color important within your workflow?
Because I want to make sure the final image looks the way I envisioned it – no matter if it’s a fine art print, an image in a book or on a monitor.
Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning their career?
Take pictures of what fascinates you, inspires you, touches you, makes you happy – it’s the pleasure of taking pictures that will help you face the negative aspects in your life as a photographer. Have the courage to take your own shots. Don’t think about career to often.
Bio: Sandra Petrowitz combined three of her passions in one profession: To photograph, to write and to travel. She’s a journalist, offers workshops, guides photo travels and is one of the publishers of a German photo magazine called “fotoespresso”. Her book, “The Traveling Photographer” was published in 2013. She’s most happy in the sand desert, in the African bush as well as being circled by penguins in wonderful Antarctica. She’s so fascinated by nature and the light of these high latitudes that she spends several months a year working in polar regions.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret.
Color can be complicated. Really complicated.
From the outside looking in, it may not seem that way. But trust us when we say color can stir up a lot of questions!
And no one knows this better, or can explain it more comprehensively, than Datacolor’s Senior Applications Specialist Kenny Thomas.
Kenny is one of the go-to supporters of the inks, pigments, films, plastics, and industrial coatings fields, who also provides educational and consulting services. He is a true polymath – he seems to have almost encyclopedic knowledge! Typically, any issue considered abnormal or overly-complicated, ends up on his desk. But he has made it his mission to assist Datacolor’s customers by resolving these complexities.
“I like to help any customer I encounter. If a question is weird, it is usually given to me, and I am happy to find the answer” he told us. “There’s connections among the sciences that go to the very psychophysics of color. I love it when I can find a link between these, and relate it to someone who is facing some obstacle. My motivation truly comes down to this: I get to watch another person react to their frustrations being positively resolved. You can see it – it’s a visceral reaction. Sometimes they’ll laugh, sometimes there’ll be a sigh – I love that.”
With well over three decades of experience in the arena, Kenny is without a doubt a one-of-a-kind authority in his department. That wealth of knowledge, coupled with a fervent desire to support Datacolor’s clientele, has created the precise formula for this brilliant, dedicated problem-solver to thrive within our industry. We’re thrilled to shed a little light into his world, and thank him for sharing his knowledge and professional adventures!
Location: Lawrenceville, but with his laptop and phone he could be anywhere
Favorite color: Visible ones
Educational Background: Chemistry and Microbiology
Favorite hobby: “It varies. I tend to binge-focus on activities. But piano is a constant – I think people are surprised when they find out I play the piano.”
Fun fact: “I was raised on a farm, and then worked part-time through school as a musical comedian. I told bawdy jokes while playing the piano. But the most fun thing I’ve ever done in my life (when I was younger) was skydiving.”
Most Unique Samples Handled: Embalming fluid, tattoo ink, nano voids, encapsulated colors.
Kenny’s Journey with Datacolor
Kenny has officially been with the Datacolor team for 30 years. With an initial background in pigment production, he ended up with our staff on an aeronautical whim. He laughingly explained that “In 1987 a recruiter called me about an open position and said, “Do you want to go to an interview in New Jersey? You’ll get to ride on a plane!” I had been on one plane ride before that, so I excitedly told him “I’ll do it!” – not expecting to be overly impressed with the actual interview. But there I met the people I would eventually work with, and it all started because I wanted to ride on a plane 34 years ago.”
Spending so much time at Datacolor has certainly afforded Kenny the opportunity to encounter a wide scope of challenges. Knowing this, we were interested to hear a few of those most memorable to him. He recalled, “In 1998, I undertook a project to determine which algorithms, between those from ACS, Datacolor, and ICS, were the most effective at executing specific tasks. That survey of methods was challenging. Later, when ChromaCalc III was released, I probably coded about one third to half – maybe more – of the features and functions of those specifications, and the longevity of that product makes me proud. More recently, we had a client whose network was attacked by ransom-ware during the night, causing their system to be completely locked down. This crisis occurred over the weekend, and unfortunately, they had nothing to work with as far as backups or installation media. But what they did have was my direct number that forwards to my cell phone. I answered it, and while the client ran to the store to buy a new desktop, I remotely found a backup of some of their data and was able to assist them.”
Overcoming these challenges seems to be all in a day’s work for Kenny. But after 30+ years of conquering complicated quandaries, you would think he would be ready for a break! When asked for his personal reason for working at Datacolor, he quipped, “Who said it was work?”
He then elaborated: “At the same time I’m teaching, I’m also learning – from both coworkers and clients. For the most part, I really don’t think what I do is work. I’m part of really great team here at Datacolor. Whether it’s a customer or colleague, they might share a trick or correct a misconception, but after all these years in the field, I’m still learning and growing. How rewarding is that?”
Words from the Wise
We wanted to know what advice Kenny would give to any color professional. Here are his top 5 tips (although he has plenty more in his arsenal!):
- Repeatability and Reproducibility of your color processes will determine the quality of computer color predictions
- Metamerism, judiciously used in color prototyping, can support more consistent production
- Color is an indicator. So is spectroscopy. Learn the color and spectral effects material & process changes.
- Know your color discrimination capability and aptitude.
- “Device-independence” is a relative term. Any color containers (coordinate system, material or mind) is a device.
You have probably heard us use the term ‘the world of color’ more than once. But what do we mean by that?
There are those who would describe it as the vast cornucopia of colorants. Some people would say it’s simply hue, lightness, and saturation. Those with kids may remember it as a nighttime light show at Disneyland.
For Ken Butts, our Global Key Account Team Manager, it’s pulling Datacolor’s entire textile color industry together as one efficient unit around the world. As he puts it, “We have key account managers in Europe, North America, Hong Kong, and China, and their jobs are to support our largest retail/apparel accounts. My role within that is to help coordinate the global activities of the key account managers. We want to be sure that a color manager in the US has the same support as a color manager in Asia, in order to ensure that their processes are communicated clearly to their suppliers. Ultimately, our job as the global specifiers team is to help brands and their suppliers keep up with the latest trends by creating efficiencies in objective color management throughout their retail and apparel supply chains. My role is to manage that relationship, be sure my team has what they need to be successful, hold them accountable to certain goals, and be a liaison between ourselves and other teams.”
If that sounds complex and important, that’s probably because it is just that. Ken has been a key player in a large, positive step forward for Datacolor through the reunification of the global specifiers team. After nearly five years of being disbanded, Ken has been a part of the reconstruction of this pivotal organization that aims to tackle the inherent challenges of supply-chain color management in the retail and brand apparel industry. We are excited to see what pioneering, forward-looking solutions Ken and his crew provide, and are so thankful for his years of experience and dedication to his craft!
|Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Favorite color: Green
Favorite hobby: Gardening
Alma Mater: North Carolina State University
Majored in: Textile Chemistry
Favorite things about Datacolor: “Seeing our customers be successful. I also enjoy the opportunity to communicate directly with anyone in the company. From the person in the factory to the CEO, it’s nice to be a part of an organization where there is such transparency from top to bottom. You feel like you make a difference.”
Fun fact: “People always seem surprised to find out I have six children!”
Ken’s Connection with Datacolor
Ken has certainly set the bar high in terms of commitment. Whereas some of us can’t even remain loyal to our “favorite” restaurants for more than a year before we’re tired of them, Ken has been a member of the Datacolor family for 25 years. To put that in to perspective, he has been with our team only one year less than the World Wide Web has been a public service. Impressed yet?
It all began when Ken started working at a textile manufacturer directly after graduating from college. He told us, “As part of my training there the first year, I used a color matching system that my employer had purchased from a company called Applied Color Systems. ACS had an office in Charlotte, which was only about two hours from where I was working. Because of that proximity, ACS often approached my employer about our performing testing on new products and their product updates. I got to know the ACS folks really well, and got to know their products and give them feedback. Then in the late ‘80s Datacolor purchased ACS. After working in the mill for five years and working three weekends a month there, I decided it was not for me. I wanted the opportunity to travel (and not work weekends!), so I reached out to a fellow I knew at Datacolor to see if there were any openings.There weren’t at the time, but a month later a position did open, and three weeks after that I was working at Datacolor.”
Being a part of our staff for so long has afforded Ken some unusual scenarios in which he was able to walk our customers through difficult situations. He recalled one particular time “in the late ‘90s, I happened to be on vacation visiting some relatives in Florida. A distraught customer in Canada reached out to me there. They had a pretty complex server implementation for the programs they were using from us, and this color manager had accidentally deleted his entire Datacolor folder that contained all of his programs and data. The whole plant was being run by this software, so he of course was in a panic. Now this was back when you either had to be on-site or have a computer in front of you while you were on the phone, but because I was on vacation I didn’t have those options. I spent about 16 hours on the phone with him doing everything from memory and visualization of what everything looked like. Over two days we got them fully back up and running and he was extremely grateful. I have found over the years that for me, the greatest experience of working at Datacolor has been solving customer problems when they’re in crisis mode.”
Many of us nowadays can barely visualize what is currently in our pantry, much less recreate entire programs from memory. Ken’s prowess in our industry and dedication to our company do not go unnoticed, and we truly appreciate everything he contributes to our team!
Words from the Wise
You’re always one decision away from a completely different outcome in your day. To reach the best decisions and gain the most favorable results, Ken had two pieces of advice:
- Develop a close partnership with your technology provider. They are instrumental (no pun intended!) to your overall success.
- Keep in mind the importance of measurement integrity – everything we do is based on the quality of the data we enter into the system.
At Datacolor, we understand that every customer is unique. One could even say our customers are comparable to – wait for it – colors!
Each color on the spectrum is different. Whether that contrast is huge, like the general distinction between black and yellow, or tiny, like the discrepancy between ‘rose pink’ or ‘watermelon pink’ – there are still differences!
Similarly, our customers, even if they are in the same field, can have very distinctive needs. So how do we pinpoint what products best suit individual customers, and divine and address their particular concerns?
That’s where Jeff Watts, our resident Market Manager, takes up the mantle. On the paint, coatings, and plastics side of things, he is a client-driven one-man-show of strategic direction. We appreciate the technical expertise that Jeff provides, and are happy to highlight him and his contributions to the team in this edition of “Meet the Experts”!
Location: America’s 12th official state, North Carolina
Favorite color: Blue
Educational Background: Western Illinois University, home of Rocky the Bulldog – the Fighting Leathernecks’ mascot since 1958!
Favorite hobbies: Boating, fishing, and diving
How were you introduced to Datacolor? : “I was first acquainted with Datacolor years ago while I was working for INX International – the third largest producer of ink in all of North America.”
Jeff’s Story at Datacolor
It was Julius Caesar who first said, “Experience is the teacher of all things.” And Jeff certainly has learned plenty through his decades of experience in the color industry!
After first being inundated to the trade in the early ’80s, Jeff became part of the Datacolor family in 1994. He spent 16 years with us as an Applications Manager before deciding to gain additional exposure to the industry at both Dunn-Edwards Corporation and Valspar. He returned to us with new, far-reaching expertise last year to maintain the roll of Market Manager – a position that aims to build the ideal strategy for Datacolor’s products, as well as determine the best interests of our clientele. He provides the market direction for some of our largest retail paint customers, and has some impressive perceptions as to the future of those clients. When asked how our customers will change and improve in the world of tomorrow, Jeff told us he believes:
- Customers will move more progressively into the world of automation. It takes the guesswork out of the picture, and provides the most accurate results.
- The need to wet-match every formula in order to ensure accuracy will be greatly diminished over time, due to increasing intelligent systems and technology.
- Software as a Service (Saas) will become predominant. This web-based method of software delivery will allow data to be accessed anywhere, as long as there is a connection to the Internet. The attraction to this model is found in it’s ability to reduce costly on-premise hardware required for most software-hosting.
- Customers will become more attracted to the financial savings that technology provides.
In his tenure as Market Manager, Jeff has provided extensive account management experience and solutions, and we cannot wait to see how his resourcefulness and ingenuity help our clients reach their goals.
Jeff’s Advice for Color Professionals
No department is perfect – which means there is always room for improvement! Here are Jeff’s suggestions on how you can get the maximum return on investment in your own line of work:
- Maintain lab etiquette
- Establish a repeatable process
- Develop a “Color Eye” – AKA, train your color perception
- Do your homework on your everyday equipment
- Standardize your procedures
By David Long
Choosing the Location
The key point when shooting landscapes in the fall is to remember that the foliage just adds color. You still need a strong composition to create interest for the audience. In the Northeast, fall colors can start in early to mid-September in low-lying marshes and with early-turning trees like swamp maples and birches. Elevation can change timing by at least a week. There are now a lot of good apps that provide fall color maps, but I tend to rely on making calls to local contacts to get the best information. Past peak conditions can still yield rich colors and more isolated compositions to allow shooting into November.
Interesting Weather Makes Interesting Photos
My favorite condition to shoot fall colors is an overcast sky as it provides soft/even lighting in which you can shoot all day long. Fog and light rain are even better as they create a mystical atmosphere and great color gradation. On the rare occasion when there is an early snow, you are rewarded with the colors popping out of a totally neutral background. But fall is also full of sunny days, so keep shooting and look to get out in the magic hours of morning and evening. Find shade when you can, or in full sun try to use it to backlight the leaves in your scene.
I use a telephoto lens to compress and bring the leaves more “into the scene”. I usually shoot 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop under and always use a polarizing filter to eliminate the shine off the leaves and deepen the hue. Wind is your enemy in shooting fall colors so I prefer the early morning when it is calmest or I make sure I set my shutter speed at a high enough level to “freeze” the moving leaves. If you have moving water in the scene, use a tripod with a longer shutter speed to give a little motion to the stream or waterfall. I like between 1/3 – 1 second depending on the water’s speed.
I try to engage my audience by varying the scene from the traditional landscape. I do many of my shots around still water in order to provide reflections that create a little distortion to the viewers, which tends to hold their interest. I also try to find paths, roads, fences, etc. to provide leading lines into the scene/foliage. Another technique to change the normal way the audience sees the scene is by getting low to the ground, shooting straight up or including a close-up of foreground leaves in the scene.
Fall is a wonderful time to shoot and as Albert Camus said, “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”.
Photography is my passion. Rain, snow, fog & sunshine, I’ll be out with my Labradoodle, Meg, searching for a unique & intimate scene that I connect with or simply to absorb myself in the ever-changing beauty of my local landscape. I’m a lover of all things outdoors but I have an affinity for obscure woodland where I enjoy the therapy, wildlife, atmosphere and tackling compositional challenges. I don’t obsess over the technicalities of photography; instead I crave experiences and unique moments in time that serve as a constant reminder that there is far more to outdoor photography than a photograph.
Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
By John Walrath
As photographers, we are always looking for color that matches our creative intent. Often the need is to reproduce color absolutely and the other is to simply achieve better color. Absolute color relates to translating color as accurately as possible from the real world to our digital world, while better color can mean a nicer look or consistency between multiple shots. A lot goes into reproducing color accurately. Factors like lighting, camera and lens as well as the actual colors of the subject are important considerations.
The light source illuminating your subject bears a major influence on color capture. Camera sensors are very capable in many lighting conditions but struggle in others. Lighting can be the biggest obstacle. Strong or vibrant color can also challenge a camera’s capabilities.
If absolute color accuracy for the most faithful color reproduction is your goal, using a known color reference to aid color correction is the best way to assure color is accurate. The alternative is to push and pull sliders until you believe it looks correct. Implementing a SpyderCHECKR is a more efficient way to confidently reproduce faithful color.
SpyderCHECKR is used to correct the influence of the light source, or sources that illuminate your subject and to adjust color. To use, include the SpyderCHECKR or SpyderCHECKR 24 in the scene you are photographing to be used as a reference image. Take a reference image like this each time the lighting changes.
When you edit these images, use the white balance eyedropper on one of the several neutral tones on the front of the SpyderCHECKR. If you seek just a white balance correction, use the large gray target on the reverse side. To correct for color accuracy, create a user preset with the SpyderCHECKR software using the color chart reference and apply it to the set of images in the same lighting. Once you apply these techniques, you’ll be on your way to having absolute color accuracy.
By John Walrath
At the end of every October, thousands of photographers and videographers descend upon the Javits Center in New York City for the PhotoPlus Expo. For those attending, it’s an exciting time to learn about recent product announcements. For those of us who work in the industry, it is an excellent opportunity to connect with and educate customers.
The 2017 PhotoPlus Expo marked my 5th year attending. I am accustomed to the hectic nature of the show but I have also become familiar with Manhattan. When I was asked to share my experience at PhotoPlus on Datacolor’s Instagram I was thrilled. To have the opportunity to not only provide an inside look at PhotoPlus, but to share New York City how I see it was very exciting!
Knowing that I would need to make photographs daily to share, I wanted to have a common theme binding them together. I sought to capture images that unmistakably represented New York City. However, that isn’t very challenging since New York has so many recognizable locations. I wanted to go beyond the obvious.
When I think about New York, the words movement and energy come to mind – I used these words for inspiration. I recently completed a series of images where I intentionally incorporated selective motion blur. I decided this would be a good approach to demonstrate the movement and the energy of New York City.
With my assignment set and my camera in hand (a Fuji X-T2 if you are curious), I hit the ground running as soon as I finished setting up the day before PhotoPlus Expo opened.
To create selective areas of motion blur without a tripod, I needed to find a shutter speed that I could hand hold my camera but also slow enough that would not freeze the action within my composition. For this technique, I used a shutter speed of about 1/60 and adjusted my ISO and aperture to the point the image was exposed as I intended.
I love shooting from a tripod but this can be challenging in New York. I mostly shot hand held but I did use a tripod for some of the images I made. When using a tripod, all I was concerned about was finding a shutter speed that matched the motion blur I wanted to create in an image. I did not need to worry about balancing creative effect with a shutter speed that can be held by hand.
Compositionally speaking, I needed to focus on how the static subjects and the moving subjects interacted. For example, a composition where movement leads off the side of a photograph is less effective than one where the movement leads into the image to create depth. After some practice, I was able to anticipate where and how the movement would occur within my composition.
Below are some of my favorite photographs:
Making the Print
I find a lot of joy in printmaking. I love the moment when I first see an image on paper. I do not print every photograph I make but I believe that part of my role as an artist is to create physical pieces of art and not just digital files. Printmaking is part of a photographer’s heritage and I believe it should still be a skill that is practiced by every photographer.
One image that I was particularly happy with is the one above, on the left. I like the way the people and the cars move through the frame towards the Flatiron. The Flatiron is also my favorite building in New York City so I am sure that influences my fondness for this image. I usually end up with at least one image of the Flatiron every time I visit New York.
When I got home I fired up my printer. I chose to print this image on one of my favorite papers: Red River Paper’s San Gabriel Baryta.
Photographers embrace the challenge of creating a three-dimensional world on a two dimensional surface. Adding selective motion incorporates the element of time into a photograph. I enjoy the layer of depth it adds and its another compositional element I have to work with to make an image more dynamic. I feel it was an effective choice to convey the way I see New York City.
By Ken Butts
Ultra-portable devices can be important tools for textile color measurement. Small, inexpensive, and relatively accurate, these instruments meet specific industry challenges. I recently discussed ultra-portables in a presentation to the AATCC Coloration Challenges symposium. Here are some key points from that event.
Objective color evaluation matters
For 40 years, businesses have understood that objective instrumental color evaluation improves efficiency in the overall color development process. In production, objective color evaluation ensures accountability at a reasonable cost, helps identify problem materials or colors quickly, and helps transition companies from visual sample evaluation to precision color management.
Accurate textile color measurement also helps designers to be more efficient. They don’t have to develop new colors where standards already exist, don’t have to buy as many samples to compare colors, and can efficiently match components such as thread and zippers.
It’s a challenge to blend objective color selection methods with selection based on personal aesthetic and inspiration. Yet color measurement that’s available at the point of color selection can support both the goals of the business and the designer’s creativity.
Spectrophotometers, the instruments often used to control color quality of fabric in production, are highly complex and not truly portable. Even if it’s not as accurate as a spectrophotometer, a low-cost instrument equipped with mobile apps and small enough to carry in a pocket or purse may be ideal in certain circumstances.
For example, with an ultra-portable device a designer could easily measure colors at a fashion show or in a competitor’s store — and then determine whether the color is in their own library or available from a color standards provider.
Optical design of ultra-portable devices
A number of ultra-portable instruments have been released in the last couple of years, sometimes branded with the logo of the companies that adopt them. While designs vary, most devices include:
- LED illumination
- A method of filtering and consolidating light
- A sensor
Here’s a typical design.
Similar to colorimeters, these devices produce color responses for a specific light source that can then be used to calculate results such as CIE L*a*b* values.
Features and performance
Color look-up is currently the primary application for ultra-portable color measuring devices. Essentially:
- User makes a measurement
- System returns one or more matching colors from one or more databases
- Result are displayed on the device, a mobile app, or both
In addition to displaying color matches, the mobile app may allow the user to build palettes and share information with others.
The prices and capabilities of ultra-portable devices vary considerably, as shown in the following table. Brand names aren’t included, since I’m not endorsing one over another here.
|Integrated White Tile||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Weight||29 g||60 g||61.5 g||165 g||50 g||60 g|
|Dimensions||27.5 mm dia x 55 mm||30 mm dia x 109 mm||144 x 52 x 40 mm||60 x 54 mm||51 mm dia x 51 mm|
It’s interesting that while higher price typically correlated to higher performance, only two instruments achieved a 94% success rate: one cost $250 and the other $700.
Other use cases
In addition to providing quick and easy color matching for designers, ultra-portable devices offer benefits for others in the industry.
- Trim and accessory manufacturers can take advantage of more efficient color search for customers
- Color standard providers can use branded mobile apps and devices as sales and marketing tools
- Future developments might make ultra-portables useful for performing basic textile color quality control functions, cataloguing warehouse inventory, and other tasks
If you’d like to discuss ultra-portable instruments in greater depth, please contact me directly or subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.
Ken Butts Global Key Account Team Manager, has an extensive background in textiles with over 30 years supporting the trade. Ken leads the worldwide specifiers team – a unit designed to work closely with brands, retailers, customers, and prospects to understand and overcome the inherent challenges of the textile industry.
Core Value – Passion
One of Datacolor’s Core Values is Passion, and it’s often the hardest to explain to new hires. It’s easy to say, “We are passionate about our customers” or “Datacolor is passionate about color”, but what does that look like every day? How do our employees demonstrate passion? Unfortunately, the Datacolor family lost a great example of passion when Jeff Fain passed away this past May. Jeff was a Datacolor Product Manager for 25 years and a proud father of two grown daughters.
Few people are lucky enough in life to find multiple things they are passionate about, and Jeff was one of those lucky individuals. Not only did he travel the world serving as a valued consultant to current and prospective Datacolor customers, he spent his spare time giving back to his community by serving as a hitting coach to the Central Cabarrus High School Softball Team. You could not have a 10-minute conversation with Jeff without him bringing up his softball team – how they did at the last game or how some of the high school sophomores were already being scouted by colleges. His eyes would light up when discussing their accomplishments and his passion was apparent.
Jeff had such a positive impact on so many people during his short life, it became obvious that the Datacolor family has a responsibility to continue that legacy. Given his love of softball, we chose to have a dunk tank at our annual Datacolor Company Picnic to raise funds for the Central Cabarrus High School Softball Team. Members of Datacolor’s Executive Team, including our CEO Albert Busch, and other Datacolor employees, took turns getting dunked. It was a fun, lighthearted event, but we also took time to reflect on our fallen colleague. As a result, we were able to collect $4,359.00 for the softball team Jeff was so passionate about. I know he would be proud of what the Datacolor family accomplished and I look forward to future activities and events in Jeff’s honor.
Have you been considering purchasing a color matching system for your paint department, but their intricacies left you unsure where to start, or whether it was worth it?
We’re here to help.
The Meat and Potatoes
At its most basic, a paint color matching system is a computerized tool that allows you to search formulas, match competitors’ colors in your own paint and products, and most importantly custom matching any sample.
And when we say “any sample,” we mean it. Paint chips? Absolutely. Shirts? No problem! Curtains? Of course! Heck, someone could bring in their favorite four-legged friend, and a color matching system could match their fur. So whether it’s rustic home renovation, or a deluxe doghouse design, your customer can get the color they crave not only the first time, but every time.
So how exactly do paint color matching systems aid your department? Here’s a few of our top reasons:
In the digital age it is important to keep your business up-to-date with the current relevant technologies. Nowadays, most paint departments have taken the initiative and implemented a color matching system. Having one in your arsenal allows you to stay competitive.
Not only does the system allow you to stay with the times, it also allows you to save time. The precision of the device reduces time spent on corrections that inevitably come with simply guessing at a color’s formula. An added bonus to this, is that costs are also minimized by getting a color right the first time!
Staying current with the color matching technology itself allows you to stay on the leading-edge in other areas as well. For instance, utilizing the system permits your department to carry the latest formulas from your manufacturer. This sets you even further ahead of the competition!
A final, significant reason to put color matching technology into action throughout your department, is that where our human eyes are fallible, the system is not. Color can look different depending on the individual, which can cause avoidable variances in color matching. The technology allows a department to establish consistent color matching, making it easier on everyone.
Purchasing contemporary paint technology is a big step for any department. However, we can confidently say it is a step in the right direction! While there are many reasons a store may decide to update their color matching processes, we’ve found that there are three common catalysts.
A New Beginning.
When you’re starting from scratch, every facet of a project can be overwhelming. Luckily, color matching systems can bring a bit of calm to the chaos, and provide at least one area in which you don’t have to worry. Whether opening a new store, installing a new paint department, or initiating new technology, being at square-one is often the positive momentum one needs to implement the latest color matching systems.
Making an Upgrade.
Being an established store or department is a commendable feat! But to maintain that success, stores will occasionally need to enhance the fundamentals of their processes to increase efficiency and stay on the cutting-edge of technology. No matter what your reason is for upgrading, streamlining the systems through top-of-the-line color matching systems is a frequent incentive for changing a departments current processes.
Changes for the Better.
Unfortunately, sometimes a department’s current program just isn’t working. Whether the device’s support has been unreliable, or the quality of the system itself just isn’t living up to your expectations – for one reason or the other, it’s causing dissatisfaction within the store. Moving away from the old and implementing a state-of-the-art color matching program is often a department’s easiest way to erase the headaches of former systems.
The devil is in the details!
We understand that when you’re choosing a paint color matching system, the specifics can be complicated. Here’s our suggestions on what to look for in your ideal operating system.
Texture Measurement Capabilities
Why limit yourself? The optimal color matching device should be able to measure across any texture, not just one particular finish.
Lab Quality Accuracy
Strive for perfection. Be sure to select a color matching system that gives precise results in measurement, formulation, and correction – giving your customers the color they want the first time.
A Trusted Solution
Just because you’re not a paint laboratory, doesn’t mean you can’t be just as accurate. Don’t settle for second best; choose a device given a stamp of approval by well-known paint manufacturers.
Make life easy; ensure your color matching device is compatible with your paint dispenser, thus saving you extra time and effort!
You can’t put a price on ease of mind. Your ideal color matching system should be supported by an enthusiastic, highly-knowledgeable team of individuals who specialize specifically in retail paint.
Kick complications to the curb. Ensure the system you are contemplating is easy to learn and easy to use. Specially, be certain the product can swiftly search formulas, quickly color match, rapidly redispense a customer’s saved formula.
Skip the swindlers. Do your homework, and be confident that you are receiving a competitively priced solution before making a final decision!
Every business has different needs, but a color matching system can be your paint department’s best friend. We hope you find the right fit!
Retail Paint Solutions
Connect with me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/masnow
Let’s face it – everyone has a painting “war story.” Maybe your ingenious idea to use old sheets as paint drop cloths didn’t do your carpet any favors. Or maybe your excellent driving caused your just-bought paint buckets to burst open in the trunk of your car. Hey, maybe you’re a paint expert – but you have a friend whose Picasso-inspired toddler took a sharpie to their walls.
It may come as a surprise, but something positive can come from all those “war stories.” These (retrospectively!) comedic adventures can help you connect with your customers on a more personal level. Then, through the medium of the relevant anecdote, you can can offer your customer a lifeline by providing them the opportunity to receive exactly the same color again and again by saving their formulas.
What’s the point?
Now, some of you may still be asking yourselves, “What is the point of saving a customer’s color formulas?”
That’s a great question! Not only does it provide a better service to your customer, it turns them into a happy repeat customer – especially in the event of a paint-tastrophe like those listed above.
It doesn’t just help your customers, though. It also benefits your paint department as a whole. When you save your customer’s color formulas, you can easily, endlessly, and precisely redispense the same formula. Not only that, but a good color matching software allows you to quickly search through thousands of your customer’s electronic formulas in seconds. This system is also able to reformulate the same color into different sheens or products. Finally, pairing your software with a spectro allows you to correct mistinted paint colors. This cuts down not only on time, but unnecessary costs as well!
I like my index cards
Others may be reading this and saying, “Wait a second – we’ve already been saving costumer color preferences on index cards! Why should we change that now?”
We’re happy to report that saving customer formulas in the color matching software erases the common pitfalls of the standard index card process.
Using index cards is an excellent first-step, but when you are handling hundreds of formulas, efficiency is key. Invaluable amounts of time and resources can be saved by having the ability to quickly search and redispense formulas by storing them electronically using a color matching software. An added benefit of saving your customer’s formulas electronically is its ability to reformulate the color into different sheens/products. Index card file systems do not support this important advantage. Saving your formulas electronically also gives an added level of professionalism to your paint department. If these reasons were not enough to consider saving customer formulas electronically, here is one last bit of food for thought: using the program over index cards eliminates the possibility of a card becoming lost, or someone’s illegible handwriting rendering it useless. By saving your formulas electronically, they’re always immediately available, whenever you need them.
I already save my customer’s files
If you are already saving your customer’s formulas electronically, kudos! In that case, our biggest piece of advice is to complete a regular backup of your files onto a flash drive. This avoids any negative effects a rogue lighting storm may have on your valuable customer files.
Save your customer’s paint formulas! If you have color matching software, it doesn’t cost a thing to start saving! If you don’t have color matching software, it pays for itself. It puts time and money back in your pocket, and the positive experience will encourage customers to return to your store again and again!
Senior Applications Specialist
By Cynthia David
Who doesn’t love weddings? Every couple wants to have the perfect day and the memories that go with that special day. Wedding photography has grown and has evolved from being shot inside a studio before or after the wedding; to shooting couples before, during and after the wedding outside of the studio along with wedding albums and thank you cards.
Taking photos of couples that are normally under a lot of stress takes a lot of patience and creativity. Most wedding photographers do well in portrait and the usual approach as of late would be something between Traditional and Photojournalistic with a touch of the fashion-based approach, where the outcome aims to look like a fashion editorial. The approach depends on the couple’s requirements and the photographer’s technique. Wedding photographer Alex Ruelo who has been working with couples is often asked, “why did you choose to focus on wedding photography?” The simple answer from him would be “it squeezes the creative juices out of me and it gives me more freedom to innovate.”
Alex got into the industry at a time when the wedding photography greats have already been established in the country. It was not easy to break into the wedding circle but with hard work and perseverance, people started noticing his work and offers started pouring in. His approach is strobist; colors need to pop out of his images even if some are in black and white. Light is his best friend; he loves working creatively with flashes and strobes. He wants his clients to remember how they felt when their photos were taken. He sees a lot of his images pop up on social media whenever there are other special occasions such as birthdays, Mother’s/Father’s Day, etc. He is sure that his clients use these photos because it reminds them of a happy thought or feeling. He tries to do more outdoor shoots because nature is always a great backdrop where one feels the sense of being at one with what is natural and as a couple with each other. “Doing wedding photography is a privilege of touching hearts and capturing that special moment for two souls. I am always grateful to my couples for choosing me to work with them,” says Alex. Going the extra mile – like chatting with couples, helping with their other suppliers, makes Alex more memorable to his couples; “you also learn from your couples, learning never ends,” he says.
One thing he learned along the way is that technology is also a great tool to advance yourself or be at par with your competition. Alex uses Panasonic Lumix GH5, G85, Leica lenses, Strobe Lighting is a must) and Spyder5ELITE to calibrate his monitor because color is very important to his workflow, it gives life to the image and speaks for his brand of photography which is making couples happy.
It was that old dusty film camera inside the garage that sparked a desire to learn more about photography says Alex. After taking up photography courses at the New York Institute of Photography, he did freelance work and after six years decided to go back to the Philippines. He was accepted for apprenticeship at ImageNation Photography, he rose from being a junior photographer to senior and now as a master photographer. Aside from photography he also dabbles in events management, workshops, seminars and marketing consultancy. He was responsible for the growth of several imaging brands in the Philippines from a camera brand, camera support and accessories brands, bag brand up to lighting and studio equipment. He is currently a brand ambassador for Panasonic Lumix.
By Oliver Mews
Colors in a photograph don’t necessarily coincide with colorful photos. When photographing under conditions with mixed lights, the results strikingly reveal a fact everybody is probably already aware of: each camera interprets colors differently, although the light conditions were identical during capture. One preview on a camera display shows colors with a slight red cast, another preview display seems to show a cold, blue cast. The camera’s automation is not the only factor responsible for this predicament. A camera’s or RAW converting software’s automatic white balance refers to the brightest pixels in a photograph. These pixels work as a reference point for neutral reflections of the existing light. Oftentimes, this process works fine. As soon as photos are taken from different angles or with different cameras however, misinterpretations in terms of white balance become extremely obvious. Those shooting JPG and choosing to rely on automatic white balance, have to deal with differences in displays of color between their photos. There is hardly a way to correct this discrepancy and a correction automatically results in significant loss of image quality. RAW converters don’t even consider using such hardly color-neutral pixels as a reference for white balancing, as the software allows for a manual definition of a neutral gray reference with just a click during post-processing. Thus, it’s important to always have a gray card at the ready. Watch out however, when dealing with photos capturing colorful lighting moods, such as sunsets. These kinds of pictures always require manual adjustments in your RAW converting software.
When a photographer uses more than one camera, it becomes even more obvious that the way colors are being displayed has a lot to do with a camera’s characteristics. Adjusting several cameras in a way that the result is an identical color output is hardly possible when done manually and by visual judgment only. On top of that, such a process requires a lot of time and effort. The RAW format however offers a wide range of opportunities and allows for optimal color characteristics due to a plethora of color sliders. That being said, achieving identical color outputs is certainly not a walk in the park, but a bit of patience along with some dedication and the right tool set allow for perfection. A white balance correction is the first important step towards color consistency. The next step is taking care of correcting individual colors. A color reference is required in order to match different colors. There are different tools available, all of which are so-called targets, analyzing a camera’s way to display colors and finding a way to neutralize it. In this case, we make use of a SpyderCHECKR, offering a plugin for Photoshops’ ACR or Lightroom. Once photographed under each respective lighting condition, this target is utilized as a reference within the software. Just a few clicks, and we are able to create customized settings, which are available in our RAW converting software of choice. Each camera and each lighting condition requires its own customized correction setting. Our case study shows a mixture of photos taken with a Canon 5D MkII and a Nikon D700. We utilized one customized setting per camera for general daylight, which was applied to all pictures taken during daytime. Please note that this process can certainly be applied to creating consistent colors for photos taken during an event. When reproducing paintings in a museum however, it is important to consider each slight change of ambient light as well as different reflections.
This is how you make your way through this process of achieving consistent colors:
- Photograph the color reference frontally as precisely as possible and make sure to avoid reflections.
- Prepare the target in your RAW converting software, using the sliders for white balance, lighting and shadows
- Instead of going for white, use a medium shade of gray as a reference for your white balance. Gray is the better choice, as it doesn’t reflect ambient colors the way white does.
- Now go ahead and adjust this white reference to a saturation of 90% (RGB 230, 230, 230), using the respective sliders
- Proceed by adjusting the reference for shadows to a value of 4% (RGB 10, 10, 10), using the slider for blacks.
- All color references in the chart will now be retrieved by the plugin and thus automatically used as a basis for correction processing.
- Finally, the software saves a customized setting, containing detailed color corrections.
- Given the lighting conditions were identical, this customized setting can now be applied with just one click as a color correction on the other photos of this series.
There’s a famous 1980s song that is not only immediately recognizable, but usually gets stuck in your head as soon as it’s mentioned. Released in 1981, “Working for the Weekend” hits home in almost every business arena. Many even consider it an anthem of their work-life, because for most, Saturday and Sunday are the ‘light at the end’ of the week’s proverbial ‘tunnel.’
But not for Datacolor’s Senior Applications Specialist, Crystal Cox. To Crystal, the weekend is just an additional set of valuable days she can provide service to our clients. Whether it is 8am on a Wednesday or noon on a Sunday, Crystal is ready to help.
There are plenty of examples that highlight Crystal’s enthusiasm to assist those she works with on a daily basis. When asked about those, she said “You just never know when someone will need help. There have been times when I have spent multiple Sundays working with customers because that was the only time they had available. There have been afternoons spent working on the floor with them to get new software up and running. Ultimately, we work together, the customer and I, and these situations give me the opportunity to learn from them and get a better sense of their needs for the future. I just want everyone to have a good experience.”
Crystal’s dedication to the people she works with shines through no matter where she goes. Her can-do attitude is a beacon to everyone who contacts her – which is why we have taken the time to spotlight her personally, and to learn from her extensive background in retail paint!
|Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Favorite color: Datacolor Red
Alma Mater: University of Florida (NOT to be confused with Florida State). GO GATORS!
Hits the road in: Either a Honda CRV, or the “mom mobile,” but would love to have another convertible some day.
Favorite hobby: “Kayaking the rivers through the mountains of North Carolina and the US Olympic Whitewater center.”
Fun fact: Crystal has two sons; one in a band who recently opened for Charlie Daniels, Foghat, and the Marshall Tucker Band, and another who works in team management for the Kannapolis Intimidators – a farm team for the Chicago White Sox!
A long, long time ago, in an office much different from today, Crystal’s journey at Datacolor began. Hired in 1998, she has been with Datacolor through thick and thin, and fell into her role as an Applications Specialist quite by accident.
“When I started, they needed all hands on deck for the first couple of weeks as we started becoming more immersed in the retail market. It was a new level of business,” she recalls. “The position was called Technical Account Rep. At that time, Paintmaker had just been upgraded to Windows, and we were really striving to move forward with retail paint systems – and thats how I ended up here.”
After nearly two decades in the field, Crystal is certainly an industry expert. So what keeps her committed to Datacolor?
“It comes down to the people I work with,” she said. “I have known people, both in-office and customers out-of-office, for my entire adult life. It’s a great company. We had a meeting this past winter with our team in NC, and we estimated that combined we had 500 years of industry experience. I’ve known these guys forever, and there is a huge level of trust here. I think we have a great team. So many of us treat this like our baby; it’s personal to all of us. When it comes to customer support and service, we’re killing it – we’ve got it going on!”
Crystal’s Top 3 Paint Department Tips:
We asked Crystal what moves customers can make to increase the success of their paint departments. Here are her recommendations:
- Save. Your. Data.
- Encourage users to try samples first before committing to them.
- Encourage equipment education within the paint department, and urge employees to understand how the software works, and what it is meant to do.
Datacolor’s Friend with Vision Firat Bagdu is an award-winning professional photographer with Kurdish heritage living in Cologne. He is famous for his refined and powerful images, characterized by vibrant colors, clear and distinctive shapes and lines, playful elements and an attention to detail when capturing the perfect moment. He built his brand based on portrait and wedding photography and is popular well beyond the German borders. His passion for photography is clearly reflected in his unique images, which is the main reason he is booked for countless weddings.
We had the opportunity to have a chat with Firat on wedding photography.
Firat, why do you photograph weddings?
Because it gives me the opportunity to meet wonderful people and I feel honored to be allowed to accompany them on one of their most important days of their lives. A lot of beautiful contacts have evolved and they are just as unique as my photography.
Weddings are a very special moment in one’s life and it’s well worth capturing and keeping it forever. As a photographer, I love these days full of emotion – two people getting married, usually amongst their family and friends. Such a day has it all: joyful anticipation, excitement, lots of emotion and a wild party. I thoroughly enjoy accompanying a bridal couple as a photographer on their big day and, over and over again, I am happy to be able to contribute my share to making this day an unforgettable memory.
On top of that, wedding photography is a lovely balance for my other commercial jobs.
Don’t you consider wedding photography to be exhausting and a great challenge due to immense performance pressure?
Of course a wedding day is exhausting because, as a photographer, you have to stay focused and creative from the beginning to the very end. You have to be fully present at any given time, master your equipment and be able to react spontaneously all day long. Absolutely nothing should go wrong as you simply cannot repeat a wedding day. If I were to miss the exchange of rings in church I would not be able to ask for a replay.
All in all, I find that wedding photography is underestimated. On a wedding day, the photographer is responsible for portrait, architecture, landscape and reportage photography.
It sounds like there is a lot of pressure involved, but I know my equipment by heart and I have developed a certain technical routine throughout the years. I trust my abilities, which allows me to be creative and produce very special images.
How important is thorough planning?
To me, thorough planning is key and it starts with getting to know the bridal couple well in advance. I make sure to meet them in a relaxing atmosphere and make time for them to find out what is important to them. Most of all, I take my time to observe details. It is vital that there is certain chemistry between the photographer and the couple, as you will spend an entire day of such importance together. You’ll also spend time afterwards when it comes to handing over the photos and prints, the wedding album, etc. Our first meeting is also an opportunity for the bridal couple to get to know me better. Quite often, I am able to give them a few useful tips on how to optimize their schedule on the wedding day.
If possible, I check out the locations in advance. Regardless, I am the first person on location on the wedding day itself, as this gives me enough time to take a good look around, develop ideas on how to structure my photos and it puts me in the position to be able to implement these ideas quickly and effectively.
What inspires you when you look for photographic ideas? What exactly do you look for?
The lighting situation is particularly important to me and I reflect on how to integrate it into my photos to my advantage. I analyze if the light caters for hard or soft shadows. There are many photographers who are literally obsessed to shoot in perfect lighting conditions. I think that such an obsession doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t work for me as the consequence would be that I wouldn’t be able to take great photos on a day with “miserable” light. I have to be capable of analyzing the light available and realizing which potential it offers by itself and where I should boost it a bit to be able to get the effect I’m looking for. Whenever I am on a job, I carry additional light sources with me, such as continuous light, LED lights and flash units – which doesn’t mean I always use them.
In terms of inspiration, I always keep an eye out for forms and patterns, lines and details I can implement in my photo in order to lead the eye and offer an impressive backdrop. Some inspirations come to you in a very trivial way, such as the perfect collude of colors. Oftentimes, I feel myself inspired by non-optical aspects like smells, sounds and atmospheres. The art of photography is capturing and conserving these very moments.
Are you the type of photographer who steps in and gives instructions or are you the silent observer in the background?
A bit of both. During a church wedding ceremony, a photographer shouldn’t disturb, be in people’s way or draw attention to himself because he doesn’t stop wandering around. In such a situation, it is extremely important to remain low-key, in the background and still make awesome photos.
Most couples also want some posed images of themselves in a beautiful scene. These photos are usually taken right after the church ceremony or a bit later that day, when there is the chance to quickly leave the party to take these shots. That does however mean, that time is very limited and I won’t be able to achieve the best possible results of the photos I have in mind and the bridal couple desires, without giving the appropriate instructions – or nicely put: without leadership skills and appropriate communication. I quite often show them the photo results on my camera display. When the couple likes what they see, they carry on even more motivated.
The compulsory group shot also requires communication, as you need to gather all these people at the same time, keep them entertained so they don’t get bored and at the same time, you need to quickly shoot a series of group shots as there is always a person with their eyes closed. As a photographer, I find myself to be the entertainer very often – I have to be positive, in a good mood and approach people open-mindedly.
Later, during the party, I revert to the quiet observer type of photographer. I take portraits unnoticed, using lenses with long focal lengths to isolate people and capture special moments. Most of the time, I remain unnoticed which makes these pictures much more authentic as people act naturally.
What happens after the wedding?
First of all, I need a few hours of sleep and some rest. I then start my data backup as soon as possible, along with sifting through my photos, selecting the best shots and starting the image processing on my calibrated display. It is important to me that I see my personal style reflected in the images I choose and that includes the colors being displayed the way I saw them and the way I wanted to form them – all the way from capture to print. The bridal couple is supposed to relive their moments by looking at these photos and it is by no means acceptable to have colorcasts.
Most couples want to have their photos ASAP and as soon as they return from their honeymoon, they start asking when I can deliver. The newlyweds usually receive an access code to a restricted area on my website, where they can look at their photos, make their selection and directly order their prints. More and more couples invest in photo books on their wedding, which is a service I happily provide.
What do your wedding photo books look like?
I am a huge fan of classic designs. I like wedding photo books that are of high quality, elegant and timeless. That doesn’t mean that I ignore trends or simply don’t like them, but you have to keep in mind that a wedding album is still supposed to be enjoyable to look at in 30 or 50 years time. I find that following current trends and design ideas quite often means you won’t like them anymore only a few years later. Just think of the outstanding patterns of the 70s – how strange would it be to look at a wedding album with a 70’s background nowadays?!
Any tips on creating wedding photo books?
Those who create their first photo book certainly find lovely inspiration amongst the classic presets the photo book service providers offer. It is a good idea to gather further ideas from just looking at magazines and coffee-table books by checking out how they designed their double pages. That’s how I developed my own presets that I then amend to suit the relevant bridal couple’s style.
I consider the print quality and materials used to be of high importance. If that’s where you start saving, you’re saving in the wrong spot – we’re talking about a wedding after all, which (hopefully) is a once in a lifetime experience and as such, the photo book should be unique and very special. Therefore, it is important to be very diligent when designing it – a wedding photo book isn’t done on the fly.
Since high-quality photo books are a bit more expensive, it is also important to make sure that the print comes out the way you imagine. Therefore, I work on a calibrated display and have the photo book manufacturer’s ICC profiles to be able to use the soft proof function on my computer to simulate the print output and be able to manage my colors accordingly.
Those of you who are keen on further inspiration by Firat’s photos, are more than welcome to have a look at more extraordinary portraits on his website. From time to time, Firat shares his knowledge in workshops for portrait or wedding photography. If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on dates, go ahead and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.
Watch as Matt Granger talks you through the value of calibrating your laptop, and how to ensure you see the correct color in your stills and video when editing in different locations.
“I have used Datacolor products for years – long before I had a commercial relationship with them. I traveled through Hong Kong, Korea and China doing demonstration and talk for them back in 2015, and I would not use their products if I didn’t think they were quality.”
Before YouTube & travelling the world teaching, Matt is a passionate professional photographer, specializing in all things ‘people’ related. Matt has been published extensively in Australia and abroad, and has exhibited with the likes of Studio Harcourt.
Over the past 5 years Matt has become more focused on what he calls Intimate Portraiture – tasteful nude portraits, often shot on location with a casual atmosphere.
Matt became involved in the photography training market several years ago, after posting a few photography videos to YouTube. Since then the channel has grown to become one of the largest, and most viewed photography channels worldwide. Matt’s down to earth approach and friendly character have made him popular as a workshop host and speaker at events around the world.
Whilst he is a confessed gear addict, Matt’s mantra is ‘Get Your Gear Out’. GYGO is the idea that whatever gear you own, wish you owned or plan to own – the most important thing is to get out and shoot. You will improve more and enjoy your photography by shooting – rather than collecting equipment!
Outside of work, Matt is a happy husband, a passionate traveler and explorer and a bit of a foodie. Matt studied economics and film studies degrees at university – thankfully he has washed away most of the first, and kept a passion for film.
Scientific color management solutions help manufacturers deliver the uniform colors customers associate with quality. They also save time and money by improving color communication among stakeholders.
What makes color matching tricky?
Visual color matching – against a color card, for instance – is easy, but it’s imprecise. Individuals both see and describe colors differently. Some people may perceive color variations that others miss, even if lighting conditions are the same. And physical characteristics of an object like gloss, shape, and texture also affect the way we see and describe their colors.
Uniformity is always associated with high quality, but different industries and products may consider different amounts of variation acceptable. Color variation that’s acceptable in a child’s toy, for instance, might be completely unacceptable in the paint for a high-end automobile, in luxury goods such as leather handbags, or for designer brands.
Why does it matter?
If your product colors are inconsistent, consumers see your brand as inferior or your products as cheap. If quality matters to you and your customers, you need to find a way to accurately replicate product colors.
Since we see colors differently, and one person may see a perfect match where another sees variation, it’s important to be able to standardize descriptions of color. Even face-to-face, but certainly when communicating with global vendors, distributors, and customers, a misunderstanding about color can lead to delays, manufacturing errors, and other costly problems.
Today’s color management solutions
Tools are now available to help designers and manufacturers accurately measure, display, and analyze color. Broadly, these tools include both hardware and software components. The hardware is used for measurement, and can be either stationary or portable. The software provides a visual display of the measured data, thus facilitating color communication.
Mathematical color models, CIELAB being the most widely used, provide an objective construct to more accurately describe colors, but the subjective requirements of a particular industry or product must also be considered.
The right color management solution will be intuitive to use, and can be tailored to your company’s specific requirements. Improvements in accuracy and efficiency make such solutions cost-effective to deploy.
We recently released a Director’s Brief that more fully describes the hardware and software considerations of implementing a new color management solution. Give us a call to discuss what a scientific color management system comprises, and how Datacolor can help your business.
Senior Application Specialist