One of the aspects of photography that we usually shy away from or procrastinate to infinity is to catch up with the color space. When you hear acronyms of the type sRGB, Adobe RGB or CMYK … it seems that a no-se-what enters the body that makes you hum a na-na-na and move on to something else butterfly. If total, you keep taking pictures as usual and nothing happens, right? Surely you have thought that it should not be so important compared to the effort that must be made to learn about it. Well, it’s time to catch up. For two reasons:
- Because it is useful. Haven’t you ever wondered why your photos change color when you print them? Or why on your computer they look different from your friend’s? Here is the reason.
- Because I am going to explain it to you as easy as I would have liked to be told. You will see how the effort is minimal, you just have to read this short article.
My purpose is that when you finish reading this you have been very clear, but you will always have the comments to answer any small questions. Do not cut yourself! And, now, to the subject …
WHAT IS THE COLOR SPACE?
I could talk about the electromagnetic spectrum or the visible light spectrum, and blablabla, but then I would only keep postponing your updating with this topic. Surely you wouldn’t keep reading, right? I would also do the same. I am more than easy, # Quélevoyahacer. We better simplify it, although someone later pulls my ear, but this is not a physics class, what I intend is that you understand .
The color space is the range of colors that your computer can represent, it is a standard list of color coded. When your camera captures an image, on the card, what it is recording is data that later the program of your computer has to “translate” or decode and it does so within the range of colors it has, which is much more limited than the range of colors that exist in reality.
To see it more clearly, our eyes show us the colors as a mixture of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet and we see a combination of these seven. While the screens (camera, TV, monitors, etc.), represent it as a mixture of only green, red and blue. On the other hand, printers do it as a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Do you understand now why sometimes an image of reality changes so much to the screen of your camera and from there to paper? Here is the trick … So what do we do to put some “order” here? Well here comes the second part …
WHAT COLOR SPACE TO USE?
Although in the end each teacher has his booklet and each one finds his best way of working, at first it does not hurt to know some basic notions and some forms of generic use. Once you know this and understand the way you work, you can decide how to proceed with your images (which are yours for that ).
SRGB FOR DIGITAL.
This is the most common color space on monitors. It is the one that most cameras use by default to display their images. It is also the most recommended to use when the photos are not going to be printed. That is, if your idea is to show that photo on any type of screen, use this color space without hesitation.
This is the most recommended option for:
- export JPEG files to use on the web
- to send to a customer (if you don’t know what color space you use)
- To send the images by email.
Let’s say it is the most commonly used and the one used on the Web.
ADOBE RGB PROFESSIONAL IMPRESSIONS
Its color gamut is wider than sRGB and is the one that is used as standard in the photographic industry. Let’s say it is the one used professionally. Most mid-range cameras can capture this range of colors, high-end monitors can represent all the colors in this space, as well as high-end printers can also reproduce it. Yes, you read well, high-end, that is, professional level. For terrestrial user level we return to sRGB;), remember that it is the one that most devices use.
CMYK NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES.
This is the color space that is usually used in the printing process of newspapers and magazines, and in almost all printers sold today. It is the one that produces the smallest number of colors of all color spaces.
RGB PROPHOTO. FOR THE MOST PERFECTIONISTS.
It is likely that this color space sounds less to you. It is the one that covers the widest range of colors and let’s say it is for the most perfectionists of color. Only high-end cameras are capable of registering more colors than those registered with Adobe RGB. Only suitable for high quality printers. Likewise, if you want to work in this color space, you have to make sure you work with programs that support it, because, otherwise, the colors will have a bad image.
To summarize a little and that you stay with the key concepts, I leave you the most important points here:
- The most standard format for displaying photos digitally is the sRGB . If you are not going to print the photos, or are going to print them on any printer, work from beginning to end in this color space.
- If your photos are going to appear in a magazine or newspaper, save them as CYMK. It will allow you to have a more faithful file to what the public will see.
- I recommend, when editing your photos in Photoshop or Lightroom, use Adobe RGB. And always save the original in this color space (if you think you can ever print it) and pass another copy to sRGB to upload to the Web or send by mail.
- When you care about the color of a photo, you better shoot in RAW .
- Forget, for now, of ProPhoto RGB , unless you are a professional for whom color is very important.
- And since we are, maybe you should take a look at this article to tune your monitor
- Remember that the important thing is to know what the purpose of photography will be to be clear about what space to work with. It’s not always better to do it with Adobe RGB as you may have read;).
I hope you have clarified this issue and see it with other eyes. You already know that if you have any questions you can leave it in the comments. We do the blog together and the comments and questions always enrich the articles.
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