Magazine Article


Color Management

Note: Be sure to use an RGB color space large enough to encompass all photographic, thermal, and process color output devices, and one that works well with flesh tones, reds, greens, and typical memory colors.

Tell your lab which RGB color space you're using and that you've embedded the profile. This will eliminate any confusion about which color space the image is in. It will also streamline your handoff to the lab and yield the color accuracy and "look" you intend.


Your lab should also have calibrated its monitors and built profiles for them, ideally with the same application you're using. This ensures the lab operator will see the same color you see in the studio.

Using Photoshop, the lab sets your embedded RGB color space profile as the working space profile for the job you submitted. Your images are opened in Photoshop, and any final color corrections or edits that are necessary are made.

Similar to the input profiling process, the lab will build custom ICC profiles for their printing services and materials such as LED photographic print paper, inkjet media, or CMYK process color conversions. There are a number of powerful color management applications available for building these profiles, including Kodak ColorFlow Profile Editor.

Finally, the lab will convert your images to the color space of the output device-from RGB profile to printer profile. This process ensures that your images will be reproduced accurately and consistently and can be output to a variety of devices. For future use, the lab archives your images in the RGB color space.


Although color management might seem daunting, it yields long-term benefits that can sharpen your images and your professional edge. There are more specifics and nuances to color management than can be covered here. Most labs that have implemented color management are an excellent source of advice for photographers making a move to digital imaging.

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