Color Woes for Photographers

Dog with paw caught on top of his leash.

woe is me …

On Monday, I had the fantastic opportunity to guest blog on Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY. The venture began when I discovered that the images I had so carefully crafted on my laptop looked totally different on another screen, and not for the better. Colors were much more saturated; whites were grayer; contrast was diminished. I was panicked. What were others really seeing when they viewed my images on their screens?? Why had this happened?? How had this happened?? I received some advice about hooking my laptop to a standalone monitor, but the one being touted to me was very expensive. Would this really solve the problem? Or were there other solutions? A better laptop perhaps? I was at wit’s end.

I turned for help to Leanne, an incredibly talented photographer, who also shares her time and energies to support and challenge her followers and to get them networking with each other. My request? Whether she would mind if I used her weekly post title “Up For Discussion” to put my questions out to my followers. Leanne came back with a totally unexpected response: She offered her blog to me as a forum for my questions. Wow! I do have to admit I was a bit nervous as I didn’t want this to turn out to be a waste of Leanne’s time, but I crafted my post, “Up For Discussion: Color Monitors for Photographers,” and sent it and a few pictures off to Leanne to post on her blog.

What a wonderful community Leanne has! She good naturedly warned me there might be a lot of comments and to be prepared. She was so right. The comments poured in from so many willing to share their expertise and experiences. And through it all, Leanne monitored the comments but let me be the one to reply to them. It was a fun 24 hours (and comments are still coming in!). The result? I now have the information I need to make an informed decision about how I want to deal with the issues I had originally identified.

It’s an illuminating discussion about monitors, color calibration, and in part, the overriding issue of color management for photographers. I encourage my followers who aren’t already familiar with Leanne to visit her blog and to read for yourself the issues raised and the responses from her community. And do yourselves a favor while there: take a look around. You’ll love every second!

Many thanks to Leanne and to all who contributed to the discussion!

24 thoughts on “Color Woes for Photographers

  1. I enjoyed the read.. I’ll have to look at Leanneโ€™s blog I keep hearing so much about it .. for information your pictures come out well on my screen ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Glad I was able to contribute, was a valuable discussion on a topic that is fairly technical and specific and difficult to understand as it covers such a wide range of issues, look forward to hearing your progress ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Loved your input (as you know)! Ultimately, I might just have to save up for that NEC monitor and then find it on sale ๐Ÿ™‚ It will also support (better) printing efforts down the road, should I decide to go that route. But I’ll keep you posted!

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  3. Hi Stacy, what a mess you’ve created in your Leanne’s blog post! I would say the following:
    Now a day, we have two main type of photography depending on its porpoise: for printing and/or for the web. In my simple and practical opinion, if printing (meaning for professional or exhibition reasons) is the case, I consider extremely important taking into account all these pieces of color monitor calibration advice, along with many others from the camera color setting and printing machines profiles. But, in case of photography for sharing on the web, I wouldnโ€™t care about it too much. Simply, you can do nothing for others monitor color calibration and, for sure, everyone has his own favorite method and devices. So, it’s very important to calibrate your monitor in order to get colors as real as possible, but never expect others to see, in their monitors, exactly the same as you see in yours.

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    • Hi, Jaime. I’m sensing you mean “mess” in a bad way. But here’s the thing: mess or not, I had no way of knowing if there was or wasn’t a solution to the problem I had identified. If there was a “solution,” what did I need to do? Having absolutely no idea, I reached out for answers. And putting the question out there was incredibly helpful. Did I stir up an issue that might not be of importance to some? Yes. But I’m a firm believer in learning everything I can about something before making a decision. And as a result of the post, I (and others who are interested) can now make more educated choices based on what is most important for our individual situations.

      Some may not need to change what they are doing. For me, I at least now know that I want to calibrate my monitor (something I knew nothing about before) and what tools are available to do so. And I also now know what additional steps I might want to consider. Will I take these steps? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’ll be making that decision based on knowledge I didn’t have before, and that’s definitely a great outcome ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Oh, no, IN NO WAY Stacy; Iโ€™m so sorry, I do apologize! Actually, itโ€™s totally the contrary. Even, I thought about starting my comment with โ€œhahahahaโ€(fake laugh) but then, I changed my mind just because, maybe, you wonโ€™t get the figurative meaning, and could sense I was making fun of that (as unfortunately it was) . I really meant โ€œmessโ€ in the best way, due to the rush of bloggers producing that huge amount of useful and very formative information, tips, and even links to go for buying the best option, etc, etc.
        Like you, I also believe in knowing anything, as best as possible, before acting, and I truly admire your appetite for learning. I hope this has been just a misunderstanding, theyโ€™re occupational hazards. The main idea of what I meant is condensed in the very last sentence of that post.

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        • Hi, Jaime! No apology necessary. Perhaps before I typed my long reply I should have simply asked you what you meant by “mess” ๐Ÿ˜‰ So glad to learn that you liked the discussion. And I’m not at all surprised that your answer to the question was right on point with what so many others said – you always have such wonderful information to share ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, as always!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. How fortunate that you were able to use Leanne’s blog as a forum to learn from others. I am heading over there soon to read the article. I’m sure I can gain from the tips that you were given. I’m a computer geek so I’m lucky to have several computers and monitors to see my work. Now I know why on some occasions I think maybe I should have done more.. or.. less. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Wow that is pretty cool ! And it hadn’t occurred to me re colour variations on other monitors, although on reflection it makes sense. Something to ponder. And I’ll go and look at Leanne’s site. I’ve come across it before and life got in the way and I stored it in my mindful archives โ€ฆ. but it fell to the bottom of the pile.

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    • “Mindful archives” – I like your choice of words ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad to hear visiting Leanne’s blog is now back at the top – so worth it. Thanks, as always, for commenting!

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  6. Congrats, Stacy. That’s HUGE!! I will check Leanne out. It’s funny but one of topics I plan to tackle in the near future is why colors in magazines and computer monitors never look like the chip color. : )

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    • Oh, my color guru friend, this kind of topic is right up your alley. I’ll definitely be interested in that article! Have fun on Leanne’s blog – I know you will. And thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. The fact that my images might appear all wrong on another monitor never occurred to me, like so many readers of your guest post!! That was a very informative discussion indeed…..thanks for the education Stacy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it’s much nicer to be blissfully unaware, Madhu ๐Ÿ™‚ But once I saw the discrepancy, I just had to have answers, for better or worse. Seems color management is very important for printing; as for the web, the advice seems to be to do the best you can with what you’ve got and carry on. The comments certainly helped define what “best” might mean!

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  8. Stacey, that’s absolutely fantastic, and it’s a perfect indication of how generous and helpful other bloggers are. I love the community we have here, and Leanne is definitely one of the best. It’s so nice that we can call on each other for help when needed.

    Glad you put yourself out there and got some results ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shane, I absolutely agree with you. I love the give-and-take and the connections that we forge with each other. The generosity and support of this incredible community is what makes this whole adventure so worthwhile. And you’re right – Leanne definitely is one of the best!

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