Archive for July 8th, 2008

Cameras come from the factory with a number of preferences set by the factory to, they feel, insure that your first photo forays will be successful ones. Not being satisfied with these “vanilla” settings on my camera, I’ve discovered that a little tweaking here and there is the key to getting the most out of your camera. The first setting to tweak is color space. Most cameras come with their imaging chips set to sRGB. This provides a color range (AKA color space) designed to look best when viewed on a standard computer monitor. If you plan to show your work off over the Internet (that’s what this setting was originally made for), sRGB is the setting you should probably use. Since most digital photography ends up on a computer screen, this is the color space to use, right?

Wrong, Obi-Wan, there is another…..color space.

I use the Adobe RGB color space on my cameras. I find this color space offers a wider range of colors — especially in the cyan and green range. This wider range makes your photos look more saturated and have more snap when printed. Adobe RGB is the printer’s color space. It has been tweaked to give best results in the color printing process.

Try this test: shoot a couple frames of a colorful scene with your camera set to sRGB. Shoot the same scene using Adobe RGB. Bring them up side by side in Photoshop (or whatever you’re using) and compare. I think you’ll see what I mean. The difference is significant. Adobe RGB colors are more vibrant. This never made sense to me. After all, wasn’t sRGB designed to make your work look great on a monitor?!?!

So how do you make images that will play nice in both worlds? Simple. Shoot everything using Adobe RGB (the larger color space, remember?) and convert anything destined to appear on the internet to sRGB before uploading. The conversion will throw away some of the data saved in the Adobe RGB color space but that won’t be a problem if you keep a copy of the original, Adobe RGB, file. Right?

Try my little experiment and choose the color space that best suits your needs. I want to capture as many colors in my world as possible….

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