Color Correction vs. No Color Correction:
Our color correction process is intended to adjust the files you send for ideal output on our end. The color correction staff members are able to manually adjust the global color (R/G/B channels), brightness, contrast, and saturation. When adjusting the image files, their goal is to have balanced color overall (especially with skin tones for portraiture), and to make sure that neither the highlights are blown-out, nor the shadows clipped. The monitors used by that department are calibrated regularly, and each technician is tested to ensure they can perceive hue, saturation, and luminance within an objective standard. In addition, our printers are tested daily to ensure their output remains consistent.
As always, if an order is color-corrected, it is fully guaranteed by us that the final products received will be satisfactory in regard to the overall color, brightness, contrast, and saturation. The color correction service is included by default when ordering through Bay ROES.
If you prefer to handle color management proofing on your end, we offer an Economy No Color Correction workflow in Bay ROES. Images are printed as-is, so we only recommend using the Economy workflow to test your calibration, or if you have already calibrated and profiled your monitor to match our printing output. Otherwise, there may be a mis-match between your monitor and our printing. Before implementing a No Color Correction workflow, we recommend ordering the Evaluation Prints, available in the Bay ROES > Evaluation Prints Catalog. These are complimentary test prints, 8x10 on Lustre photographic paper, designed to assist you in monitor calibration. They will show our natural print output, so they can be used as references for color, brightness, contrast, and saturation for the photographic print process. You may order 5 Evaluation Prints per year, so we recommend choosing images that have differing tonalities - high-key and low-key, warm and cool, high-contrast and low-contrast, etc. - in order to see how those aspects are produced in print form. The same Evaluation Prints can be used for recalibration, as our print output will remain consistent over time.
Ultimately, the process of calibrating & profiling a monitor is to have the closest possible match between the monitor output and the lab's natural print output, so here are some recommendations to help you obtain the closest match:
- Computer monitors are back-lit, so you will likely need to reduce the brightness of the monitor, but there will still be a slight difference between monitor and print because of this.
- The Kodak Endura Metallic or the Fuji Pearl papers will alter the way the image appears, primarily with regard to the contrast and saturation, so you will need to compensate for deeper shadows and higher saturation overall.
- Eliminate all natural daylight in your work space. The color temperature of sunlight will change throughout the day; warmer (red side of the spectrum) in the morning & evening, and cooler (blue side of the spectrum) in mid-day. This change will affect the way your images appear throughout the day, both on-screen and in print form. Artificial lighting with high-CRI (color rendering index) bulbs of the same type is best for consistent lighting in your studio or work space.
- Calibrate at least once per month, more frequently if your monitor is older. Monitor output shifts over time, so regular calibration will help you keep the output consistent.
- For different types of prints, the same calibration settings may not apply. Every lab and print process is different, so calibration settings that match our photo paper prints will not match our MetalPrints, so you may need to create different calibration profiles using the calibration hardware.
If you do not have one already, consider investing in a higher-end monitor that you will use primarily to proof your images for printing. Brand, series, and cost is less important than being able to achieve good, consistent results - color proofing is somewhat of a "the ends justify the means situation", but we recommend the following specifications:
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher
- Contrast ratio: 1000:1 or higher
- Gamut: 1.07 billion colors displayed or higher
- Viewing angle: 178° or wider (IPS panels will typically meet or exceed this)
Understanding the Image Histogram:
A histogram is a visual representation of the data contained in an image file, corresponding to all the different tones present within the image. There are 4 separate histograms per image: RGB (for overall exposure), and then separate histograms for each of the channels, Red, Green, and Blue. Learning how to read the histograms will help in making sure your images are properly exposed, and that your overall color does not have a significant color cast. Learn more about how to interpret and use histograms.