Color Space

Many DSLRs allow you to shoot in either the Adobe RGB 1998 or the sRGB color space. There is consid

erable confusion over which is the "right" choice, as Adobe RGB 1998 is a wider gamut color space than sRGB. Photographers reason, "Why shouldn't I include the maximum range of color in the image at capture?" Others reason that sRGB is the color space of inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras and not suitable for professional applications. The answer is clearer after reading a recent trade publication from Fuji, which contains the following recommendation:

If the photographer's camera allows the "tagging" of ICC profiles [color profiles for devices

Becker created this image of the first dance with a Fuji FinePix S2 and 17mm lens wide open at I/i5 second.There is some camera blur and lots of grain, which Becker enhanced and toned in Photoshop, creating a split-tone effect—partially warm tone, partially cool tone.The image is a masterpiece.

including cameras, monitors, and printers] other than sRGB, we recommend selecting the sRGB option for file creation. The native color space of many professional digital cameras is sRGB, and Fujifilm recommends the sRGB option as the working space for file manipulation when using Adobe Photoshop along with a fully calibrated monitor. End-users/photographers who alter the color space of the original file by using a space other than sRGB, without being fully ICC aware, are actually damaging the files that they submit to their labs.

Fuji's point of view seems to mirror that of professional digital labs, which use a standardized color space (sRGB) for their digital printers. Even though the Adobe 1998 RGB color space offers a wider gamut, professional photographers working in Adobe 1998 RGB will be somewhat disheartened when their files are reconfigured and output in the narrower color space. Thus the call for uniformity among professional photographers and labs.

There is also another school of thought. Many photographers who work in JPEG format use the Adobe 1998 RGB color space all the time, right up to the point that files are sent to a printer or out to the lab for printing. The reasoning is that since the color gamut is wider with Adobe 1998 RGB, more control is afforded. Wedding photographer Claude Jodoin works in Adobe 1998 RGB, preferring to get the maximum amount of color information in the original file, then editing the file using the same color space for maximum control of the image subtleties.

Is there ever a need for other color spaces? Yes. It depends on your particular workflow. For example, all the images you see in this book have been converted from their native sRGB or Adobe 1998 RGB color space to the CMYK color space for photomechanical printing. In general, I prefer images from photogra phers to be in the Adobe 1998 RGB color space, since they seem to convert more naturally to CMYK.

Ironically, if you go into Photoshop's color settings and select U.S. Pre-Press Defaults, Photoshop automatically makes Adobe RGB 1998 the default color space. By the way, out of the box, Photoshop's default color settings when installed are for Worldwide Web, which assumes the sRGB color space, and color management is turned off.

NOISE

Noise in an image occurs when stray electronic information affects the individual image sensors. It is made worse by heat and long exposures. Noise shows up more in dark areas, making evening and night photography problematic with digital capture. This is worth noting because it is one of the areas where digital capture is quite different from film capture.

SHARPENING AND CONTRAST

In your camera's presets or RAW file-processing software you will see a setting for image sharpening. You should choose "none" or "low" sharpening. The reason for this is that sharpening can eliminate data in an image and cause color shifts. Sharpening is best done after the other post processing effects are complete. Contrast should be set to the lowest possible setting. As Chris Becker notes, "It's easy to add contrast later, but more difficult to take it away."

METADATA

DSLRs give you the option of tagging your digital image files with data, which usually includes the date, time, and camera settings. After opening the image in Photoshop, you can then go to File>File Info to see a range of data including caption and identification information. If you then go to EXIF data in the Section pull-down menu, you will see the data that the camera automatically tags with the file. Depending on the camera model, various other information can also be written to the EXIF file, which can be useful for either the client or lab. You can also add your copyright symbol (©) and notice either from within Photoshop or from your camera's metadata setup files. Photoshop supports the information standard developed by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC) to identify transmitted text and images. This standard includes entries for captions, keywords, categories, credits, and origins.

Intermittent areas of color and black & white create an unusually interesting wedding image. The viewer's eye darts between the monochrome and color areas of the print, then comes back to the bride and groom. Photograph by Jerry Ghionis.

Charles ^Marcng

IMAGE GALLERY

Creating a world-class wedding album requires a perfect blend of photojournalism and portraiture, a reverence for print quality, and a design approach only possible through the use of digital technology. So says Charles Maring."I began this realization approximately five years ago," he says, "and began a personal search for a concept that would not only emit the qualities that I believed strengthened our work, but that would create a greater demand for our work."

As a second-generation photographer, Charles grew up learning that behind every great photographer is an incredible printer. He has had a darkroom as long as he can remember and, like many photographers who have been in this field for a lifetime, that is where the magic happened for him as a child. Seeing a print transform from a blank piece of paper into a work of art in mere seconds is a magic that still inspires him.

About five years ago, however, Charles and his wife Jennifer (also an award-winning photographer) made the leap to go digital for their portrait work. Everyone told him it was a mistake, but determination prevailed. Utilizing a Kodak 460 digital camera, he found that he could produce images that were far superior to what he was getting from any pro lab or in his own darkroom with film. New capabilities for self-promotion and self-expression came to life,and he was able to add an artist's interpretation. Soon, every image leaving the studio was digital—and print quality was still a key factor. "More than anything else," he says, "I watch clients leave our studio feeling like they have finally received the product and the service that other studios simply failed to offer."

There was only one problem. Workflow—they were doing all the work themselves. To add insult to injury, they were actually paying a higher price for digital than for analog prints. Charles began to research digital printing and, two years later, the studio purchased a Polielectronica Laser Lab, which is maintained in the U.S. by Colex Imaging. "I wanted the best of the best and felt that nothing compared for quality or speed. I can now have my order printed and packaged in less time than it took me to burn a CD," Charles says.

The raw speed of laser technology allowed them the luxury of employing staff and starting a new company run by the family called resolutionlab.com. Rlab works with a limited number of digital photographers needing output that has a higher standard of quality. Even though the Polielectronica was a $200,000.00 investment, Charles has noticed other well-known photographers making the same leap around the country.

Charles and Jennifer photograph approximately 25-30 weddings between them annually with a typical client spending well over $10,000.They also take on a limited amount of portrait work, and it is not unusual for Jennifer to exceed $2500 for a portrait sale.The studio also photographs a limited number of seniors each summer. Says Charles,"We do not put all of our eggs in one basket at our studio, gallery, or lab. One side of the business allows us to grow on the other, and vice versa. Most importantly, we enjoy all aspects of our business, and there is never a dull moment."

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