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When Good Color Goes Bad...

Even with the popularity of digital technology, and the availability of equipment and software associated with it, many printing firms are still slow to make the changes needed to upgrade their business. More so when it comes to digital photography.

More often than not, most typical printing outfits are no set up to process digital files that bad results do happen. Mistakes are often made such as conversions of files to CMYK doing irreparable damage to the images, and the operator trying to rectify his mistakes by fixing it with a series of layers, selections, masks and adjustments. These further aggravates the already damaged file by introducing new problems like banding, and colors that look muddy, desaturated, neutralized, and unappealing.

But this situation can be avoided and great results can be achieved. If you feel that you are not getting the best output for your digital camera images, here are a few key tips for you:

Tip 1: PROFILES

It's a must to ask your chosen printer whether they honor embedded RGB profiles. This would mean that they have the capacity to handle RGB color separation work. If they don't want to get your RGB file, or they seem like they don't care or understand what you're saying, then it's time for you to go to another printer.

Tip 2: CALIBRATED

Remember to use shops and facilities that regularly calibrate their displays. This can be done with a hardware calibration system.

Tip 3: INK JET PRINTS

To avoid second-guessing where the mistakes rest, it is better to just provide your printer with prints, especially to alert operators to potential problems.

Tip 4: SHARPNESS

Although well-sharpened images look a bit intimidating when viewed in Photoshop, especially at 1:1, your image will print well. Great sharpness is required when you're dealing with coarser screens and uncoated stocks.

Tip 5: FOR POSITION ONLY

Layouts showing FPO images cropped and scaled will help printers provide optimum and sharpened result to your image.

Tip 6: COLOR CHECKER

With each new set up for color reference, one printer suggests that you ask your photographer to do a shot of his Gretag MacBeth "Color Checker" target.

Tip 7: RAW FILES

Ask your photographer if he or she can provide you with digital camera raw files. These raw files will provide you with the greatest latitude and quality in the hands of skilled operators.

The best way to go about this problem is to simply deal with printing companies whose prepress staffs understand the basics of color management. People who know and are experts on the advantages of digital raw camera files, and explain them to you when asked.

If not, then it's better for you to change now.

For comments and suggestions regarding this article please contact webmaster@ucreative.com or visit http://www.ucreative.com

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