During my Studio Lighting and Photoshop classes we often discuss the benefits of having a color managed workflow. I use the X-rite ColorChecker Passport to create custom camera profiles. Since I can potentially use 3 bodies during an event shoot, such as a wedding, I want to make sure that the color rendition from all my cameras match.
As for my display and printer I’ve upgraded from the Spyder2 Pro Studio to the Spyder4 Pro Studio. Trust me, the only reason I upgraded to the Spyder4 was that I upgraded my operating systems to Windows 7 and the Spyder2 Pro was no longer supported.
So what good is a color calibrated workflow if the photo processing lab’s colors don’t match what you see on your screen? The way I do it is to send the photo processor a Target Image that has been specially designed with known color and B&W values. I’ve been using my Fuji Target for about 10 years now but decided to create a new one (work in progress). I had these targets printed by a wide assortment of labs (Mpix, Millers, Collages, etc.) as well as local establishments such as Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, etc., so I can visually compare the final products and choose the best lab to process my photos. I have, on more than on occasion, changed labs so as to provide my customers the best possible product.
The main thing to look for is color cast in the white areas. Also the R-G-B and C-M-Y-K tend to vary quite a bit between processors. If my whites are white and my color swatches are correct, I’ve found my processing lab.
If you want to download the Test Targets I use, you can find them in the sidebar under Downloads on the Home Page of this blog. There are two of them, the Fuji Target and the NixImages Target.