Category Archives: Gear

I’ve got the Hippy Hippy Shake – Cure Tripod Woes

I’ve got the Hippy Hippy Shake 

No one remembers that song huh? It was by this little group called the Beatles. OK, enough music nostalgia. 

Reader Duane W had a question on camera shake while ON A TRIPOD. 

Duane wrote: I was shooting at the beach back in May and tried to pull off a shot.  What I did not expect or plan for was the amount of wind in the evening.  A storm was working up and the wind was gusting off the water about 20-30 mile an hour. 

I love shooting water and getting that nice shutter speed about 1/4 – 1/6th of a second.  That made the water perfect, but because the wind was strong made the rocks not sharp due to my camera and tripod shaking. Continue reading »

Lenses – Everything you need know to pick the correct one


I don’t think there is any question asked more at internet photography forums than” What Lens should I buy” and I don’t think there is more confusion than the answer that people get. There just seems to be a general confusion about lenses and why do we even have more than one or why do we have this one over that one. So I thought I would take a moment and talk about lenses. They are after all, our camera’s eyes. 

Crop Factor

Before we talk about anything, let’s take a moment and talk about “Crop Factor”. When camera focal length is expressed they are expressed in a length that would be in play on a 35mm Film Camera or a “Full Frame” digital camera. However camera with a smaller sensor APS-C or 4:3rds cameras have a crop factor to them that must be taken into account to understand how you will actually see using this lens. 

A 50mm lens on a Full Frame Camera or an APC-C camera is still a 50mm lens; however, the APS-C camera with its smaller sensor only sees a smaller area of the lens area. This is the crop factor. For most Canon’s this is 1.6x for most Nikons this is 1.5x and for 4:3rds camera this is 2x. So we multiply the Focal length times the crop factor and that would tell us what the lens would look like on a Full Frame camera. In other words it will have the same Field of View (FOV) 

So in our instance a 50mm lens on Canon 60D will have an effective FOV of  an 80mm lens on a Canon 5D MKII 

All the images in this tutorial have been shot on a Full Frame Camera (Canon 5D) and are expressed in full frame focal length. So you if you want a lens that looks like a  particular FOV that I have taken a photo of, make sure you know it will look different on your cropped sensor camera. So do the math to find the focal length that will look like it looks on your camera. 

Focal Length

Why do we have different focal length lenses? The first reason that comes to most people’s minds is “Magnification”. We have a subject far away so we want to bring it closer with a telephoto or we have something large in front of us and we want to fit it all in with a wide angle. But as I will discuss in a bit, that may not be the real or most important reason we choose different lenses, but it could be. 

Here are what different focal lengths look like standing in the exact same spot shooting the same subject.




We can see, if we wanted to photograph the entire cliff area from where we were standing, we would need a wide angle lens (17mm). But if we wanted to shoot the Lifeguard Tower and were unable to get close to it (As may also be the case when shooting wildlife that we wouldn’t want to scare away) we would need a telephoto lens (200mm). 

And that maybe all you need to know, but it doesn’t tell the whole story because that is not how we may actually or we SHOULD actually be shooting and what the real and major differences may be in Focal Length. 

The real difference between different focal lengths is not so much about Magnification as it is about Field of View and Perspective. 

Field of View is the width of the View that the angle of view provides with which the lens sees. A wide angle lens has a Wide Field of View, and a Telephoto lens has an increasingly narrower Field of View. We can see that clearly with the images above. and the Diagram below


Perspective is: the perceived relation ship of the background in our image relative to where our subject is. If we have a subject 30 Feet in front of a brick wall and we keep them at that distance. That distance never changes. But depending on Focal length, the perceived distance from subject to background will change as we increase focal length. 

So now knowing these two things, lets look at what happens to the look of an image when we not only change focal lengths but move accordingly to keep our subject framed exactly the same in every image (equal magnification) 

So looking at our images what do we see? Besides some angular distortions which I will discuss in a bit, the look of our subject remains relatively the same. But look at our background relative to the subject. As we change focal lengths from wide angle to telephoto the amount of background visible gets smaller and smaller. Also the perspective gets closer  from subject to the background as we move from Wide Angle to Telephoto

These are two things that you should keep in mind when choosing one particular lens over another as they can change the look of your image entirely. 

Focal Length Ranges and suggested focal lengths

These are only suggestions as I have shot Portraits with 24mm lenses and shot landscapes with 200mm. I have included the ranges in both Full Frame and cropped equivalents in parenthesis. 

Wide angle lenses: 14mm to 35mm (8mm – 24mm)

Normal Lenses: 35mm to 60mm (24mm – 40mm)

Mild Telephoto: 70mm to 180mm (50mm – 120mm)

Long Telephoto: 200mm to 800mm+ (120mm – 500mm+) 

Suggested focal lengths (NOT hard and fast rules) 

  • Landscapes: 14mm to 35mm Wide Angle lenses
  • Portraits: 85 to 135mm have been the portrait standard, many photographers are turning to 200mm as the go to portrait lens (on Full Frame) Popular Zoom Lenses for portraits are the 24-70mm and the 70 – 200mm
  • Macro: 50-60mm if you can get close to your subject i.e. flowers. 100mm or longer if you have a subject that would be easily scared away i.e. insects. Use TRUE macro lenses that have 1:1 capabilities and short minimum focus distances.
  • Wildlife: 200mm if you are shooting in a zoo or your backyard. For serious Birding or Wildlife in Nature 400mm+
  • Sports: depends on the sport and distance to subject: May be as short as a 70-200, But 300 – 400mm telephoto are the more common
  • Automotive: A wide variety depending on what you are shooting, Whole car shots will look good in Midrange lengths 50mm to 100mm. But for certain shots a wide angle looks great. Doing detail shots of parts of the care may bring back out that 50 to 100mm range
  • Architecture: Because we usually don’t have the ability to move back, wide angle lenses are standard faire. However if you are serious into Architecture you should look into “Tilt-Shift” lenses. These allow for correction of angular distortion when you are unable to shoot on a level plane to the building/room. I.e. shooting up or down on something. 

Angular distortions

Here is the same image shot at 17mm and also at 105mm. As we can see in the 17mm there is a lot of angular distortion. Sometimes it’s good to use that for a look or whimsy to our photographs. But other times we need to have something look as good and natural as it can. Thinking of this in a portrait role, using a wide angle lens close up to a person can cause distortions in the face that may not be appealing and will make an area closest to the lens look larger than it actually is, i.e. giving someone a big nose.  (Again notice the perspective compression in the 105mm image)

The Depth of Field Semi-Myth

Here are the 3 things that affect Depth of Field (DOF)

  • Aperture
  • Focal Length
  • Distance to subject 

All are absolute truths, however in practice, “The only thing that affects DOF is Aperture” HUH? Why?…

Why? Because we move.  

In practice we keep our subject framed the same regardless of our focal length. We move a distance equal to the change in our focal length; therefore the two cancel each other out. 

Look at these three image shot at: 

50mm at 5’ from subject

100mm at 10’ from subject

200mm at 20’ from subject 

Even though the DOF looks different in each image, in reality the DOF is, for all practical purposes, the same (there can be some slight differences especially as we get closer to the Hyperfocal distance of a lens/aperture) 

But why do they appear different? Why does it look like the 200mm has a shallower DOF? Perspective Compression: Because that lens focal length bring the background into closer view (even though the distance hasn’t changed) we can better see that the background is out of focus, even though it is  out of focus the same amount in the  wider angle shots. 

What to look for in a good quality lens

Lenses are rated on a number of things.

  • Build quality: Use of good materials and manufacturing
  • General Sharpness
  • Sharpness throughout the aperture range: ( Most lenses are sharpest stopped down a few click from their maximum aperture)
  • Chromatic Aberrations or CA: This is a condition where all the frequencies of light  don’t align correctly and it is seen as color banding at the edges of objects or edges of contrast
  • Edge Distortion: Some lenses will start to distort the image as you move to the outer edges of the frame
  • Focusing: a good, fast accurate and silent focusing motor
  • Constant Aperture: Better lenses will have a constant maximum aperture throughout the zoom range. Less expensive lenses will have a different aperture depending on how zoomed out you are. You will often see them expressed such as this. 17-85mm f/4-5.6. This lens has a maximum aperture of f/4 at 17mm and f/5.6 at 85 mm. As opposed to say the 24-70 L f/2.8 which has a constant aperture regardless of zoom.
  • Constant Focus Lens or a “Parfocal” lens. This is most often found only in high end lenses. This is a function where the lens maintains focus even as you zoom or change focal lengths
  • Vignetting: Look for lenses that do not vignette or have darkness near the corners or edges. Some lenses will only vignette at wider apertures so check at all apertures. Vignetting IS easily fizxed though and even some great lenses do do it. So it’s not always a deal breaker
  • “Fast Lenses”: Lenses that have a wider maximum aperture are called fast lenses because they let in more light allowing for a faster shutter speed. Most people want them because they allow for a shallow DOF. But they also have other benefits such as working in lower light, a brighter viewfinder and they allow Auto-focus system to work better. On most auto focus systems the outer focus points are sensitive or effective down to only f/5.6 light (Heavy Shade) The center Focus point is effective down to f/2.8 (dusk) but you can only take advantage of that if you have a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or better
  • Bokeh: I have to mention this because it is on everyone’s lips. But better lenses are said to have a better bokeh or quality of the out of focus area. I refer to it as Boke Ehh, more on that later

Zoom Lenses vs. Prime Lenses

There is always a big debate over Zoom Lenses vs. Prime lenses (Fixed Focal Lengths). I really don’t get into it. They both have their place and advantages.  

Prime lenses can be sharper for a lower price. Lighter weight, faster, less complicated designs therefore better quality, possibly less CA and Edge distortions. Their downside is that you may need to change lenses more often and also carry more different lenses with you. The downside of changing lenses often is that there is more chance for dirt to get on you sensor which can be a problem in tough terrains (Desert/Beach wind) 

Zoom lens advantages are, more available focal lengths in one lens/ less lenses to carry. Less lens changes. The disadvantages are; heavier weights, more complex designs which can lead to lower image quality. Higher Price 

Years ago it was clear if you wanted higher Image Quality, prime lenses were the clear choice. But with improvement in Zoom lenses lately, there may be little to no difference between quality Zoom and Prime lenses. The choice is clearly up to you. 

For me and the way I shoot and the conditions I shoot under I use a lot of Zoom lenses. I do however lust after a couple primes that I long to have in my kit. 

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization can be a handy thing to have in a lens. It allows for hand holding a lens at shutter speeds about 3 stops lower than you normally could hand hold that same lens without Image Stabilization. But it is not a cure-all for everything. It’s meant to help handholding shooting a relatively stationary or slow moving object.  

It doesn’t help at all on a tripod, in fact it is usually recommended you turn off IS when mounted on a tripod. It also will not help to stop motion of a moving object, only shutter speed or panning can do that. In fact some of the better IS systems have a Panning Mode so that the control gyros inside the lens do not get confused with the panning motion and make the image worse. 

It can be a nice addition to have if you need to hand hold in low light situations, but it is not the cure all for all motion artifacts

My two lens pet peeves 

“I want a lens I can get a lot of Bokeh with”. Bokeh and a Shallow Depth of field are NOT the same thing and the terms are not interchangeable. A shallow depth of filed is just that. Bokeh describes the quality of the Out of focus field or “Circle of Confusion” and no, Bokeh is not another term for circle of confusion either. It only “describes” how it may appear with a given lens. Better lenses are said to have a better or creamier “Like Butah” bokeh than lesser lenses. I think Bokeh has been given much more attention than it needs. If you are spending more time looking at the bokeh than you are the subject, you kind of missed the meaning of isolating the subject in the first place. But that’s me. 

“I always shoot wide open” Please stop, just stop. I’m not sure where this notion started but I suspect it is one of the many”Tog celebrities” that are on the wedding/portrait lecture circuit and are only two steps removed from a point and shoot camera where a shallow DOF wasn’t possible. (Shooting wide open: Shooting at the widest maximum aperture of the lens) But this insanity has led to almost every new photographer that has just purchased a Canon Digital rebel and the obligatory 50mm f/1.8 to scream: “Help, I’m having trouble focusing”. You’re not having trouble focusing, you have a DOF problem and until you understand how DOF works you will continue to have this problem when you “Always shoot wide open” 

Understand this. With a 50mm lens on a Rebel at f/1.8 and you are shooting a headshot of a person 3 feet from your camera, The total DOF (both in front of and behind the point of focus) is: 3/4s of an inch,  That 3/8th in front of the point of focus and 3/8ths behind. Which means if you have a person slightly, just slightly facing away from you and you focus on the eye closest to the camera, the opposite eye will not be in focus. If you focus flat on both eyes, the nose will not be in focus. Seriously, that is your artistic intent? 

Now you add to this handholding the camera with shooting wide open. When we stand, especially with a camera on our face, we have a tendency to sway forward and back. So you combine our swaying with a ¾” DOF and you can easily see why even that eye we focused on is not in focus. 

Now I certainly understand your intent, you want to isolate your subject by using a shallow DOF just like in this image right?


Oh, yeah, that image was shot at f/11. So much for “Always shooting wide open”  

Don’t get me wrong there is a time and place for shooting wide open. But “Always shooting wide open” tells me you do not have a firm understanding of Lenses, DOF and Photography. And also, don’t listen to everything you may hear at those seminars, they may not be any more knowledgeable then you are. 

Thanks for allowing me to get those two things off my chest 










Those are the basics of lenses and why we do use one lens over another.

A few Helpful Links

To Learn more about DOF or actually a DOF calculator go to

DOF Masters

For reviews of Canon, Nikon and Third Party Lenses I really like the reviews that Bryan does


If you are still unsure of the lens you really want, I suggest renting it for a couple days and really know for sure


lens rental

Hope that helps


Why a Tripod is not enough + Tune up that Tripod

Yesterday I went to do a shoot out in Wine Country for a new HDR tutorial. I was happy with what I shot. It was a nice sunset over the vineyards.

After I downloaded my images, it was huge disappointment. NONE of the final merges were sharp!

So I started to inspect the individual frames and found all of the frames that were .1 to 1 second were totally useless, all had terrible camera shake.

But wait a minute, I USED A TRIPOD!

So this afternoon I hauled out my rig to do some testing. The first thing I found was a problem with my tripod itself. The locking lever for my quick release plate was loose allowing the  camera to rock side to side considerably. A quick couple turns of a Allen wrench fixed that. I also lubed up the release catch that was sticking a bit. ( Never lube the Ball Head itself!)

After that I decide to do some testing.

Yesterday in my rush because the sun was setting quickly I left my Remote shutter release in the truck. I also always seem to rush things and am quite impatient so I am not always good at releasing the shutter smoothly and not rocking the boat, so to say. On top of that all I had a loose release plate magnifying everything. But I wanted to see, really does it make a difference to use a remote shutter release after all my camera is on a steady tripod. So here is my test.

The Test

I mounted my Canon 5D on my Manfrotto tripod, I put on my Canon 24-105L IS lens on the tripod with the IS turned off (which is recommended). Zoomed to 105mm I fitted the lens with a B + W 3 stop Neutral Density filter to slow my shutter speed for the test in the  sunlight. I took images of a Yard Stick to show detail. This is far more detail then you would have with a wide angle landscape image so this was a good test.

The first image I shot pressing the shutter button with my finger, slowly and precisely. (100% actual pixel crops, click to enlarge)












This one was with me just pressing the shutter button haphazardly












This image was using my Canon Remote Shutter Release
















If you can’t afford a remote shutter release right now, use the timer function of your camera to trip the shutter. On Canon Cameras, if you are set up to shoot bracketed photos and use the Timer Release it will fire all three images without you having to touch the camera. I’m not sure if Nikon does that. Maybe a Nikon shooter can chime in in comments and say.

I chose a shutter speed of 1/2 a second for this test. It seems that shutter speeds in and around that speed are the most suseptable to shake. Faster than that and the shutter speed itself stops the blur. And when you do very long exposure under low light the shaking part is only a small fraction of the total exposure and you may not see the bluring.

What about Mirror Lock up?

I knew you would ask, So I did a test for that too. In the image below, above the red line is normal, below the red line is mirror lock up. If I was shooting witn a long lens on a detail shot or doing macro work, the very slight difference we see would make me use it. For Landscapes with a wide angle lens shooting long distance..well I’ll leave that up to you.












So is any of this anything you or I didn’t know? Probably not, I just never really tried it to see. And I DO know what I will do next shoot.

  • Give your tripod the once over before heading out in the field. You may not have the tools you need when you get there
  • Always use a Remote shutter release
  • Use your Camera’s Timer if you don’t have a remote release
  • Use Mirror Lock-up when necessary

Hope that helps,


Color Managment and Monitor Calibration

Okay so you just shot and processed the most amazing HDR ever and you decided to get that 40” x 60” print for your wall which set you back a few hundred bucks. But even though you sent to the lab a shot of the Taj Mahal, you get back something that looks like a turd on a crap pile. Or that same image you post on Google+ and you think is all wonderful. People are wondering why you even posted such an underexposed shot.

What’s at work here? Poor color management and no monitor calibration. One of the most important and perhaps confusing parts of a photographer’s workflow, yet one of the most overlooked.

So today let’s examine this and make some sense of it so that you can get the ultimate results out of all your HDRs and even your regular photographs.

Color Management

Color management is what assures that the color we see is the same that others will see and also other devices. So that what appears red to us, looks red to others or prints/ displays red on other devices. If it looks red to us and ends up looking orange to everyone else would be a problem.

Color Spaces and Profiles

Image © Image created by Jeff Schewe CC

A color space or  gamut is the range of colors visible and the number and variations of hues within that. There are 3 main color spaces used in photography: ProPhoto RGB, Adobe RGB and sRGB. Representing color gamuts from the widest to narrower, in order succession. There is also CMYK which is used by photographer’s that send their images in for print on a Printing press. But that would be a whole separate article in itself and most people don’t run into this

While it may seem that we want to use the widest Gamut possible, it’s not always the most desirable and in the end may not even be visible on either your monitor or the final print. Only some of the highest end monitors are able to even display the full Adobe RGB color space but as monitor increase in quality we may want to have the widest gamut possible.

There are occasions where using too wide a gamut can lead to problems later on down the line when we have to convert that gamut to a lesser one and that lesser one can’t contain all that the wide gamut produced, which can lead to posterization (banding) in our images.

Color Management in Photoshop

We choose a Color Space for our Working profile or space in our editing program. In Photoshop this would be under Edit> Color Settings


























Working our way down this screen, we would want to set our settings to custom so we can make the choices we want.

Working Space

Working space is the space we choose to work under in our editing program (in this case Photoshop) under working spaces the one we are concerned with is RGB and this is where you will make a personal choice. I use Adobe RGB. I think it is the Momma Bear choice of just right. Others may choose to work in ProPhoto. Others sRGB. Truth of the matter is if you really don’t know, choose sRGB. It will get you in the least trouble along the way. And really is just fine for most situations.

Does it really matter what I use?

Well It can. What you decide to use as your working space doesn’t really matter that much. BUT what you use as the Color Space that is embedded into the image that you send to someone else can make a difference depending on the use of the final image.

If you are going to use the image on a website, you should have that file in sRGB. SRGB is the standard for the internet. Although some web browsers are capable of reading color profiles. Most people don’t know how or where to even set them so if your image is in sRGB you will have the largest compatibility.

If you have your images printed by a Commercial Lab, see what profile they use or if not, if they read embedded profiles. If you send an Adobe RGB file to a Lab that requires the image in sRGB you will get some color shifts leading to a loss of quality of the print

But what if I want to work in a different space than the internet or a lab?

You absolutely can. In Photoshop there is a feature called “Convert to Profile” under the edit menu. Using this feature will successfully translate one color space to another. You may loose some color, but it will translate in in a way that things don’t go all wonky. 

Lightroom will automatically do this for you, just make sure when you export the final image that you set the color space correctly for its use.

Color Management Options

Once that choice is made we move down to the color management area which is REALLY important. Correct settings here will assure that if you bring an image in that you didn’t shoot or edit that image, it will adjust itself for what space you are working in. So the first thing I do is make sure that the three boxes for: Profile Mismatches, Missing Profiles and Pasting profiles are all checked. This will ensure that a warning dialog will pop up if you try to open an image with a different profile other than what your working space is and allows you to make a choice of what you to do if a mismatch occurs.

Under policies, the dropdown for RGB, you will see three choices; Off, Preserve Embedded profile, Convert to working space. I have mine set to preserve embedded profiles because I work on a lot of other people’s photos. You may want to have your set to convert to working space for simplicity. Just know that since you have the warning check boxes checked you will still have a choice upon opening an image if you decide to do something other than the default action.

If you don’t want to be bothered at all with this, Leave the default action as Convert to working space and turn off all the warning check boxes. Then Photoshop will just automatically convert a different profile than what is your working space. I just like the options.

So what do I say if I get a Pop-up telling me of a Mismatch or Missing profile?

If you get the warning box for a Profile Mismatch:

You can make a choice that best suits you. I usually honor the embedded profile because most likely someone has sent me an image to work on and I want to work on it and send it back the same way.







If the Profile is missing:

If you can’t contact the person to ask what was used the best bet is to just play it safe and assign a space of sRGB.

Conversion Options

Under Conversion options: Engine, Leave as Adobe Ace anything else is really for advance users
Under Intent (Rendering Intent) I use Relative Colorimetric to keep the relationships betweens colors on conversion. You could also choose Perceptual if you are going from a very wide gamut to a narrow one. But for the most part Relative Colorimetric works just fine.
Check the box for black point compensation checked and I also check the box for dither. Dither can reduce the banding I talked about earlier in our images.

Once you are done, click OK and your settings for your color management in Photoshop are set.

Color management in Lightroom

For some odd reason, Adobe wants to keep the color management within Lightroom a secret; In fact they don’t even want you to be able to mess with it so you can’t. But, through a little investigation, I will at least tell you how it works.

When you are viewing files in the Library module, they are displayed in Adobe RGB. When you are in the develop module and working on a RAW file, the working space is ProPhoto RGB. When you open a Tiff, Jpeg or a PSD file, Lightroom will honor the embedded profile for that image. (We’ll talk about embedding and saving profiles in a bit)

That’s the way it is, you can’t change it. But it really is fine.

For those of you that use Photoshop Elements, your choices are a little more limited and quite honestly the reason it is not a professional editing program, even though it works really well for editing. In the settings of Elements, you basically have two choices; Optimized for print (Adobe RGB) or Optimized for display (sRGB)

Next step

Okay, so now that we have all our setting correct in Photoshop or Lightroom how do we assure that what you see on your monitor is what I see on mine. We do this by calibrating our monitors.

Monitor Calibration

Monitor Calibration is calibrating our monitor, through the use of a Hardware & Software device, to a certain standard. When two monitors are calibrated to the same standard they will look relatively the same. I say relatively because in the real world there still may be some slight differences.

Right out of the box LCD monitors are almost always too bright and the color temperature is way too cool, approx 9300°k. Manufacturers do this for two reasons; to make the monitor pop on the showroom shelf (brighter appears better) and also at these settings it make it easier to read text especially in a brightly lit room. So if you do a lot of text editing. Well this may be great. But we are photographers and it’s not.

We could try to calibrate our monitors by eye, but our eyes are very bad at doing this. Everyone’s eyes see color and brightness a little differently in fact my left eye sees color a little warmer than my right. So instead of using our eyes it’s best to use a Hardware Calibration device that uses either a colorimeter or s spectrophotometer.

The two most popular brands are  i1 Display Pro by X-rite and The Spyder 3 Pro by Datacolor. It’s kinda a Nikon/Canon thing, everyone having their favorite. I’ve used a Spyder for years now. But I don’t think I would have a problem using X-rite’s either.



Choose a Standard

Just like we needed to determine a “standard” with our editing program’s working space, so too do we need to determine a standard for our calibration. There are two common standards used most often. The first calls for a White Temperature of 6500°k and a Gamma of 2.2. The Second calls for a standard of 5000°k White and 2.2 Gamma…  Choosing one depends on the use of your image and also the need to match someone else’s standard such as a Photo Print Lab.

If you normally edit in an average lit room and your images are destined only for the web, the 6500°k. Gamma 2.2 would probably be your best choice. If however such as in my case, I am trying to match the standard used by the labs that do my prints. I also edit in an almost dark condition as far as room light is concerned. So the best choice for what I am doing is 5000°k, Gamma 2.2. You may also see a Luminance standard specified which can range from 80 to 140 cd/m2. 100 is usually called for by most labs.

Once you determine the standard you want as a target, you follow the directions for your particular device. It will display some standard colors and then match and adjust what it knows the color to be with what it is reading.  You may need to make some adjustments to the monitor’s setting itself. For color temp, gamma, brightness and contrast. The profile the calibration generates can make adjustments to the color and brightness but it has its limits so if you make the initial adjustments necessary the calibrator may not need to work as hard. Make sure you calibrate the monitor under the conditions you will be editing under.

Once the calibration process is done. The calibration software will generate an ICM profile which will load when your computer starts up. Make sure it loads on start up and you usually can tell because at a certain point at startup you can see the monitor’s color and  brightness change. Because of a change in the Windows operating system with Vista and Windows 7, there have been occurrences of the monitor loosing its profile when the monitor goes to sleep or even if a warning window pops up. For the most part this has been cleared up in updates to calibration software but it still may occur.

Putting it all together

So now we have our settings set and our monitor calibrated. We can feel better that what we see is what other people – that have calibrated their monitors and set their setting – will see. But in order to enable others to know what standard you are actually talking about, when we save an image we need to embed the Color profile, that we worked on or converted to, into the image data itself. We do that in the Save As command and dialog box by checking the box for Color and the Profile used.



In Lightroom, we would do this on Export and choose the color space that we want the image exported with.

Now with the profile embedded in your image not only will this make your workflow, color and constancy better. Anyone else that opens your file will know how it should look too.

Okay, I’m sorry but this is just way too confusing and complicated for me.

You’re right, Color management and calibrating is one of the most confusing parts for all photographers

So let me just break it down into a couple points and just try to follow them and you still will be way ahead of everyone

* Calibrate your monitor. I know even this part is hard but try your best. It really is just that important. Some of the calibrators have a basic and advanced mode. Use the basic mode to just get you up and running quickly. There are some lower priced calibrators out there too
* Use sRGB as your working space and embed or export with that.
* Turn off the warning check boxes and just have Photoshop convert to the working space. You won’t have to worry about this in Lightroom

And just leave it at that. That is the best default, least worrisome of all options. Then go out and take some great photos and sleep at night.

Hope that helps,