Wednesday, 22 August 2012

I can see a rainbow... see a rainbow... can't I?

Anna and I take many of our product photos ourselves, we find it not only helps to keep our overheads down but also we can try to show our products through the eyes of someone who loves them.

Taking product photos is difficult, sometimes you have one strong light source (like a window) and sometimes you have 'helpers' that want to play with the object you're trying to photograph!

Then comes the really difficult bit that no one tells you about - colour management! 

You have a fairly decent camera, you're working on a laptop / PC that shows the photo you've taken in wonderful colours, and you have a photo printer that prints out beautiful photos of your summer holiday. Easy peasy eh? No not quite.

Colours are hard. In fact they are very hard. Imagine all the colours of the rainbow, each and every shade, hue and pitch of them as crayons. You've lined them all up on the sports hall floor (because there are thousands of them you'd not be able to fit them all in your lounge floor). Don't they look lovely!

Now your camera can't see all these colours, oh it tries, it really does... but it's just not as good as the naked eye (note I don't use human eye here because we can't see all the colours of nature either). So the camera makers have assigned it a colour profile - RGB (Red Green Blue - it uses the 'pure colours' to make all the other colours). Since there's only so many combinations you can have of these colours the digital wizardry that is a digital camera uses an RGB profile that has 255 of each colour. So R 255 G255 B255 is WHITE to our eyes (all colours on full), adversely R0 G0 B0 is BLACK. Any combination of the three will make a colour. The u-ni-k brown is R544 G444 B444, which is the closest I could get to the chocolate smear Dangerbaby made on our white internal door!

So you can take nearly all those crayons on the Sports Hall floor away. We're only using the main colours (open up any photo / graphic / painting application on your computer and you'll see the square of colour we have left).

So everyone uses the RGB colour profile? Nope. I have a Canon camera and a Canon printer but inbetween the taking and printing process is my lovely MacBook Pro. Since I use Adobe's photoshop as my main photo editing tool I have an array of colour profile choices. To make matters worse, for the internet I have to consider those people who are using Internet Explorer. These poor people have their internet colours further reduced by their buddies at Microsoft & HP who created a reduced colour spectrum for their users (well we are after all only human, who needs to see all the colours of the rainbow?).

To cut a very long story short, in order for us to show you on the web how beautiful some of our u-ni-k gifts are we have a very long process of working with exposure, composition, colour management and then of course reducing the image quality for the web so that it will not take 30 seconds to load.

You can just hear me sigh when Anna sends me some of her images and tells me they look 'kinda yellow' once I've put them up on the test website. This one observation means I have to go back to the original image she emailed me and start again.

Our pursuit of perfection is in everything we do, our gifts, our packaging and our website. We aim to bring the highest quality to you our friends and customers!

No comments:

Post a Comment