CMP Photography Course

Colour Management for Photography 

The CMP for Photography course is designed for those seeking to understand how to properly colour manage digital media through a photographic imaging workflow.

The Colour Management Professional course for photography is comprised of six video lessons totalling three hours in length. 

The student should be familiar with basic colour theory, graphic communication workflows and print production processes. The student should have also completed the Colour Management Professional (CMP) - "Fundamentals" course including passing the Exam to achieve their "CMP Associate" certification. 

The course examines the importance of profiling and explains how to create accurate monitor and digital camera colour profiles.

"Colour Management for Photography" is one course in a series of colour management education and certification, including:

Course Lessons - Table of Contents (see detailed lesson content descriptions below) 

Lesson 1: Assessing Content
Lesson 2: Monitor Profiling
Lesson 3: Making Profiles for Digital Cameras
Lesson 4: Colour Management for Digital Images
Lesson 5: Defining Workflow and Application Configuration 
Lesson 6: Guide Print Establishment for Photo Workflow 

Detailed Lesson Descriptions

Lesson #1: Assessing Content

CMP-Photo-Lesson01-SampleSlide.jpgThis lesson addresses how to assess your colour management needs and explores the necessary steps to move forward with a colour-managed photographic workflow. We will first discuss how images flow through a colour managed workflow from an image's inception to the point where a file is handed-off for final delivery. The photographer student is asked to assess existing hardware to ensure the hardware will work within a colour-managed environment. Finally, we will discuss the details of how to develop a profile strategy.

Specific discussion items include:

  • Description of image workflow from raw capture (or scan) to viewing on screen, into image editing applications, to in-house output (inkjet) to file delivery.

  • What is being delivered RGB vs. CMYK ?

  • Assessing what hardware devices the photographer has and determining if they are adequate?

  • Address profiling for the devices

  • Determining what hardware is necessary for profiling these devices.

  • Deciding on a profile strategy.

Lesson #2: Monitor Profiling

CMP-Photo-Lesson02-SampleSlide.jpgThis lesson discusses methods, options, and quality control for colour profiling displays. We will also discuss differences in equipment, including types of displays and hardware calibration units. We will address white point, gamma, and luminance options during calibration, and why one may choose different options based on a particular setup. Verifying the profile after it is made will also be discussed. Finally, we will review how to setup a light booth and this relationship to monitor calibration.

Specific discussion items include:

  • Differences in types of displays - LCD, CRT, etc., including differences between graphics LCD displays (with on-board LUT) and non-graphics lcd displays.

  • Setting gamma, white point, and luminance.

  • How the environment affects calibration options and adjusting for them.

  • Building the profile.

  • Verifying the profile.

  • Quality control and trending for display.

Lesson #3: Creating Profiles for Digital Cameras

CMP-Photo-Lesson01-SampleSlide.jpgThis lesson discusses reasons for profiling a digital camera and what situations work best for profiling. We will cover the hardware and software needed to profile a digital camera, and go through a step-by step guide. When the profile is complete we will cover steps to verify the profile and also discuss factors that can affect the accuracy of a profile, such as light and environment. Finally, we will determine if the custom profile is valid in non-controlled situations.

Specific discussion items include:

  • When to profile the camera

  • Hardware and software needed.

  • Step by step how to profile in studio – controlled environment.

  • Steps to verify the profiles.

  • Factors that affect accuracy

  • In a non-controlled environment, determining if the built in profile is valid  

Lesson #4: Colour Management for Digital Images 


Lesson04-SampleSlide.jpgThis lesson examines the details of camera raw, the different file formats for raw, applications for raw image processing and ways of handling raw images in the workflow. We will look closely at comparisons of Adobe Lightroom, Apple Aperture and PhaseOne Capture One Pro software to assure we have the right tools for raw formats and other needs. We will then look at options for raw images in the workflow, and how best to be sure the needs of downstream users are met while generating the best quality data from the captures.

Specific discussion items include:

  • Handling camera raw files

  • Raw Converters - what you need to know

  • Workflow options: RGB vs. CMYK

  • Colour Management as it relates to digital image specifications

Lesson #5: Defining Workflow and Application Configuration

CMP-Photo-Lesson05-SampleSlide.jpgThis lesson will address both Photoshop and InDesign configurations. In Photoshop we will focus on proper creation and use of .csf files and CMYK soft proofing on screen. We will also review the recommended settings for file conversion, if required, and provide an explanation as to why those settings are important. We will discuss the proper choice of the CMYK profile for soft proofing and conversions plus discuss black point compensation and it’s use in the conversion or soft proofing of image files. In Indesign, we will address the use of the .csf files created in Photoshop, the correct print driver configuration and when and how to use that driver to get a proof with little or no surprises.

Specific discussion items include:

  • Determination of final destination as early possible in the design/production process.

  • Communicating with the respective parties to help determine software application setups.

  • Establishing standards to follow Gracol7/SWOP or custom setups.

  • Use of .csf files for Adobe applications.

  • Proper setup for Quark Xpress.

  • Soft proofing procedures.

  • Lighting for guide print evaluation.

Lesson 6. Guide Print Establishment for Photo Workflow

CMP-Photo-Lesson06-SampleSlide.jpgThis lesson addresses the need for a print provided by photographers to be followed for future colour reproduction. Issues discussed will include the definition of what makes a usable "guide print" and the use of appropriate printer/ink and paper combination to minimize Delta-E shift over the course of the production cycle. We will also discuss the proper workflow and application settings for achieving an accurate RGB or CMYK prepared cross-rendered guide print for use in production. Lastly, we will review what cross rendering is and why it’s so critical in setting everyone’s expectations correctly before, during and after the hand-off of files to the next party involved in the graphic production workflow process.

Specific discussion items include:

  • Definition of the cross rendered guide print.

  • How inks, lighting and paper effect the accuracy of the guide print.

  • Proofing to a Gracol7/ SWOP or custom profile and how to determine which to use.

  • Determination of RGB or CMYK files for proofing with tools available to photographers.

  • Printing with a RIP or a driver.

  • Setting up the workflow (i.e. Photoshop or Indesign driver settings) to create an accurate cross rendered guide print.

  • Reinforcement of the need to communicate with the Designer/Printer to assure success.

  • Proper assessment and lighting of guide print.

  • Identification of guide print restrictions and use for design and print production.

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