Colour Profiles 3…

Originally published 13/3/22 – I have often had issues when printing landscape photos, especially sunrises & sunsets. The issue is usually in the reproduction of oranges & pinks. I usually managed this by adjusting red/orange/purple/magenta sliders in Lightroom’s HSL Panel in the develop module. The colours were never perfectly reproduced but they were adequately reproduced. Since I started my MA Photography, I have moved towards portraiture and have started printing portrait photos. Oh dear. The skin tones are so far out, the prints are unusable. I have tried modifying colours in the HSL panel but without success. I believe this is partly due to our familiarity of what realistic skin tones are – sunsets vary in colours and are perhaps more open to differing colours. I have studied this subject/issue at length and tried all sorts – relative/perceptual, printing from Lightroom or Photoshop, letting printer manage colours (really just to ensure that the colour issues are software), calibrating monitors, using correct ICC Profiles, using incorrect ICC Profiles, using different printers (I now have a second printer). I began to wonder whether colour profiles are being added to each other – the monitors have a colour profile generated by calibration, and there is another ICC profile being used between laptop & printer. When the monitors are being calibrated, the first step is change the colour profile back to OEM standard – if you don’t the profiles are added on top of each other resulting in oversaturated colours (like my dodgy skin tones). I set some time aside to adjust profiles and do some test prints and first made a print using the correct ICC profile matching the paper – and got near perfect results! I changed the paper and ICC profile and printed again – great results again. Unfortunately, I cannot pinpoint what change made the difference but here are the changes: New MacBook Pro (but same OS), print sharpening changed to high, print media type changed to glossy, the way in which the OS deals with colour profiles had changed (is more complicated)…I’m not sure if this is affecting the supposed stacked profile issue? Anyway…after several years of printing and occasional research, I now have the least steps to accurate colour reproduction.

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