Differing Views

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Jsun, Feb 6, 2018.

  1. Jsun

    Jsun TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    There is something challenging I've noticed since taking up digital photography; how your audience views your finished product, across many different electronic devices, or social media platforms.

    In the days of film photography, the end product was a physical item, and the viewing device was the human eye, still a subjective device but at least the photographer knew that his/her audience were all looking at the same image.

    It seems that every device I look at makes my photos look different. The monitor I use to do post production is the one where I'm satisfied with my results. However, I know that someone else viewing my work will likely see a slightly altered version. I'm sure we can all appreciate that getting your photo to look just right can take some fairly minute alterations to the original, even if they are just done with the on-board features of sites like Instagram or Flickr.

    I feel that the potential is great to loose something in the translation when it gets uploaded to the internet for public consumption, something vital to the overall composition.

    I'm going to guess that there is no answer to this, and that it is just one of the pitfalls that go with the territory but I'd be interested in hearing from others how they deal with this, or if there is a process by which post production is done which gives the best impression across all devices.

    Thanks


     
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  2. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    To have your images look the same everywhere would require that everyone had a colour managed display. They don't. In fact, even a very many photographers do not use colour managed displays. In addition, many people turn brightness and colour saturation way up on their display as they think it looks better. All this wrecks your carefully crafted image! Not a thing you can do about it, though.
     
  3. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yeah, nothing you can do about it but please yourself. I wonder that the most common display device is for looking on Instagram and Flickr and Facebook? If I had to guess I would have to say iPhone...

    I edit on my iPad and the photos look good on the iPad and my phone as well as on my daughter's iPhone and MacBook Pro. My own external pc display is a color calibrated monitor. The photos always look a tiny bit warmer on the monitor. It's a subtle difference that most people would not be able to distinguish unless told to look for it. I edit based on what looks good to me on my devices. When ordering prints, I have not noticed any major discrepancies between the final product and my screen colors, contrast, brightness...
     
  4. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Two comments...

    First

    Where color accuracy is critical (or at least where it should be critical) -- such as product photography (consumers want to know that the item they buy actually looks like the item they saw on the display) -- you should use a color-managed workflow.

    Color-managed workflow usually minimally means color-calibrating your display using a device such as an X-Rite ColorMunki or a DataColor Spyder.

    Second

    Where color accuracy isn't "critical" but you plan to share your images with others, it helps to have a display which is at least pretty close. Even if you don't own a color-calibration tool you can usually go look at your own work on a few different displays (e.g. after adjusting the image on your computer, send it to your phone and see how it looks there.)

    The moment when I realized my display wasn't even close was when I posted a photo of wine bottles standing on some wine-crates. I adjusted the image so the colors looked to be reasonably accurate on my monitor and I shared the image. Other photographers mentioned that my wood crates looked "orange". I thought they were being a bit fussy. The natural wood has a bit of a golden appearance (but certainly not orange)... until a local photographer showed me MY photo on HIS computer monitor. It was positively tangerine! I realized that since "everybody else" was commenting on the same thing, and then I saw it for myself on someone else's monitor... clearly my monitor was a bit out of whack.


    I should throw in one additional comment and that's to do with "white balance". This is the idea that light has a color cast to it and that "cast" will impact the look of anything you photograph in that light. At sunset, the Sun appears to have a strong golden color-cast. But this is a case where you actually WANT that color cast (that was part of the point of the sunset). I would not use a "gray card" to neutralize the color-cast in those situations where it's supposed to have a color-cast.


    I ultimately did buy a ColorMunki (and the improvement was substantial). I don't know that everyone needs a ColorMunki... but I would at least suggest that if you are getting comments about colors from others... at least look at your work on a few different devices. Because if your case is like my case... they aren't necessarily being overly picky.

    You can rent a ColorMunki (LensRentals has them) and you can calibrate every monitor you own. It builds a calibration "profile" which is installed on your computer. Color can drift as the display ages, but it usually wont drift very fast. Also modern LED backlit displays hold the calibration fairly well as compared to older displays.

    Usually a simple display calibration is good enough. For those who require higher degrees of color accuracy... there are ways to go even farther (with camera color-calibration profiles in addition to the computer monitor ... and also the printer/paper/ink calibration profile.) This would give you a complete "color-managed" workflow. This isn't necessary for most types of photography. I draw the line at commercial photography and especially product photography. Photographers who don't understand how to use a color-managed workflow shouldn't go after that type of work.
     
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  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Add to all the above that there are many different types of displays, and not all of them have the same color bit depth.
    Even within a display type there can be differences because differing backlight types are used.
    Add in differences in browsers and operating systems and the sum total is that there is no way to ensure consistent display across all devices.

    AND

    What we see on a display will look different than a print will, because displays are backlit while prints are forelit.
     
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  6. ceemac

    ceemac No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What sqarepeg says. Edit until it looks good to you, especially if you're using a calibrated (or close to) monitor. How much do you value critique from someone who's looking at your photo on an iphone? or facebook on a laptop?
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Imagine how musicians feel about their recorded music, being heard on so,so many different sound systems! Some people have awesome stereo systems, while other people are listening to music on bluetooth connected Dollar Tree $1.00 miniature tennis-ball-type speakers running off of their phones. This same,exact scenario applies to digital images; there is huge variance in the screen quality and the color accuracy of the computer systems that people own and use.
     
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  8. Jsun

    Jsun TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the feedback...I guess it was a rhetorical question really but its good to hear from others who experience it.

    TCampbell: I came across ColorMunki online just before I read your comment. I didn't know something like this existed. I've mentally bookmarked that idea for future research.

    Derrel: The analogy with musicians and their music is a good one. Considering all of the audiophiles in my life I'm surprised I didn't think of this earlier!

    KmH: I know it is a simple concept but your reminder that a photograph isn't backlit is something I think we take advantage of in the era of digital photography. That paradigm shift must have really changed how photographers approach composition.
     
  9. espresso2x

    espresso2x No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Remember 'Radio Mixes' on 12"s - heavy compression with reduced dynamic range for AM transmission over MW.

     
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  10. espresso2x

    espresso2x No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes
     
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  11. zulu42

    zulu42 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That's why recording and mastering engineers take great pains to make sure their monitors and monitoring environment are "calibrated" to provide a flat frequency response. It's the exact equivalent of using a calibrated monitor to edit photographs. That way, the masters will translate the best across a wide range of listening or viewing environments.

    If you make audio mixing and editing decisions on monitors that lack a full bass response, you'll add too much bass to the mix to compensate. Then, a guy plays your mix on his home stereo that "hypes" the bass (as most do), then your mix will sound like mud.

    Same with photographs. My uncalibrated computer monitor hypes the whites and contrast. So, I pull back the contrast and exposure until they look right on my monitor. Then I look at the same photo on another device and it looks underexposed and lacking contrast lol.

    Until I get a decent display and calibrate it, I have no idea how much my display is "coloring" my images. Once I do that, my images will look better on a wider variety of displays, and prints, too.
     
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