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Jacob James

When did you first understand the importance of color to the photographic process?
I first learnt about colour management when I sent off a huge order of images to the printers. The cost of the printing was way above the cost of a basic calibration device. When the printing came back the colours were not what I saw on screen. From then on I instantly bought my first Pantone Huey Pro and from then I have never looked back. 

What is the most important aspect of color management that an aspiring photographer should know?
Personally I believe that a calibrated monitor is the most important aspect that any photographer can invest in. Regardless of the cost of a monitor a well calibrated mid-range monitor is much more useful that an uncalibrated hi-tech monitor. With a calibrated screen you can ensure that all the editing you do is going to be reproduced when you send your images off to the printers. 

Give an example of the ways in which a solid knowledge of color management (or an accurate color environment) helped you – on a project? In a consultancy situation?
In my travel work colour is generally an important aspect. Everyone dreams of exotic countries and the amazing colours. Colour management is key for me to accurately show people back home what these places are like. 

Why are you committed to using X-Rite products?
Ever since I first started colour managing my workflow I have been using X-rite/Pantone products and so far they have never let me down. I am always a believer in the saying ‘If it isn’t broken don’t fix it’ and for that reason I still use X-Rite solutions today 

How important are the latest color management tools in today’s industry?  Why?
In today’s industry, one that is so heavily competitive, it is essential to do everything you can to be at the top of the game. For me colour management is just one simple way of helping to produce better, more consistent work. 

What does the (near) future hold for the photo industry, in your opinion? Do you think color management will be more or less important – why?
As I eluded to in the last question I feel that the industry can only get more competitive. With the falling costs and accessibility barriers, soon everyone will have access to pro standard gear for very little cost. I think that ensuring you have a colour managed workflow is going to be a necessity for anybody who takes photography seriously…actually it should be now but I think more people will be looking at the solutions in the future 

How is color management related to your artistic process?
As a travel and cultural documentary photographer I am lucky enough to get the chance to visit some really cool countries and photograph amazingly beautiful people and places. In my work I try to showcase these places and people as accurately as possible and without accurate colour it is extremely difficult to portray the incredible nature of what I see.

Do you see color management as an advantage for saving money?
Before I started to utilise colour management into my workflow I would often spend a lot of money getting prints done and be disappointed every time. It was only when I worked out that I had spent 2-3 more on wasted prints than the cost of a screen calibrator that I realised I needed to do something about it. Since then I have never looked back.