X-Rite photo
Follow Us:

Sign Up   |    My X-Rite   


Helen Yancy

Helen Yancy knows growing pains. A life-long artist and photographer, Helen was an early adopter of the Apple® Macintosh® in 1985, a Photoshop® 2.0 user, and an enthusiast of a funny little application called Fractal Design Painter. Although they call what she now does as “new,” Helen was hand-coloring black and white photographs with airbrushes long before digital technology was a gleam in artists’ eyes. This training gave her “a huge step-up in knowing what to do,” she recalls. “When your job is to make someone else’s image look better, you certainly learn what a good photograph is in a big hurry, because they trust you.”

Still earning the trust of her clients, Helen is now known for her photographic watercolor portraits and virtual portrait paintings. She uses Photoshop and what has evolved into Corel® Painter™ 11 in an all-digital workflow. By utilizing X-Rite’s ColorMunki Photo, she maintains color consistency across multiple monitors by different manufacturers, all the way through her creative process to final output on in-studio printers or sent out to a lab. Students travel to Michigan to attend her classes, a state she points out as “in trouble right now. If I didn’t have the quality of my color assured in my Painter images, I’d be on life-support.”

Not only does ColorMunki assure consistent color, but it saves her time and money. “I hate the word ‘tweak,’ because ‘tweak’ is a dollar sign. Every time you have to print and tweak, you’ve spent a ton of money. I don’t do that now because of the ColorMunki. The software’s so incredible. All you have to do is push the button. It’s absolutely amazing, and I can stick it in my purse!”

As Helen has refined both her technique and workflow, she points out the advancing technology has changed photographers’ and artists’ responsibilities. “If your color is wrong, blaming the lab is not the answer. It’s your fault. Previously, portrait photographers were less technical than commercial photographers because the labs could save their images. Today, they have to know. The ColorMunki is the answer for so many of these people. It’s honest-to-God color management in an inexpensive way. Apple ColorSync® was ahead of it’s time, but it doesn’t do what ColorMunki does.”

Virtual paintings continue to turn heads and win honors for Helen. A member of the Portrait Society of America, the Society of XXV, and the American Society of Photographers, Helen doesn’t see her hard-earned color management habits changing any time soon. “The ColorMunki is so nice and easy. The software is so simple to use.”