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Gavin Gough

When did you first understand the importance of color to the photographic process?
I think that it’s been obvious to me since my move into professional photography that accurate colour rendition is crucial. I want to ensure that my images maintain fidelity of colour throughout the post-production process and my clients want to know that the files and prints they receive have been produced using a carefully calibrated workflow. It saves them time and trouble and means that they are more likely to come back to me in the future if the work they receive is accurately reproduced.

What is the most important aspect of color management that an aspiring photographer should know?
In a word, consistency. Each stage of the process, from capture to output, must be carefully colour managed in order to achieve predictable results. Setting up a colour managed workflow from the start will remove the possibility of headaches at a later date. Consistency of approach will ensure that all work is produced to the same high standards 

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?
Understanding colour management helps me every day. Whether my client is a high-profile magazine, a large NGO or a private client buying prints for their collection, they each expect so see images that look “right”. I recently shot the editorial images for Vanity Fair’s annual Travel edition. Knowing that the images that they received will have been through a carefully colour-managed workflow certainly reassured the client and had I not been able to promise that level of control then I’m pretty sure the gig would have gone elsewhere.

How long have you been associated with X-Rite?
I’ve been using X-Rite products since 2003.

Why are you committed to using X-Rite products?
I’ve always found X-Rite products to be reliable and consistent. Software works intuitively and the hardware works efficiently. Most importantly, it doesn’t get in the way and lets me concentrate on getting my job with the minimum of fuss. 

How important are the latest color management tools in today’s industry?  Why?
Anybody who’s worked with digital imagery in recent years knows that the technology improves and adapts very swiftly. Keeping abreast of the latest developments is important and knowing that the tools you’re using are state-of-the-art is enormously reassuring.

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?
Colour management is certainly not going to become any less important in the future. As the number of publishing venues increases with digital reproduction supplementing traditional print outlets, the need to control colour reproduction will also increase. 

How is color management related to your artistic process?
Mostly, it’s a matter of control. My main aim is to accurately represent the scene that I photographed in the first place and so it’s essential that my hardware is capable of producing consistent results. When it comes to subjective choices, it’s impossible for a photographer to know how to best render a stunning sunset or the saffron robes of a Buddhist monk unless they can be completely confident that their hardware is showing them accurate colours. Without that, the creative process is just hit and miss and that won’t really wash in my line of work.

Do you see color management as an advantage for saving money?
I see colour management as an advantage when it comes to making money. Without it, I couldn’t gain the trust of clients who need to know that they will get consistent products from me. If I submit digital files that have not been carefully managed then I’m on the fast-track to losing a client. These days, clients are hard won in the first place and almost impossible to recover. Colour management is simply an essential tool in my armoury and I don’t see how it would be possible to work without it.

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