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Art Suwansang

When did you first understand the importance of color to the photographic process?

When I was a aspiring photographer before I even gone to photography school. I purchased a color calibration device for my display, which back then was a CRT and color do shift quite a bit so frequent calibration was necessary.  

What is the most important aspect of color management that an aspiring photographer should know?

Get your viewing device to display the correct color, screen calibration is a must. It is almost like running a control strip during film processing to check the line.

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?

I remembered vividly when I upgraded my desktop with a new monitor and printer whilst I was in school. Everything was new and shiny but I could never get the prints to look right, they always come out much darker on paper but look proper on my screen. I couldn't figure out why that was the case despite running the color calibration software multiple times. What I didn't realize then was that LCD and other monitors for that matter comes out of the box running close to full brightness which is about 400 cd/m^2. This is about 4 - 5 times too bright for viewing proof for printing. Once I consulted with one of my professor, I started to test my screen and lower the brightness to 80 cd/m^2 everything was starting to look good. From that point on I took it upon myself to educate my peers and fellow photographer. Ideally your screen should always matches your print and that should happened 99.9% of the time.

Why are you committed to using X-Rite products?

X-Rite always made great products that are easy to use. A few years back X-Rite took over Pantone and Greytag Macbeth, that really solidify their position as the color authority in the industry. I am a big fan of Pantone and Greytag to start out with so I was thrilled that they have join forces and look at their products now. I think that they have one of the best lineup of color management solutions in the industries.

How important are the latest color management tools in today’s industry?  Why?

They are really important. We live in a digital age and color accuracy should be key to how we see and view things. Not to mentioned our digital life style that now rely more that ever on digital displays. The time to get the best color management tools is now, the products are great. The hardware is for the most part future proof and updates for compatibility can be done via software. The price is also great as well, there's no reason not to get a good color solution today!

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?

My feeling is that color management should be more important that ever. Like I mentioned earlier about our digital life style that relies heavily on screen that ranges from a billboard size displays, theatre projections, to TV, digital advert at bus stops, to our personal devices such as laptop, tablet and smart phones. Our life is driven by these displays and we should be looking at colors that are as precise as possible.

As far as the future, I would like to see the color calibration process become seamless as you moved from capture to edit to final proof and display devices. We are moving in that direction but we are far from being at the point of seamless integration. I like to see that one-day.

How is color management related to your artistic process?

Color management is the start and end of my artistic process. Without it I would not know how to edit my images to ensure that I get the proper skin tonality or the color that I wanted. For what I do, color management is an end of end process.

Do you see color management as an advantage for saving money?

Absolutely! The less you have to get about color the better you are. If your color is right on there’s less trial and error giving you more time for refinement rather than problem solving. Also less test prints that you have to do, it can change your workflow in a very positive and efficient way.