What is Color Space?
A "color space" is a useful conceptual tool for understanding the color capabilities of a particular device or digital file. When trying to reproduce color on another device, color spaces can show whether you can retain shadow/highlight detail, color saturation, and by how much either will be compromised.
What are the most popular color spaces used for editing?
sRGB IEC61966-2.1, ProPhoto RGB and Adobe RGB 1998.
What color space do you accept?
sRGB IEC61966-2.1. For those Photographers that want to edit their own photos in PhotoShop or LightRoom, we recommend submitting your files in sRGB color space while soft proofing with our custom ICC profiles. Our profiles are generated in-house and take into account the white point of the paper and the printer and chemistry that was used. When soft proofing in photo editing software with our custom profiles, the photographer will see what the final output of their photo will look like. The client can then make edits to the file based on how the image looks while soft proofing with the profile.
We only provide our custom ICC profiles to those clients who have a properly calibrated monitor by using Spyder, Color Munki, or x-rite calibration devices.
When you are pleased with the results, save your edits and be certain to save in the sRGB IEC61966-2.1 or Adobe 1998 color space. Do Not convert to or assign the custom ICC profile you were soft proofing with.
What happens if I upload in a color space other than sRGB IEC61966-2.1?
If the file is converted to ProPhoto or Adobe 1998 and it hits our server, it will get converted to sRGB IEC61966-2.1 without issue or a warning. When a file has been assigned the wrong color space and has not been converted to sRGB IEC61966-2.1, you will start to see discoloration. When an image is in the wrong color space, they often appear muted, dark, and sometimes with a green hue.
There are a slew of color spaces that one can utilize for uploading images for printing on traditional AgX (Silver Halide) photo paper.
The Phone Camera has become “The” way to capture images for printing press books, albums, canvases, and proofs. The most common concern is that the HEIC format renders images to look flat, and dull and gives an overall lackluster look.
Any photographer that has been to our site has been bombarded with the recommendation of uploading your files in the sRGB (sRGB IEC61966-2.1) color space but why?
The answer comes to us on a few different points. The sRGB color space is the preferred color space for our AgX printers and our Kodak DP2 rendering software. The s in sRGB stands for Standard.
We use a variety of laser and LED silver Halide printers for processing sizes from 3.5”x5” to 30”x40” printers. The one constant is that they use Red, Green, and Blue Laser diodes and LED arrays to expose your images on the light-sensitive Fuji and Kodak paper that we use.
sRGB is not the widest color space available, and many of our pro photographers will submit in different color spaces that will not garner the results they are looking for. Since the print engines on our Noritsu (Small Format:3.5”x5” to 12”x36”), Chromia, and Theta Enlargement Printers ( 13” to 30” wide) are RGB, submitting your files in the sRGB color space is strongly recommended in order to provide you with accurate print quality.
In the very near future, sRGB conversion software will be added to our Website. This software will automatically and seamlessly convert your files from any color space to the recommended sRGB colorspace. However, for the time being, please continue reading to see how images not being in sRGB format affects your images and lead to disappointment…
Once your file is uploaded to our website and is ingested into our system, we can now render your files to the appropriate printer based on the size order. Our rendering software was created by Kodak and is called DP2 (Digital Print Production Software).
DP2 is the gateway to all of our print templates and where all of our color management is housed. Our highly skilled color correctors use DP2 to custom color correct our client's files based on density, contrast, saturation, and color.
Unfortunately, DP2 does not automatically convert your files to the recommended sRGB color space. If your files are uploaded in a color space other than sRGB, the results that you see on your monitor/screen will differ from your prints.
Our DP2 rendering software does not honor or recognize ProPhoto RGB, KLRGB or ColorMatch RGB. When ProPhoto enters DP2, those files often look flat, muddy, and green. If our Technician were to select the input file that was originally selected, you can see that the ProPhoto RGB looks like the Athlete has sunburn.
Correct / Converted Profile sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Incorrect / Assigned Profile Adobe 98 > sRGB IEC61966-2.1
Incorrect / Assigned Profile ProPhoto > sRGB IEC61966-2.1
How do I convert to the correct color space?
Open the file in Photoshop. Click "Edit" at the top and select "Assign Profile". You want to make sure the profile says sRGB IEC61966-2.1. If it says anything else, it is not in the correct color space (see below).
Are there any other settings I should check?
Yes, click "Image" at the top and select "Mode". You want to make sure it says RGB Color and 8 bits/Channel. Save as a jpg and you're ready to order!