Color Gamuts Are As Easy As A Box of Crayons

crayons

Feeling a little overwhelmed with color gamuts, icc profiles, color profiling, etc, etc? I feel your pain. Getting your prints to match your screen seems like such a trivial matter until you actually try doing it. Printers and monitors have different color characteristics. It’s amazing we can even get some semblance of our images on to a print!

Fortunately and unfortunately, technology helped us with this challenge with sophisticated color management systems. This may sound complicated but the concept is quite simple. It’s just a way to identify colors and accurately use them when we want…like a box of crayons.

Close your eyes, go back in time and remember your first yellow and green box of Crayolas. Ah yes, it was your first experience with a magic box of color and wonder. Maybe it sparked that visual creativity in you. I still have warm and fuzzy feelings about my big box of 64 crayons. Who can you forget Cerulean, Aquamarine and Hot Magenta?

Every color output device is essentially a box of crayons. Monitors and printers paint images with their unique set of crayons known as their color gamut. The size of these color gamuts differ between brands and models—much like different boxes of crayons. These colors need to be identified and cataloged so they can be reproduced faithfully. The colors of your crayon collection are identified with unforgettable names like Periwinkle and Midnight Blue and placed nicely in a box of 24, 48 or 64 piece sets. In your computer, your output device’s colors are identified and saved as an ICC Profile which is a standardized color catalog, developed by the ICC (International Color Consortium).

So how are the colors produced by your output devices identified and cataloged? By a process called profiling. Crayola has their own way of identifying their crayons. We use devices, called spectrophotometers, and profiling software to measure and to identify colors of our output devices. You probably saw one of these devices for monitors. It looks like a mouse that you hangs on face of your monitor. It measures the color values of your monitor and then records it’s color gamut into a file (a.k.a. ICC Profie) on your computer which now has an accurate idea of how your monitor displays color.

Once this process is done for the printer as well as the monitor, you’ll be able accurately reproduce colors on your monitor onto a color managed printer just as easily as you would grabbing a Cerulean crayon to color the sky.

Another Night of Me & My Pillow, Talk Talk Talk…

mainheaderday4

It’s the weekend, but I wanted to throw a few small bits of information out there.

1) The hours between 6 a.m. and noon on a Saturday are the deepest sleep I get all week.

2) If you book a hotel room for a boudoir shoot and ask for a “handicap accessible room” it’s MUCH bigger, the same price and will give you a lot more room to shoot in. But make sure you’re not booking their last handicap accessible room. Unless you’re handicapped. Then it’s cool.

3) At Target they sell these weird little snap/elastic contraptions that you fit to the corners of your fitted sheet and keep it from coming off. I just about cried when I found them and bought them and applied them to my bed. Sheer happiness for this girl who kick boxes so much in her sleep that her sheets were NEVER still on in the morning when she woke up.

And now, just one more quick image of the fabulous hotel room at the NEW Sheraton in Anaheim, CA (the one farther from Disneyland, not closer). I booked a room for some shoots the other night and man if that bed wasn’t one I wanted to drag home with me.

sosleepyweb

Don’t you just want to crawl right in? Oh gosh, I do!!!

Back at work tomorrow, see you all then!

Katie

P.S. Website of the Day is The Sleep Journal

Photographer Spotlight: Jon Ogden Photography

picture-11

When Jon and Sheri of Jon Ogden Photography first came to us looking for a new lab, they were very much newbies in the industry and were looking to begin building a solid business they could move in to full time. We have enjoyed watching their skills, marketing and success grow over the past year and are proud to call them Fotoworks PROs.

With tough economic times upon us, it’s time for all of us to take a look at our current business structures and see how we can expand. One of the great areas that’s available for professional photographers to expand into is sports photography. Unlike family portraiture where print sales are often unsteady and unpredictable, sports photography (especially sports portraits) are an almost guaranteed sale as each athlete wants the traditional wallets and 8×10 to pass out and hang.

It takes a lot of skill and practice to become exceptional sports photographers such as the Ogdens. Shooting indoors at competitions and learning to use studio lighting can take a lot of trial and error. But for those of you natural-light photographers, sports photography might be a great add on to your business as you’ll already have an understanding of lighting in uncontrolled environments such as outdoors or in sports arenas.

I see the possibility for major benefits of branching out into this area. One in particular, is that as the scores of athletes, parents and relatives visit your website to see the shots, they’ll be able to see galleries of your other work as well. — SIDENOTE: Don’t forget to watermark your images as Jon Ogden has. You want your clients to have to buy the images – which means you need to be dilligent in making sure they can’t steal them! — My thoughts are that if done right, doing some sports photography will introduce your studio to lots of new potential clients. As the word gets out, your sports photography could also lead to other local events such as school dances, proms, pageants, conventions, parties & festivals.

digitalspring-copy

According to Wikipedia:   Spring Fever is a term applied to several sets of physical and psychological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. In general it refers to an increase in energy and vitality. In some uses however it refers to the opposite, an unexpected loss of energy with the onset of spring.

Whether you’re experiencing a boost in energy or are feeling a little lethargic, this sale is sure to make you smile. Just our way of giving you a little break after paying off The Man this week, we’re going to give you 10% off your orders placed through ROES between now and Monday April 20 at 12:01 a.m.  To get the 10% DISCOUNT you’ll have to use the following promo code when you place your order via ROES.

PROMO CODE:  SFS10

Happy Spring,
Katie Johnson

Place an order with us via ROES (available for free download from our website under the Resources tab) between now and Monday April 20 at 12:01 a.m. using the promotional code “SFS10” to receive 10% off your entire order. No limitations.

Do You Give Away Your Images?

20080818-_mg_4714

One of the topics that has popped up on my radar repeatedly this week is the question of whether to give away your images or not. I know many studios find themselves in quite a predicament over this and I wanted to share with you my thoughts. And I’m hoping via comment here, you will share some of yours!

Deciding to give your images to your client on CD needs to be done only when you have, from a financial standpoint, received all compensation you deserve for the shooting. Before you hand over your images you have to be okay with the fact that from that point forward, there’s a very good chance you will no longer make any money on that job. My suggestion is that you only offer to sell the image files as an incentive to a minimum purchase requirement or as part of a package. This way you have some control over the fact that you have already met your minimum sales requirement to maintain profitability.

My next concern is also my largest – your reputation. When your client takes the CD of their images to walmart, costco or even their local mom & pop print lab, those images (however poorly manipulated or printed) will be what is displayed and shown off to friends and family as YOUR artwork.

Case in point: I did a fabulous shoot for some close friends of the family a couple years back and told them when they were ready to order images to give me a call and I would print for them at cost. Not wanting to bother me, they took the CD of unretouched, un color corrected images to KINKOS (for crying out loud!) and brought home a HUGE 30×40 “sepia” canvas print. I can’t even begin to explain to you how mortified I was when I showed up at their house a year later and saw at the top of the stairs a pixelated, bright orange, unretouched image they had been telling everyone I shot for them. Grrr…. It’s your reputation on the line. When you give away your images, you release the control and have to be okay with knowing your images may end up bright orange at the top of someone’s stairs.

What are your thoughts on keeping or giving away your images? How is your business currently structured to handle requests for images on CD?

Don’t forget to check out our post from a few days ago about the My Funky Camera strap giveaway! Only 2 more days to enter!

All The Best,

Katie

P.S. Thanks to Scott Shoemake for the image on this blog post – it’s his entry in our giveaway contest. Where’s yours? 😀

Brave New World

Dane Sanders posed an interesting question on Facebook the other day: Do you own Facebook or does it own you? I no longer worry about computers being smart enough that they’ll turn against us – I worry about us allowing ourselves to be controlled by our habits on them.

It got me thinking about my daily technology habits – what they stop me from doing, what they help me do, how much time I spend on them, how much time do they save me, etc. (I will admit: stepping out of a movie the other day to “go to the bathroom” was actually a trip into the hallway to check my Twitter. FTL!).

I think I still have the upper hand over my technology, but I don’t have even a fraction of the followers and answer seekers that some of you big names have! My inbox never overwhelms me and most days of the week responding to all the Twitter replies and Facebook messages only takes me the better part of my morning.

But with e-mail, texting, twittering, facebooking, blogging, etc. – is your business growing? If not, maybe it’s time to stop and reevaluate your efforts and see what is working for you, and what time would be better spent elsewhere.

You can look forward to a series of posts over the next few weeks focused on using your blog to build your brand. I am a firm believer that if you don’t have a blog and aren’t getting one soon, you’re going to soon find out why everyone has been harping on you to get one. The days of traditional word of mouth are over. And we’re here to help you make sure you’re transitioning into the world of cyber-marketing smoothly and effectively.

Hope everyone is enjoying this awesome Tuesday!

Katie

A Little Monday Link Love

picture-1

Just wanted to share with you some of the websites/blogs that absolutely brighten my day, inspire me, educate me and just plain rock my socks off.

Charles & Marie – My absolute favorite online store to shop from. Totally trendy, absolutely mod and wonderfully creative – these products are uber hot.

The Lookbook – The photography related product I’m just dying to get my hands on! I think all of our photographers should carry these with them for the moments when the light bulb of creativity just won’t click on.

Twistori – I am addicted. I could spend hours watching these Tweets scroll up in front of me. Caution – don’t check this out unless you’ve got some time to kill.

We Met In A Bar – Sometimes to escape the world of photo blogs, I check out a bridal one or two to clear my head. This one is very refreshing and witty.

Gig Posters – For those of you who are as big of fans of rock poster art as I am – you have to check out this site. Search for your favorite band and check out the cool designs.

Tofurious – When I need a little extra information on a topic, a little inspiration for the blog or a fun new product to try I check out this site first. These guys have it going on!

My Funky Camera GIVEAWAY!

[mbs slideshow=1]

My Funky Camera sent me radtastic wrist and neck straps to try out so I could tell you all what I think about it – and all I have to say is WOO HOO! It’s classy, fun, adds some color to my gear and it feels incredibly well-made. The seams are perfect, the materials are high-quality. I couldn’t be more thrilled with a camera strap than this one! I’m not normally big on using neck straps but this one is so hot I just might change! The wristlet is my favorite new toy though!

WIN FREE STUFF: 2 Winners will get one camera strap of their choice from My Funky Camera! So here’s the details on the giveaway – to enter to win, you have to send us a photo of you holding your camera (be daring, go strapless!) and doing something funky. Yes, we will be judging on the very subjective FUNK level in your image. Entries should be e-mailed to katie@fotoworkspro.com. Entries will be accepted until Friday April 10th at 12:01 a.m. The winner will be announced Friday afternoon. (P.S. – by sending us your entry, you release the rights to us for use on on our blog!)

Good Luck!

– Katie

P.S. Big shout out goes to the fantabulous men at Tofurious.com for sharing the details on the new WordPress slideshow plug in. For more details about how I got this fresh new slideshow, check out their Tofurious Blog. I also HIGHLY recommend signing up for their newsletter and following them on Twitter. They’re consistently entertaining AND educational. We LOVE Tofurious!

Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous

pof

I used to want to be a rockstar. I’ll settle for being a microcelebrity in the photo industry. Still get the attention, the swag and the notoriety without the paparazzi and the booze-fueled tours. Wait, on second thought… just kidding.

“Microcelebrity is the phenomenon of being extremely well known not to millions but to a small group — a thousand people, or maybe only a few dozen. As DIY media reach ever deeper into our lives, it’s happening to more and more of us. Got a Facebook account? A whackload of pictures on Flickr? Odds are there are complete strangers who know about you — and maybe even talk about you.” By Clive Thompson on The Age of Microcelebrity

I love having a Twitter and Facebook and getting to know our clients and potential new clients through them – what I didn’t realize I was doing was building my own little fan club. A small support group of interested strangers who encourage and support me and offer amazing advice. While no where near the fame of Jasmine Star or Jessica Claire – I appreciate my small amount of microcelebrity.

Microcelebrity can be a powerful thing – as the two aforementioned women have shown. They have used their adorable personalities and photographic talent to boost their businesses and create their personal brands. I haven’t quite found the niche for how to use my microcelebrity yet – but I know that someday it will play into marketing in a way I haven’t yet thought of.

How are you building and using your microcelebrity? Are you using it as the powerful marketing tool that it is?

“Make no mistake about it, when it comes to social media, authenticity and personal branding matter. I’m also a big believer in the concept of microcelebrity. And when we’re more concerned about being on the social media superhighway than we are about being authentic to the people in our virtual community, people will notice.”   FC Expert Blogger Shawn Graham on Social Media & Authenticity

Image of Katie above courtesy of AltF.com 2008