Saturday, 6 September 2014

Book Printing and Colour Management

One crucial aspect of creative photography is colour control, also described as colour workflow or colour calibration.  Whatever the term, it concerns anyone in the business of printing requiring you to develop at least a basic understanding of colour management and a consistent edit workflow.  

We all know that it's a tricky process to get perfect what-you-see-onscreen-is-the-same-as-what-you-see-in-print results.  Colour management is full of complex terms and concepts, small wonder most photographers I deal with glaze over and shake their heads when I mention the word colour

I recently produced a photo book of my two trips to Africa in 2013 using Momento, a Sydney-based digital book printing service.  Now, I've used Momento before and have been impressed with its effective (free) book making software, as well as its friendly and helpful troubleshooting service.

This book was bigger than anything I had done before with Momento, producing an A3 book via its MomentoPro service which offers professionals a discount plus a wide range of paper surfaces and finishing options.  However, what's important here is that MomentoPro offers a thing called a soft proofing colour service. How does this work? 

The main reason for colour/brightness print shortcomings is that:
- We rarely choose the best colour space 
- We don't soft proof our files correctly. 
- And we don't anticipate the characteristics of the media (paper)

Here's what you have to do:
- Calibrate your monitor (so what you see onscreen is close to 100% accurate)
- Shoot in Adobe RGB for best colour repro
- Download and use Momento's own paper profiles
- Soft proof the files and adjust for the best colour, brightness and contrast results using Photoshop

Colour Spaces
All cameras shoot in either Adobe RGB or sRGB colour spaces.  Adobe RGB contains more colour tones than sRGB.  If you output using a typical (sRGB) printer, the smaller sRGB space is fine because the printer (which has a limited colour range) can match the spread of colours in the file. 
Momento's presses operate best using Adobe RGB so the camera is best set accordingly. 

Soft Proofing
MomentoPro supplies registered users a colour profile that, when loaded into Adobe Photoshop, changes the onscreen colour to look closer to how its presses reproduce colour. This is a process called soft proofing.
The idea is for the image files going into the book to be edited in Adobe Photoshop and previewed (soft proofed) using the supplied paper profile (Once this is loaded into Photoshop, you can switch the preview on and off using the shortcut Ctrl/Cmd + Y).

This is how the Color Settings (Edit>Color Settings) recommended by
MomentoPro, appear in Adobe Photoshop(Edit>Color Settings)
Every printing paper produces a quite different looking results.
Papers are ice-white, warm, ivory with a wide range of different surfaces,
like watercolour papers, textured, smooth, semi-matte, gloss and more
Here are the supplied MomentoPro paper profiles

In Photoshop's View menu I have chosen satin paper

So to soft proof satin finish paper, choose View>Proof Setup
and Momento Proofing. Toggle on and off using the shortcut: Ctrl/Cmd + Y


  1. Really informative blog i found this while i was searching for some stunning Ink and Cartridge for my branded Epson printer anyways its good to find such a nice post keep this information up for public really appreciated.

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