20130811_0147

How does this picture look to you? I can guarantee one thing – it looks different to me, and to anyone else viewing it.

I’m talking specifically about the colours. I’ve viewed this picture on several screens – my computer, my phone, a couple of different tablets and another PC – and the colours were different on each. On the other PC, in particular, the colours were far less warm, and the lower part of the sky was a brighter cyan.

On my Mac, the colours are quite warm with a hint of a magenta cast in the clouds. On the tablets the colours are also quite warm. On the Windows PC, the cast disappeared and the overall colour was colder.

It’s a problem for photographers. A keen photographer may invest in colour calibration equipment to get the colours just right. That’s important when printing, so that soft proofs on screen are as accurate a reflection as possible of the final print. How often do we actually print though? I would imagine I’m like the majority of amateur photographers these days in that my photos are only seen on screen, and rarely printed.

That, then, is the problem with colour photography on the internet. You can tweak the colours all you like to get something that looks right to you, but have no control over how it’s seen by anyone else. No wonder I convert a lot of my photos to black and white!

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