Colour spaces

Colour spaces in photography – An Introduction

In a simpler definition – A very defined space where exactly this many colours can be displayed/shown, by the device. In other words it is to determine one device’s ability to display the no. of the unique colours (sometimes a part of the device). Be it a computer screen, a mobile phone’s screen, or a tablet’s screen, most of the times it is hardware but in few cases, it is software (for instance – a browser).

sRGB – a colour space jointly created by HP and Microsoft. This profile is the most widely used one for browsers and most of the screens including tablet screens and mobile phone screens. As the below diagram depicts, the largest colour profile next to visually perceivable is ProPhoto RGB, the next smaller one is Adobe RGB and the smallest one is sRGB.

Since sRGB is the most used colour space in the browsers and alike in displays, you are expected to export your images in this colour space, so that the colour you have seen while editing are better displayed by the same file in the other mediums or displays.

Note: Not all the monitors available in the market possess the ability to display all the colours in sRGB. They usually measure it in percentage, for example – 75% of sRGB, 90% of sRGB. If you are a professional you might consider buying a monitor which covers a higher percentage of sRGB, mostly 90% + or even 90% + of Adobe RGB colour space. Dell ultra sharp series monitors have a positive feedback  in general.

A monk at Bylakuppe

Adobe RGB – as the name suggests created by Adobe systems and is smaller than ProPhoto RGB but larger than sRGB. Widely printers are using this profile, but it is advisable to check with the printing service provider before sending the files, in which colour space they need. Adobe RGB includes 50% of the colours specified by Lab Colour space.

Many printers and almost all commercial places most likely need the files in this colour space.

ProPhoto RGB – made by Apple, the largest colour profile available, but no devices support this profile yet. Hence if you export your file in this profile, the display medium will convert the file’s colour space into the device’s colour space in a best possible way! and it may show drastic colour differences. ProPhoto RGB includes 90% of all perceivable colours specified by Lab colour space. Currently there are no devices which support this profile. In future, there may.

Note: When you photograph, if you are shooting in RAW mode, you don’t have to worry about which color space to be selected in your camera, because RAW files are only interpreted by the softwares, basically the RAW files contains the data – it is not even a image format. But if you are shooting in jpeg, your color space selection does play an important role. Set Adobe RGB, if the purpose is to send photographs for print. If it is only for web services and display purposes, sRGB is sufficient.

Colorspaces explained

Colour spaces visually explained.  Image source – Wikipedia.

All the colour spaces are displayed over the visible colour space to have a better understanding.

If you are using Lightroom to edit your photographs, you do not have to worry about color space as Lightroom is working on the largest colour space ProPhoto RGB. The only place where you have to decide is when you are exporting your file from Lightroom.

Note: When exporting you can apply any of the above colour spaces to your photograph, the thing matters is the purpose of the photograph.

 

Hope I have made the basic understandings of the colour spaces currently being used. If you have got to say something about colours, comment it. Will be looking forward to it.

 

Cheers & Happy Photographing.

 

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Inevitable personalities

Sally Mann

Why I like her, because of one photograph she made, the most erotic I have ever seen. None of the nude photographs can come close to this photograph in sense of erotic feeling it creates in a male human’s mind.

Sally mann

The wet cloth, the stickiness of the cloth with the body, a hand with three fingers in the frame which holds the body on the right top of the photograph (obviously male hand), the cleavage, the shrinkage in the cloth due to wetness, the tight crop of the photograph – if you look again there are no space left around the body in the frame, everything made this particular photograph as an outstanding one. Though she made many nude kid photographs and she is controversial too in that regard, this one stands out in her portfolio and one of my favorite.

Steve Mc Curry

One of the well-known personality in photography and without talking about him, compositional topics would never get complete (leave Henri-Cartier at this moment). The below image is one of my most favorite in his gallery.

Steve Mc curry

Two bullock carts parked adjacent to a wall and an another bullock cart about to be parked, the bull shall be untied from the cart in few moments and the bull appears like it is watching the elder woman who is appears to be having a hump as his. The elder woman is walking away from the frame with the help of her walking stick, her left leg stepping forward and her whole weight have been supported by her right leg. All the three legs are visible to the viewer, if you watch again these three legs matches with the three legs of the bull (deliberately avoided the other leg of the bull inside the frame, either while capturing or post capture) is simply sheer brilliance.

Talking about the other features of the photograph would be colour and the overall mood. The green colour door has been complimented by the red colour interior finish inside the right side cart, may be perfect coincidence but it adds value to the photograph. The mood here is slightly esoteric, because of the noise – due to low light ISO boost or deliberate post capture addition, either way it adds value to the photograph. If you look again the photograph,it is underexposed by almost a stop, which again perfect combo with the mood here.

And some interesting things about the master, Steve knows India better than an average Indian knows India, yes he travelled to India 82 times till date and an another interesting thing is he did not locked himself in Black & White images which people tend to give lot of explanations. He took very few photographs in B&W.

 

Michael Freeman.

Couple of months back, I accidentally found his work in internet and are highly impressive. He wrote several books including The Photographer’s eye, The photographer’s mind and I happen to go through those books in a book fair here in Chennai, I have never come across such kind of books, which talks about composition, how a small point/line/spot/anything in any photograph is perceived by human brain with diagrammatic explanations.

Micahel Freeman

The above photograph have been etched in my mind from his work. The first bull from the viewer is looking down and the next one watching straight, but both their horns have placed in such a way that it forms a continuous vertical wavy pattern. If you look at the first bull’s neck where it ends and reaches the hump, from there on the herdsman’s hand takes the curve up and completes itself by keeping his hand on his head. This is the interesting part; the herdsman’s hand and the second bull’s horn bend are somehow parallel to each other and create a balance in the photograph. And the photograph being in Black & White makes all sense together, the first bull’s neck in black colour and herdsman’s shirt being in white colour creates this as a compelling photograph.

After watching different photographs from several masters and reading different books about photography, my conclusion towards a good photograph would be “There cannot be a set of exhaustive compositional rules to make a good photograph, since a unique and good photograph will come with its own rules which may or may not exist before”.

Kindly note all the above three photographs have taken from their websites.