The Big word Is – Color Profiling

In simple terms, the management of colours to ensure that your photographs turn out right. Often when you receive your prints from the printer, they look dull, or the colours look wrong and fail to exude the “personality or the pop” in the shot. I have heard this time and time again from my students who attend the various photography courses and workshops that I provide. For this reason, I am going to share some pointers which will assist you from having to experience this disappointment, and also to understand the reasons as to why these things happen.

Every printer sees colour differently, and this is due to the way they are calibrated from the software using the built-in hardware of the device. When you save an image after editing, the image will maintain a colour profile, so when you press the print command, your colour is determined. Programs like Photoshop will allow you to set custom profiles. Note that there are factors that will offset the printer profile such as the type of paper and changing the inks.

Editing your images for the Web and Social Media platforms

The recommended choice is sRGB as it works in alignment with a standard monitor in determining the colour space and gamut’s (the colour range according to your device). No need to stress, as most cameras have a sRGB default which is set up for you from the very start.

Editing your images for Print

My suggestion is to set up your camera to shoot in the RAW format where very little colour is lost and the file sizes are large and maintain all the detail for printing. You, in essence, will print from a high-resolution RAW image rather than a jpeg image.


  • Compressed, processed, and ready to go
  • Smaller file size
  • Less dynamic range


  • Uncompressed and need to be processed
  • Larger file size
  • Maximum information captured from an image
  • More flexibility during post-processing
  • More dynamic range

Monitors also play a role in this process, so identify a monitor that is designed with the correct colour space for stills photography. Don’t believe that only Apple offer this as a solution, there are many affordable brands that work better or just as well for this purpose.

To make this simple, the digital camera and the monitor are RGB, while the printer is CMYK.

Find a Good Print Shop

From experience, you will save yourself much time and money having your images professionally printed on high end printers by the experts. These machines are costly and use expensive high-quality ink. Basically, the entirety is something the average person will not have connected to their computer at home. So, don’t waste your time buying a printer and different paper to test, as you will either run out of patience or money, not sure which will occur first, taking into consideration that ink is very costly.

Request that you printer show you one of the images you wish to print on the device they print from. Look carefully at the image and the colours and if necessary, ask the printer to set the profiles of their printer until you are happy with the colour, look and feel. Yes, it is that simple. Do not just drop off and say print… you just might be disappointed.

Keep it simple is the way I like to explain, it just works, saving any confusion. My intention is to educate all interested in taking photographs with a fun and practical approach. Hope that I have answered your questions, and will end all frustrations when printing your images.