Colour spaces explained

To ensure the right colours in your images, it helps to understand how colour spaces work… Colour spaces are mathematical models describing the way colours can be represented. The easiest way of visualising them is to think of a box containing all the possible colours that can be produced by mixing the three primary colours of light: red, green and blue.

Using Printer Drivers and Editing Software

All printers come with software for producing prints. This bundled software usually reflects the price and functionality of the printer and always includes the printer driver and an editing application. An online instruction manual is sometimes provided. The functionality of the software usually reflects the price and complexity of the printer, with entry-level printers providing very simple editors, while printers designed for serious amateur and professional photographers come with more sophisticated products like Adobe’s Photoshop Elements.

Producing Colour-Accurate Prints

As we’ve covered printer drivers in Using Printer Drivers and Editing Software, this section is devoted to using paper profiles. When you buy an inkjet printer, the driver software contains pre-loaded ICC profiles for papers suitable for use with that printer. Paper profiles can also be found in the Technical Support section of the printer manufacturer’s website under Inkjet Printer Drivers. Most manufacturers update them regularly as new products are released and existing products are improved. However, only papers produced by (or for) the printer manufacturer and sold under the manufacturer’s brand name are profiled.

Printing Black and White Photographs

Regardless of the output type, the more image data you have to start with, the more you can use for printing. This means shooting with the highest available resolution and quality, using raw format where it’s available and shooting in colour, even though you want to end up with a B&W print. However, when composing shots you should use the same strategies as you used when shooting with B&W film: think in black and white and pre-visualise the subject as a series of tones.

Printing for Display

We’ve already covered the selection of inks and papers for everyday printing in Choosing the Right Inks and Papers but, when you want to make prints for display, the printer manufacturer’s range may not include the surface you wish to print on. Fortunately, there are plenty of ‘fine art’ papers with textures ranging from ultra-smooth to as rough as watercolour paper and a wide range of thicknesses (see below). Some suppliers offer media with textured surfaces like canvas, linen and even silk, which will allow you to turn your favourite pictures into attractive works of art. However, care should be taken when selecting them.