Do you print your images?

In today’s world, most people are exposed to photographs on the small screens of mobile devices or tablets. Of course, museums and exhibitions can play a role, but it is reasonable to think that the vast majority of the images from professionals and amateurs are viewed as digital content in the less than ideal conditions of a mobile screen. The ease of use and the addictive nature of digital experiences such as Instragram have amplified the challenge for visual creators to capture people’s attention. In addition, photography has become adopted by many more people around the world because digital is way more forgiving than traditional prints.

Printed images even not on a large scale involve questions and complexities that most digital content creators do not have to face. For example, is it important as a photographer to have a properly calibrated computer screen when your image will be viewed by people on screens with potentially very different contrast and brightness characteristics? What about image sharpness? This is something that is hard to judge on the small screen of a phone. This is what I meant by “forgiving.” Digital photography has changed so many things for the industry and creators’/viewers’ experiences. In most cases, this is a good thing because it helped new talent to emerge.  

But, we should not forget the work of photographers who, for business reasons or personal preference, have a different approach to photography workflow. Think, for example, of fine art, wedding or commercial photographers. In many cases, printing images is a necessary part of the work process. The attention to detail can be very different compared to digital productions. Color accuracy, consistency and image sharpness are critical. I do not print all of my images because it is not cost effective. However, call me old school, I really appreciate the experience of printing my most interesting images. I invested in an expensive Canon printer in order to learn and control the end-to-end process.  Years ago after multiple bad experiences, I discovered the challenge of screen calibration.  This is what brought me to Datacolor, the company that created a portfolio of products to resolve challenges associated with creative workflow.

One of its latest products, the SpyderX Capture Pro includes in a convenient metal case and some essential calibration products to achieve greater quality. The case includes four different tools starting with my favorite, the SpyderX, a colorimeter to calibrate screens. I really liked this new version because the software offers plenty of options and control. I am not a technical expert, but I am able to quickly calibrate both my laptop and desktops screens using this tool. It solves one of my biggest concerns which is to print images identical to what I see on my screens. 

For color consistency, contrast and white balance, the case includes two different tools. First, SpyderCHECKR, a color chart associated with a dedicated software that can be used with the various Adobe softwares. This device is very helpful to validate that camera settings correctly match the lighting conditions of the shooting environment.To correct the color temperature as well as the exposure, brightness and black point of your images during the post-production process, Datacolor developed a small and easy to use device called SpyderCUBE that you can bring with you when shooting. The device provides reference values to check and adjust RAW control settings.

Finally, the SpyderLENSCAL is a tool for calibrating camera, lens, and focus settings. For context, most cameras do not offer optimum focus results with all lenses when they leave the factory. If you need precision, this tool will help you performing some tests and optimize the focus of your camera based on the various lenses that you use.

After testing these four tools, it is clear for me that the SpyderX is the most useful tool for me because I am focused on landscape or seascape photography. If you are an advanced amateur photographer or a professional shooting weddings or for any other commercial purpose, you should be considering this package of tools to optimize your workflow. If you are not sure that the the SpyderX Capture Pro fits your needs, I would suggest that you visit the Datacolor Youtube channel where you can find detailed information about the four tools included in the case. Keep in mind that SpyderLenscal is not relevant to all camera owners because not all brands offer the opportunity to make advanced focus adjustments. The compatibility information is available on Datacolor website.

I have not been paid to publish this post on my site and on social media. However, Datacolor sent me a SpyderX Capture Pro case to test all these tools. For more details, visit  https://spyderx.datacolor.com/shop/ and Datacolor Youtube channel https://tinyurl.com/yxfoo6d7