I love color – beautiful vibrant COLOR – but color for showing on the web and color that can be printed are two different animals. There is a limit to what can be printed in ink. I have an older photography tip from the spring about bringing out the color of your photo in Photoshop.
Using these types of processing can push your color above the spectrum that can be printed. If you are only posting to the web and not printing, this isn’t a problem for you. If you do plan to print, there are some things to keep in mind.
Out of gamut and color clipping – This basically means that the color is too saturated to be printed. Most commerical printers print in the sRGB color space, which is less broad than what you will see on your monitor. If the color goes supersonic, then the printers will not be able to replicate it and it will appear dulled out in the print. I know this from experience.
To check if the color is out of gamut, you can do this in Photoshop CS – select->color range->out of gamut. This will highlight where the colors are too much for printing on the photo. I have tried to figure out where this would be in Photoshop Elements and have failed. If anyone knows, please send me an e-mail and/or leave a comment as to where you can find it.
Basically, if your color goes super-sonic it won’t print. An example is my mom’s red sweater. There are places were the color is “clipped”, and hopefully just looking at her sweater you can see the areas that are way too bright/colorful/clipped:
Red is hard for Nikons since they tend to be saturated normally. To fix these problem areas, you can just erase out that area if you are working in layers, use the sponge tool and desaturate the area, or make a Hue/Saturation layer and desaturate the color on the overall photo (it would be red in this example).
Here is another article on this issue if I have thoroughly confused you: Gamut explanation
I had a hard time finding some basic explanations on the Internet related to the out of gamut color. There are some good explanations on the free ILP forums, which I can’t stress enough is a great place to learn photography basics. Just lurking on the JSO (just starting out) forum can give you lots of useful information.
In these dark and dreary winter months…let’s bring on some COLOR!