Exposure Is Easy with Digital, but Color Control Can Be Tricky

Opinion: Without a positive in hand, color management is a thorny issue, and photographers face a huge challenge getting satisfactory end results.

Editors Note: This is the first installment of a two-part piece on color management in photography. Part Two will run next week.

Digital technology has now been massively adopted by pro photographers.

The immediacy of digital is persuasive, and the new crop of digital SLRs and camera backs demonstrate all the quality a client could want.

But with every new technology there are advantages and drawbacks.

In the case of digital photography, pros have found exposure control to be different but much easier, while color management is turning into the new industry headache.

Exposure was hard, in the times of film; back then, really bad exposure often meant a dead shot—no comebacks.

Now exposures easy. Its easy because the nice image preview on the back of your camera shows up catastrophic errors in time for you to retake the shot.

Its easy because the histogram display of the camera describes the scenes dynamic range; the histogram is your best friend in the field.

And its easy because you can shoot raw. Thanks to the wonderfully forgiving nature of the raw format, you can usually recover from mostly any exposure mistake by means of an exposure adjustment in the raw converter.

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