Getting the color right online Part I

Getting the color of your art right online is complicated. When I first created a website, I naively believed that I could just take a digital camera image, upload it into my image library, and post it directly to my web page. The results were shocking. My work looked dull and my colors were off.

Many years later, with the generous guidance of my photography and tech savvy husband, I have a strategy that yields online images that are fairly close in color and tone to the originals. Since this is how many people first experience my work, accuracy is crucial. I am certainly not an expert on this subject, but I’m sharing what I do in this blog series in hopes that people will find useful tips for themselves.

My latest linocut in my framing/photography/guest room combination.

Good lighting is key

While some people have luck just using outside natural light, I haven’t found that this works for me. (And with the constant gloom and precipitation of our midwestern winter not practical…)  My birthday present a few years ago was a set of LED Bescor lights from B&H Photo Video. LED lights have come down in price since I purchased mine, so you can get lights with stands for much more reasonable prices.

These LED lights let you adjust the temperature of the light bathing your artwork.

Set things pretty bright and very white

These types of lights are helpful because you can adjust them from 3200K to 5600K. In choosing lights for our living spaces, my husband greatly preferred the warm (yellow tint) 3200K lights. I have bright white yet cool 5600K lights in my studio. For photographing my work, I set the lights on 5600K as well. I temper this by setting the brightness at about 90%. Trial and error guided these choices.

Lights on! Now my work is properly illuminated.

Lights, please

I set my digital camera on a tripod to keep things square and steady. When I upload images, I crop out all of the white paper, so it is imperative that my images are square when taken. Otherwise you lose some of the work as you crop it for online viewing. I use masking tape to keep the work flat against the wall, putting large pieces over the plastic registration tabs at the top. I keep the camera settings on automatic.

Note the gray card to the left of the work. This is crucial for color calibration when I upload the images to the computer. Stay tuned for this part in my next blog.

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