David A. Ziser: Reference “Prints” Anytime, Anywhere
Jun 2012 09

I was recently in Cabo San Lucas.  Our timing in Cabo coincided with Jeffery Cowart’s Help-Portrait Project. The Help-Portrait Project is Jeffery’s “once a year” global initiative to bring family portraits to families and individuals who would otherwise, because of limited means, never have an opportunity to have a family portrait made. It’s a great project and this was the second year we were working with missionaries in the area and photographing in the impoverished barrios of Cabo.

The Shoot:

We photographed entire families, brothers and sisters, good friends, the church pastors, and anyone else wishing a portrait.   We took turns behind the camera shooting the portraits.

Post Production:

We imported all the images into Lightroom 3 and gave them a quick peek. I have to say, we all thought they turned out pretty well.  The game plan was to do the best possible edit on the images that we had, fine-tune those images in Lightroom and Photoshop, put the best crop on each one of the images, and have them printed at the local Costco store.


The Hitch:

I readied four images for our test printing to see what kind of results we would obtain from Costco. Unfortunately, we were slightly (understatement) disappointed with the results


Costco was printing on Noritsu printers using the Fuji Crystal archive paper. What happens many times when using services such as Sam’s Club or Costco, is that their printers are set up to do “auto color” and “auto density” corrections on the customer submitted images. As a result, our corrected images were “corrected” again but unnecessarily giving us a much less than satisfying result.

Sarah and I finessed the portraits we captured during our shoot and had them looking great – now could we get Costco to do the same? Costco needed to see exactly what we wanted but I had no test print available to show them.

I opted for the second best thing. I grabbed our studio test image via “GoToMyPC and then I loaded the JPEGs of my test print and several of our beautiful portraits onto my iPad.

They looked great.  Now I had exactly what I needed to show the Costco photo department – a target print and a sampling of the portraits.  Off to Costco we headed.

We showed them the less than perfect prints from our previous visit then pulled up the same images on the iPad along with the test print.  They immediately grasped what we were talking about.

About 20 minutes later we had the completed order in hand and were headed to the check-out, pleased with the outcome. We framed up the images and readied them for delivery.  We left Cabo two days before Kent and Sarah delivered the images to our “clients” – they told us the families “Loved” their gifts of family portraits.

Color Management on a ShoeString

After the experience above, its clear to me that one key tool to remote location photo processing is DataColor’s iPad color calibration app, SpyderGALLERY. The app provides an easy-to-use calibration utility to create a custom color profile on your iPad, iPhone….

The app measures then profiles color on your iPad and then applies that color correction to images displayed through the SpyderGALLERY. Viewing images through your color-managed iPad is the perfect solution.  Now you know you iPad matches your computer monitor. And now your color managed iPad is the perfect PORTABLE solution when you find yourself working in less than optimal post production situations.  Don’t leave home without you color managed iPad – I know I won’t.

This is the first of a series of color related articles I’ll be doing for Datacolor. Please check back for more in the series.  I promise you interesting, informative, and useful posts that will save you time and money. See you then.

David Ziser is a nationally renowned wedding photographer. He lectures to other photographers on the national speaking circuit and writes extensively for professional journals throughout the United States and worldwide.