Behind the Colors: The Art and Precision of Color Correction at View Imaging

In today's visually driven world, a well-edited, high-quality image can shape perceptions and influence ecommerce purchase decisions. 

Beauty is essential in this industry, and being consistent helps customers trust what they're buying. With so many screens and devices out there, it's important for us at View Imaging to ensure that what you see on screen matches the real product. Maintaining cohesiveness in color correction can be a significant challenge, ESPECIALLY in high-volume content production.

Don’t worry—we’ve got strategies.

Our clients don’t have to stress about color consistency because at View, we have tried-and-true strategies for maintaining color perfection across our high-volume photography and image retouching production. We like you, so we’ll let you in on some of them.

Strategy #1:
Client Guidelines & Alignment Round

The early stages of a project are for getting aligned on our client's wants and needs. Oftentimes, a client will provide guidelines or goals that help us understand their exact expectations—this is awesome because it helps us help them. For example, we had a jewelry client who had a specific way they needed their gold to look—just think of how weird it would be if their golds looked different all over their website. They needed the golds and silvers to be cohesive and consistent. We identified this need early on and were able to deliver with flying colors. Pun intended.

Also, in the early stages, we employ our favorite strategy: the alignment round. This is where we get colors approved by the client in a smaller batch. Starting with a few images that encapsulate the full spectrum of colors within a project ensures that we can proceed with confidence and move full-steam ahead on the rest of the assets—without any surprises.

Strategy #2:
Managing Client Expectations

Our alignment rounds bring us to our next point: managing client expectations. Given the nuances of digital photography and screen calibration, it’s critical that our clients understand the display differences between their many screens and know how to evaluate photos properly. You may not have considered this, but colors show up differently depending on whether you’re viewing them on your smartphone, laptop, or at your office workstation. And that’s not even taking into account the time of day and lighting around you. We educate our clients on these differences and have them pinky-promise to look at their colors in an ideal setting: in the morning, in a work station that’s calibrated to industry standards, and without fluorescent or warm lighting. This best practice makes sure our clients can evaluate the colors accurately and effectively.

Strategy #3:
Having the Same Retoucher Work on Groups of Imagery

To ensure consistency, we have one person retouch a group of similar images. Why? Consider this: There are so many ways to accomplish the same task in tools like Photoshop. Having one person work on a group of images creates consistency because they can edit or fix the images in that group the same way. Now, if the client needs adjustments down the line, we don’t have to worry about fixing multiple colors as a result of different editing methods. Consistency, even when you’ve missed the mark, is better than 50 percent right.

Strategy #4:
Internal Team Guidelines

At View, we actively build internal guidelines for each project. These guidelines are based on our general project standards, as well as project specifications and client requirements. Topics include ways to structure Photoshop files, how files are named, and types of layers and advanced retouching techniques used. These techniques are important, especially when we’re dealing with a time crunch in high-volume production. For example, if everyone used curves to change a color, that consistency would make it easier to seamlessly drag and drop the effect into the next file. Being thorough in our internal guidelines allows for efficiency and consistency in an effortless way across our diverse range of photography and image retouching projects.

Strategy #5:
Quality Control

Superheroes are real, and they’re our quality checkers. We ALWAYS account for quality control and have designated people to approve colors. On a typical project, there are between five to 20 retouchers, one to three quality controllers, and one person who has the final set of eyes on everything. This final person has the skills, talent, and eye required to make final calls and ensure quality throughout all the sets of images. Our quality checkers are our line of defense, fighting against retouching’s greatest enemy: inconsistency.

Strategy #6:

We love it when we get to shoot products instead of just retouching. Can you guess why? It's all about having greater control. When we create images from scratch in the studio, we harness high-end photography equipment and our expert eyes to ensure precise color correction from the outset. When photographing, we account for consistency and quality control using our color checker cards. They allow us to get the correct color in different shots and balance the whites or grays within the image and in Photoshop. We also use specific professional lighting and setups for certain shots—our monitors are calibrated with software that allows us to ensure the correct colors while shooting. Lightboxes in our studio let us evaluate everything according to balanced daylight at 5,500 Kelvin. With our arsenal of tools, we’re more than prepared.

© Costa Brazil, Retouching by View Imaging

These color-correcting mistakes are too common.

After years in the photography and retouching industry, we have color correction down to a science.

We’ve also witnessed how quickly things can go wrong when working with less-experienced agencies. Here are the mistakes we’ve seen most:

Common Mistake #1:
Unmatched White Balance

A rookie mistake is not matching the white balance on white products. This error becomes evident when a photo of a white shirt is directly placed on a website featuring a white background. You may be thinking, what’s so wrong with that? We’ll tell you: The shirt is probably not as pure white as the background, so without retouching it’ll likely look yellow or dingy or gray. No one would want to buy that. So at View, we always account for this—our whites are more balanced than a yogi in a handstand.

© e.l.f., Retouching by View Imaging

Common Mistake #2:
Lighting Inconsistencies on Models

The other rookie mistake is not accounting for uneven lighting on models. A great photographer will adjust for this on set (and all our photographers are great), but sometimes the photoshoots go so fast that they don’t have time to adjust. They’ll shoot with the same lights, and the next thing you know, the photographer is close to the model and covering some of the light. In a series of images with different angles, this results in varying degrees of brightness on the model. If this happens to you, don’t worry—we’ll take care of it in post.

Have you heard these color correction tips?

We have years of experience in this world, so we’ve picked up all the tips and tricks over time. Here’s one for you: Our eyes can play tricks on us, and after looking at pictures for a while, you may start to see things a bit too warm or cool. To reset your eyes, go to a window during the day and look out for a minute. You’ll be back to seeing things normally and can better evaluate your photos.

© Primary, Retouching by View Imaging

Here’s another tip we tell our clients: Color correction can save time and money on products that come in multiple colorways. For example, say you have a shirt that comes in 15 different colors. Instead of shooting every color individually, you can create color variations of the image by retouching the single shot, rather than photographing multiple samples.

We’re experts at color correction—if you’re not, we’ll do it for you.

The art and science of color correction go beyond just ensuring visual accuracy—it's about preserving brand integrity, ensuring customer trust, and creating images that resonate with viewers. In a world that's increasingly digital, the nuances of how products appear on screens can significantly impact business outcomes. View Imaging's meticulous approach, backed by years of experience and innovative strategies, makes our color on point. Every. Single. Time. So the next time you find yourself scrolling through an online catalog or admiring a product photo, remember the unsung heroes behind the scenes, ensuring that every hue and shade is just as it should be.

Want to ensure your colors are spot-on, inspire customer trust, and drive sales for your brand? Schedule a call today, and let’s work together.

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