Calibration and Printing

One of the elements I picked up as an output for evaluation from assignment 3 was to look at printing at home.  I had looked at this earlier in the course and decided to print from home my assignment 2 submission.  I was not satisfied with the printed output from Assignment 2 and the feedback from my tutor pointed out the print colours were flat, I had assumed as they were submitted on a matte paper.  I chose to use Loxley (whom I send any client printing to) for Assignment 3 prints submission partially due to the large areas of black in the image.  Since then I have been experimenting with different paper types obtained from Hahnemuhle, Fotospeed, Canson and Marrutt.  Various threads on the OCA forums advise against using glossy paper for assessment submission and in the feedback from my tutor for Assignment 4 Helen advised using a good quality lustre or even a fine art baryta giclee process.

Printing workflow starts with the image itself and ensuring you have the correct white balance setting in the camera at the time of capturing the image.  There are aids on the market which can be used to assist in getting this right at the point of image creation to then assist with post-production such as ColorChecker [1] and in the same family range, the cube [2]can be used to check white balance, exposure and brightness levels.  Essentially these have known colour swatches printed onto the target and one of your test shots needs to include the colour target full screen and in the same lighting conditions, in post-production, you can then select the colour target and adjust all of the subsequent images and maintain the colour balance.    This can further be corrected in post-production and refined further if you are shooting in RAW.  Before any image manipulation is undertaken your screen needs to be calibrated and if you’re then printing the printer needs to be calibrated to the type of paper it’s printing on.

Screen Calibration

For screen calibration I use a Spyder 4 by Datacolor, this is straightforward to use and includes a piece of software to control the calibration device.  To calibrate your screen(s) you start the software and hand this device onto the screen, the software then projects a number of colour swatches on the screen and the device reads the colour value and the software then compares the known value to the actual output and creates a profile for that screen.  Your screen profile is then adjusted to match this new profile and any colours/lightness/darkness on the screen should then match the image you’re working on.  A reminder is normally set in the software settings to re-calibrate the screen at a specified interval to ensure consistency. There are numerous walk through videos on YouTube on how to calibrate a screen,  a useful walkthrough of the process here [3] by Damian Symonds and [4] here by Northlight Images.

Printer Calibration

The next step is to then calibrate your printer to match the screen.  There is an individual ICC profile for each paper/ink combination.  Generic profiles are included for each printer, in my case I use an Epson SC-P800 printer,  to be used for the manufacturer specific available papers.  For each type of aftermarket paper, generic ICC profiles can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s websites(I’ve listed below the ones I have used).  Given that each screen needs to be individually adjusted it then follows each paper/printer combination also needs to be checked as the generic profiles will only go so far.   With manufacturing tolerances and technology, you should expect them to be fairly accurate, there is very much debate and technical conversation on gamut, paper evaluation, printer specifications etc and I’ll be clear with this blog I’m not going into that detail just on how.

Producing a specific ICC print profiling can normally be obtained free of charge, you need to buy a box of your chosen paper type (A4 size) and then print onto it the test target. Test targets are supplied by the manufacturer, in the case of Marrutt instructions are emailed and you download the profiles (before and after) and a link to the Adobe Colour Printer Utility [5]which is used to print the test target [6].

The is then left to dry for a few hours to prevent smudging, once dry it can be posted to the manufacturer.  They scan this using a Spectrocolorimeter [7]and compare the recorded values against the test print expected values. I did also buy a sample pack from Fotospeed and send them all back for profiling, needless to say the response I received was not favourable and they only chose to profile a few of their most popular papers as they had better things to do with their day.

An ICC profile is created which is specific to your printer and paper type.  This profile is emailed back to you in a couple of days which you then install on your printer.   A further test print is made using an evaluation target [8] which is then sent back to the manufacturer.  The evaluation print is then checked to ensure the profile generated is as intended.  Manufacturers recommend the print profile are tested every 6 months to ensure consistency.

I have purchased papers from the following suppliers:

Hahnemuhle [9]

Fotospeed [10]

Marrutt [11]

Canson [12]

I have profiled the papers from Marrutt.  Marrutt provided detailed information on how to undertake the print profiling on their webpages[11]and initial instructions via email.  With the exception of one profile, the process has performed as expected.  The failed profile for their gloss paper had noticeably reduced red values when first installed.  I repeated the process using the test target and sent this back again to be re-profiled, the second profile was better. I did struggle with some of the smooth art papers as to which was actually the print side.

Print calibration can also be performed at home, you will need to use a device that not only calibrates your screen but also can read and then calibrate any printed pages.  Two of the most common devices are the Spyderprint [13]manufactured by Datacolor [14] where there are two separate devices and the ColorMunki Photo [15] by X-rite [16] which is combined into one device.

Referencing –

Note all links will open in external pages and any relevant content remains the copyright of the owner.

[1] Datacolor ColorCheckr – Accessed 8th December 2017

[2] Datacolor SpyderCube – Accessed 8th December 2017

[3] Screen Calibration Walkthrough – accessed 8th December 2017

[4]Northlight Images – accessed 8th December 2017

[5] Adobe Colour Printer Utility accessed 8th December 2017

[6] Test target – accessed 8th December 2017

[7] Image of a Spectrocolorimeter s3p-kit.jpg accessed 8th December 2017

[8] Evaluation target – Accessed 8th December 2017

[9] Hahnemuhle – Accessed 8th December 2017

[10] Fotospeed – Accessed 8th December 2017

[11] Marrutt Print profiling – Accessed 8th December 2017

[12] Canson – // Accessed 8th December 2017

[13] Spyder Print – Accessed 8th December 2017

[14] Datacolor – Accessed 8th December 2017

[15] ColorMunki Photo Accessed 8th December 2017

[16] X-rite – Accessed 8th December 2017


Clamshell Portfolio Photo boxes

I’m planning my next assignment for Expressing your Vision.  Reading the brief for Assignment 3 it states “post your prints, no larger than A4, to your tutor together with your assignment notes.”

Following reading of the OCA forums I’ve come across what I believe to be an acceptable method of sending A4 prints and the formatting!   Essentially the print should be no larger than A4 but should also have a border (to facilitate handling) (appx 3.5 cm) and be on matte paper to minimise reflections when handling.( I will be first to admit I may have missed a post/document somewhere and if anyone spots an error here then please feel free to let me know with the source and I’ll update this post.)

I chose to then purchase 2 boxes for presentation, A3 and A4 sizes.  In addition to this I’ve selected Silverprint as my supplier (they give student discount too) and Fotospeed as my paper choice.

First impressions:

Silverprint.  Student discount at 5% and for free postage over £75.

To enable student discount  you need to register an account and email them with a scan of your student ID card and the discount is limited to 1 year.  On their webpage it states you’ll get 5% discount and any order over £75 will receive free standard postage. (correct as at 19/11/2016)

I chose to send them a scan of my OCA card and my NUS card. The following day I received an email and was provided with the code to apply to the shopping cart.  What it doesn’t state is to whether the order value is exclusive of exclusive of VAT so this needs clarity.  It transpires your order needs to be over £75 BEFORE VAT and post/packing before the free P&P can apply. Also handy to note is that the Fotospeed paper I  purchased was cheaper than advertised on the Fotospeed website, not by much.

Delivery was quick once it has been despatched and arrived in good condition and well packaged with no visible damage to the external box or contents.


SP Portfolio Box A4 3.5cm Depth Black Internal –SAB002101S (18.95 GBP incl VAT)

Image of internal box 00430260.JPG

This and the A3 version (34.96 GBP incl VAT for the white internals)  are nicely made and fit together well when opening and closing.  They seem to have a substantial enough construction to satisfy what they need to do, protect your prints, although I’m unsure as to how well they will fare being sent backwards and forwards multiple times to your tutor.

I’ll update this when the boxes have received a few runs in the mail 🙂

Fotospeed paper – I’ve used this manufacturer before but haven’t used this particular paper, Matt duo 240gsm before.  I tend to use Canson or Hahnemuhle if i’m producing client prints and use either Pearl or Gloss depending on the job.  For the purposes of this all I can say at this stage is after discount the duo paper is .325GBP (32.5p) per sheet of paper, but if you’re printing double sided then that’s just over 16 pence a print. (without ink or printer maintenance costs).

Links correct at 19/11/2016.




Assignment 2 – Collecting

Assignment 2

I’m going to admit I’ve let this one slip a little.  Combinations of an excessively busy time at work, freshers flu and lack of motivation have hindered progress.

The brief

Create a series of between six and ten photographs from one of the following options, or a subject of your own choosing:

  • Crowds
  • Views
  • Heads

Use the exercises from Part Two as a starting point to test out combinations of focal length, aperture and viewpoint for the set. Decide upon a single format, either vertical or horizontal. You should keep to the same combination throughout to lend coherence to the series.

  • Crowds make a great subject for photography, not least because they are so contemporary. A city rush hour is a good place to start but events also offer great opportunities to photograph the crowd rather than the event. The foreshortened perspective of the telephoto lens will compress a crowd, fitting more bodies into the frame, but it can also be used to pick out an individual person. A wide-angle lens can capture dynamic shots from within the action.
  • If you choose to make a collection of views you need to be prepared to do some walking so keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum – you’ll walk further and see more. A tripod will be important to allow you to select a combination of small aperture and slow shutter speed to ensure absolute sharpness throughout the frame. The weather and time of day will be crucial, whether for urban or landscape views. A wide-angle lens is the usual choice but Ansel Adams also used a medium telephoto to foreshorten the perspective, bringing the sky, distance and foreground closer together.
  • Heads: Frame a ‘headshot’, cropping close around the head to avoid too much variety in the backgrounds. The light will be paramount and a reflector is a useful tool (you can ask the subject to hold it), throwing light up into the face, especially the eyes.

The classic headshot is buoyant but neutral which is quite difficult to achieve, but try to achieve a natural rather than an artificially posed look.


Work on this assignment for me should have been easy, I took the brief early on with an idea for a theme.  I had already decided to go for crowds (challenge myself and shoot more street photography) and the story/theme to tie this together seemed relatively straightforward.  To document crowds of people at different times of their lives, I wanted to shoot groups of children, maybe school children on their way to school, people on their way to work and people in death. I already had this idea when attending a closed cemetery in London to have groups (crowds) of graves and this would be the ending image.

The weeks have moved on and due to work etc. getting in my way I’m behind and disappointed with my progress.  My tutor’s feedback from assignment 1 was to take more risks and more photos.  I have definitely taken more photos and the risk for me is I don’t like street photography really, I have little or no control over the subjects and lighting although the locations can be chosen in advance its then a waiting game and I get bored easily.

So what have I ended up with, of the images collected my original idea has gone out of the window for this assignment but I have it to complete at some stage.  Reviewing my images there were some in there where the crowd is going about its business, then I have a singular person from a group who has either passively looked in the direction of me and my camera or actively noticed me and saw I was taking a picture of them.  This for me is something that is a little spooky.


On further detailed review of these images there were a few but not enough for a series to fit the brief, again an idea for the future to complete.  One of the images I’ve not included but I feel is relevant to John Berger [1].  Here we have a man actively looking at a woman, I don’t know what he’s thinking but is gazing at her as she crosses the road.


I have likened street photography in my assignment to hunting wild animals. I have no direct experience of this but crowds/street subjects are like the game or wild animal.  You find your hide, position to shoot from, and then stalk the wind animal until you’re able to then take the shot and kill the animal.  The end product is either a meal or a trophy to stick up on your wall.  As a photographer I’m finding a place to settle in and watch my subjects go by, then finding a suitable subject I then take the shot, the decisive moment, and have my image.  Will I eat it, no, but if it’s good enough I may sell it to then buy food to eat and then it may sit on someone else’s wall as a trophy.

Back to the plot, One of the other themes I became aware of and then went back to actively look for was the colour orange.  This occurred in the images outside of Blackfriars station in the form of orange shopping bags from a well know supermarket, orange hi-vis on passing cyclists and a taxi.  Using this colour as my linking theme I was able to capture an orange scarf later on Blackfriars Bridge and other shoppings bags near Westminster.  From the images I’ve selected the colour is evident but not necessarily the focal point of the image itself.

The difficulty I’ve come across is being able to get a great image but to also then fit that into a  body of work to then create a theme linking them all together. The brief suggests between 6 and 10 images, I could have included more but 7 I felt fit the brief and theme adequately with any more just being padding, like adding sentences to fill a word counted essay.  So I’m going to call this Orange rush hour. Low res images (72ppi) are shown below, the full sized images are here and the image order is correct, the wordpress layout below doesn’t allow them to be re-arranged.


Of the 7 images, the one with the scarf is perhaps my favourite with the taxi second best.

Assessment Criteria

How do I feel I’ve performed against the assessment criteria:

1.Demonstration of Technical and visual skills

All of the images are in focus and correctly adjusted for white balance, colour adjustment and contrast. Rule of thirds compositional technique is evident in all images and evidence of exercise 1.3 (1) leading lines(image bottom left and bottom right). Shallow depth of field to blur background and retain subject and or foreground interest (image top left and top middle)


Adequate technical and visual skills. Some of your images show well balanced compositions such as the cyclist image where the point of interest of the man in orange stands out as the focal point due to being place on the rule of thirds. I also think your use of differential focus in this image to fame and create depth. Other images I feel are less successful for example in the image with the lady in green in the middle, she appears to be the focal point as she is in the middle and in focus, If we are looking at the accent of orange of her phone cover maybe going in closer to the women and using the rule of thirds to balance the image would be more appropriate rather than all of the railings off balancing the image?

 The orange scarf image shows good observational skills and visual awareness and again the composition and differential focus work well here, I particularly like that the people have movement through having the implied movement space to the left of the image.

 The lighting in your images is very clean and the colours vivid which work well for this project.

2.Quality of outcome

I do feel this series of images could have been executed better, included more images and include a more varied subject matter around crowds.

Effective grasp of ideas and communication of visual ideas. The work has been presented well, I like the use of the narrow black border which is effective with these images. As outlined above I think in terms of prints these could be improved. You have communicated your ideas well and the theme of the colour orange is evident in the images without reading about the intentions of the assignment.

3.Demonstration of Creativity

I like the colour between each image to tie them all together, this is an abstract link and not as obvious as it could be by selecting random groups of people.

Some evidence of creativity, little evidence of risk-taking, with a few imaginative outcomes, some evidence of a developing personal voice. I would like to see a more personal idea to show development of personal voice, although orange is a theme it is not telling me anything about you or your view of crowds. I would also like to see more experimentation with viewpoints and composition

4. Context

I feel the images work within the brief I’d set (albeit revised from original plan) and work together as rush hour images

Feedback on Assignment and reflection

I submitted electronically and to receive feedback on my prints I also submitted by post within the deadline specified.  I hadn’t received any feedback by the new year and followed this up with my tutor on 6th January.  It appears that although I had uploaded the images and assignment I had failed to mark this as submitted so my Tutor had not seen it.  A silly thing but one I won’t fall foul of again.  My assignment was returned on 21st January.

Overall the feedback was positive but there are points for improvement including the manner of how the physical prints were submitted.  I’ve added my tutor feedback in italics below the assessment criteria above.


  • Coursework – I need to complete and upload the exercises
  • Research – More reflection on photographers that interest me.  Useful that I had visited exhibitions and photo walks but they need to be written up in my log.  I need to get more involved in peer discussions on the OCA forums.
  • Learning Log – There needs to be evidence of self reflection and research and evidence of analysis and synthesis of information.  My research and reflection needs to become more in depth.
  • Suggested reading/viewing – HenriCartier Bresson, Bruce Gilden, Martin Parr, Eugene Atget.

The next assignment looks at street photography, I had initially decided to take a risk and not shoot street genre again for this assignment, on reflection my approach at high speed photography to capture the decisive moment maybe a little out of brief.  As my tutor has now changed I will validate my approach with the new tutor.

Physical prints.  My decision submit them at this stage for feedback was a good one and useful.  I had based my submission on postings in the OCA forum, this included the sizing and paper types etc.  I submitted on double sided matte paper, this was not a good idea.  The feedback from Celena suggested the prints need to be single sided so they can be laid out in a sequence (unless they were going in a book) and be on a better quality paper but the border I had used worked well with the images.  I used Fotospeed 240gsm Matte paper to reduce reflections from lights when being viewed.  Based on this feedback I’m a little concerned, I feel the prints submitted are fine so it’s put into question my workflow/settings here.  I’m using an epson SCP800 and good quality paper so its not as if they’re on a cheap inkjet. I need to look into this further and run some more prints with different paper and settings.  I’ll now submit for assignment 3 as follows:

  • Pearl or glossy paper (I’m make a final decision on paper choice when I have the final images)
  • Single side paper
  • With border
  • Most labs can supply sample prints, I’ll use Loxley Colour lab for this and then compare these to my own prints.


My Tutor has commented that provided I commit myself to this course she believes that I have potential to pass at assessment but in order to meet all of the assessment criteria I need to focus on certain areas.

This is positive, I don’t doubt there are areas of improvement and I agree with the comments and suggestions made by my tutor. As you’ll see from my submission above I wasn’t particularly happy with my assignment submission and as such this reflects in the feedback received.  I need to make a concerted effort to upload and review the exercises completed so far and then to complete the ones outstanding (about 25%). To write up the exhibition lists and photowalk events.


[1] Berger, J. (1973) Ways of seeing based on the BBC television series. London, Eng.: British Broadcasting Corporation [u.a.].

Feedback & Reflection

Following feedback on Assignment 2 from my tutor Celena Beech there are some points that I need to address, they are in detail on my Assignment 2 page but pertinent to Assignment 3 are the following:

  • Printing – needs to be single sided and on better quality paper to improve definition.  As I submitted on Matte paper then I’ll look to change this to Pearl or Glossy.
  • There seems to be an intent this assignment needs to be on street photography, with the photographers to research being Martin Parr, Bruce Golden, Eugine Atget and Henri Cartier Bresson.  My initial intent is to use the decisive moment for High Speed Photography, I’ll clarify this with my new tutor.
  • I need to take more risks in my photography, include more of my personal view, change perspectives and angles.
  • My work in printed form has been return in the mail recently, one thing I need to review is the print resolution of the contact sheets,  this is poor quality and needs to be at greater resolution as it doesn’t view well.