Color Profile vs Color Pac (It's Probably Not What You Think!)

Customer dropping off film at Richard Photo Lab

If you’re shooting film, whether as your full-time love or as half of your superstar hybrid status, you’ve heard the term “color profile”.

There’s a lot of talk in the film photography community about it because, well, every film lab and their mother is saying that they can apply a color profile to your film scans these days. Other phrases or words that are thrown around to describe a color profile include “custom scans”, “personalized scans”, “color preferences”, etc. At Richard Photo Lab, we’ve heard it all!

But the truth is, not every color profiling process is the same, and the differences in how your visual preferences are communicated and applied to scans can be monumental!

You see, when it comes to the characteristics of your photographic film scans, everything is relative and subjective. If you say you want something lighter or warmer or bluer or whatever-er, the scanning technician is still just speculating at what that means to you. And if something is up for interpretation, it’s also likely to be misinterpreted at some point.

That’s why Richard strives to provide a more thorough and accurate process to understanding and executing your unique visual tastes.

Personalized Color Profiles

Richard Photo Lab is the “godfather” of color profiling, if you will.

20+ years ago, Richard’s main clientele was composed of high-end commercial photographers working in music and entertainment photography. Their film photos were being used internationally for major promotional material. Those photographers (and the major entertainment production companies employing them) needed their iconic pop-culture imagery to be both consistent and on-brand.

Richard recognized that these two components were valuable to all professional photographers, and introduced the concept of custom, frame-by-frame review to the world of high-end wedding & event film photographers facing the start of the digital photography revolution in the late 1990s.

With so many years of expertise under our belt, Richard Photo Lab has refined and mastered the process of creating and implementing what is referred to today as “color profiles”.

How exactly does Richard build your personalized color profile?

You’ll fill out a questionnaire telling us all about your shooting habits, equipment, inspirations/mentors, and your business as a whole. We will also have you gather lots of source materials and samples of your work.

Then our General Manager, Bill, will chat with you one-on-one in great detail—this guy has decades of experience and boatloads of know-how in building color profiles, and together you will meticulously nail down your vision! Details about your profile are closely managed throughout testing/execution and tweaked over time as your style and methodology evolve.

Scanning Film

But wait, there’s more to it than just understanding what Richard can do for you at the scanning level! There’s a number of variables that affect the appearance of your images outside of the scanning process.

Bill will coach you through them, revealing the root causes of the visual components you love (or hate) and discussing your shooting techniques, equipment you use, environments you shoot in, and more. When you create a custom color profile with Richard, it is just part of a multi-faceted occupational toolbox known as the Richard Color PAC (or Personal Account Consultation).

Why would you want to get more than just a color profile?

Because when you choose to be a pro photographer, you’re no longer just an artist, you’re a business owner. Having brilliant-looking images just isn’t enough! To be in business means strategically working towards turning a profit and sticking around for the long haul—it’s your livelihood we’re talking about here.

There are also instances where hobbyists find this part of Richard’s consultation useful because we serve as a sounding board for ideas to take any venture to the next level. It’s focused around setting and strategizing how to achieve your personal and professional goals. #winwin

Richard’s Owner and General Manager - Brian and Bill

Hence, the most distinguishing feature of the Color PAC is the invaluable professional insight you get during the business consultation portion. In fact, you’ll go through this process before you even begin building your color profile.

So what's the process?

First, as part of a virtual workshop online, we’ll review with you the common pitfalls that put photographers out of business (and how to avoid them), the foundations for success we’ve witnessed firsthand that photographers use to elevate their business, and the role your lab plays in building your art, your brand, and your bottom line. It’s a lot to wrap your head around, so we also do a Q&A to make sure each photog has the fundamentals down before moving to the next step!

Next you’ll have a heart-to-heart with Brian, the owner of Richard Photo Lab. With decades in the industry at all levels, as well as a noggin built for business, Brian will dig deep to address your entrepreneurial woes and uncertainties, like:

  • Your number of bookings has plateaued
  • You’re working a ton but just barely seeing a profit
  • You’re having trouble gaining brand recognition through your current marketing efforts
  • You're investing tons of man-hours in one area of your business that’s throwing off your workflow
  • Business is booming, but you don’t have a strategy for what to do next

Whatever the case, we’ll analyze and clarify your current circumstances and then prioritize tactics for strengthening your business.

BONUS: You’ll have the trusty team at Richard walking you through the entire process from start to finish, while also serving as your educational resource, professional advocate, and go-to guru for all things Richard.

How do you know when you’re ready for your very own Color PAC?

There are a few signs to keep an eye out for that might clue you in:

  1. You love the lab! After testing out some labs, you’ve been working with Richard consistently for at least a few months—you dig our skills and we fit your workflow, so you’re ready to make us your forever lab. The Color PAC process is a commitment that both the lab and you enter into, and you’ve got to be committed to get the most out of it!
  2. You’ve tested all the variables. After lots of experimentation, you’ve narrowed down your favorite film stock, camera settings, light to shoot in, scanner, and aesthetic style, as well as doing lots of exposure testing to get the best negatives you can. If you’re not absolutely solid in these areas, you can’t get consistent scans—no matter how much we work on your color profile.
  3. You’re already financially invested. The Color PAC process requires an upfront deposit of $450 that will be returned to you in the form of a lab credit after you spend $5,000 in one year on any products/services with Richard. If you already happen to be investing that much with us for your professional shoots, not only are you probably shooting enough volume to consider elevating your business with a Color PAC, but you can also do it risk-free.
  4. You’re not a Color Profile newbie. You’ve tried out existing color profiles and you know what you like—but you’re still spending valuable time tweaking your digital images to achieve the look you want.
  5. You’re ready to take your career to the next level. You’ve built a solid foundation for your business, but you feel it’s time to go one step further. Now you need a comprehensive analysis and consultation as an entrepreneur from someone who knows the business of your industry.

Does any of that sound familiar? Or, do you just want to learn even more about Richard’s Color PAC process? We’d love to hear from you! Just Email us!

Start Your Film Order
Back to blog